Celebrating Diversity: Delhaize America’s LGBT Inclusion Efforts Earn a Perfect Score
In 2015, Delhaize America received its fifth consecutive 100% rating in the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index for its support of the company’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) associates. This year’s achievement was especially significant, as we were the only U.S. grocery chain to receive a perfect score.
The HRC Foundation is a leading LGBT advocacy organization that evaluates businesses annually on criteria such as anti-discrimination policies, partner benefits for associates, diversity training programs and community engagement. The Corporate Equality Index’s criteria get stricter every year, and Delhaize America has stepped up to the challenge. Our 2015 achievement reflects our continued commitment to these supportive policies and procedures, including recent efforts to strengthen transgender inclusion in the workplace.
While we received this recognition for our work in support of LGBT associates, we also believe it’s a strong endorsement of our broader diversity and inclusion efforts – and a model for creating a supportive environment for other diverse groups. “That perfect score validates what we’re doing, so it’s a tremendous honor,” says Millette Granville, Delhaize America’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion.
A comprehensive approach
Our diversity and inclusion efforts, both internal and external, have long supported LGBT associates and customers. Our Friends LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning & Straight–Ally) Business Resource Group (BRG) at Delhaize America has been active for 12 years, and in 2015 we started a satellite chapter in the northeast. We also sponsor and participate in Pride parades throughout our operating area, as well as events with the Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Equality North Carolina and Equality Virginia.
In 2015, growing national awareness of gender identity and transgender inclusion – as well as individual associates announcing their own transitions – inspired us to improve our efforts for the transgender community. We updated our Gender Transition Guidelines, which outline how associates and managers should support associates during their transition. We also adjusted our restroom and dress code guidelines to better accommodate transgender associates.
To further strengthen our approach, we hosted training sessions in our corporate offices that educated 135 associates on transgender awareness and inclusion. One session featured a video of a transgender associate who spoke of the support he received from his colleagues and the company.
These efforts helped us achieve a perfect Corporate Equality Index score, which not only validates our work but also shows potential associates and consumers our commitment to providing an inclusive workplace. “It’s extremely important in terms of our ability to recruit top talent, and to attract customers in the LGBT community,” Granville says.
Maintaining a broad scope
Along with our LGBT-focused initiatives in 2015, we continued efforts to providing a diverse and inclusive workplace to people of all ages, abilities, races and ethnicities. For example, to date, nearly 1,000 associates have participated in our Unconscious Bias learning session, which is now offered on an ongoing basis through Delhaize America University. The session focuses on recognizing and dealing with behaviors and assumptions that may inadvertently lead to biased actions. We continue to offer Business Resource Groups with a focus on veterans, disabilities, generations, gender and racial/ethnic groups.
We are also developing a mandatory online training for all new employees, Valuing Diversity, to be launched in 2017. This training will strengthen diversity awareness at all levels of the company.
We want associates to see the range of ways we’re supporting diversity, and for them to get a sense of the kind of organization they’re joining. Diversity and inclusion has to be a part of everything you do.
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Delhaize America