General Mills named a 2016 top place to work for LGBT equality
As a company, General Mills leaders and employees have worked hard to create a culture of inclusion in every office around the world. This commitment is evident in the company’s continued recognition as a great place to work by notable external organizations.
Most recently, General Mills was recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation as a top place to work for LGBT equality on the annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a premier benchmarking tool for LGBT workplace equality.
“Where there is open conversation, there is greater understanding,” says Jared Altschul, associate marketing manager at General Mills and president of the company’s LGBT employee network, Betty’s Family. “That’s really the path to creating an inclusive environment.”
2016 marks the seventh consecutive year General Mills has received a perfect score of 100 percent on the CEI. Among the more than 1,000 participants, a total of 391 U.S. companies received a score of 100 percent on the 2016 CEI, earning the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
“Diversity and inclusion is not just the right thing to do, it’s a business strategy,” says Ken Charles, vice president of Global Inclusion and Staffing. “We work hard to create a culture that fosters openness, understanding and appreciation of employees’ differences, and in turn, unlock the potential of our employees and enable higher performing teams.”
The CEI scoring system evaluates companies on specific LGBT-related policies and practices such as non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits and public engagement with the LGBT community.
In addition to the company’s more tangible policies and practices, General Mills employees established a dedicated network to support the LGBT community in the workplace called Betty’s Family.
Betty’s Family’s exists to advocate for the LGBT community within General Mills to promote an environment wherein lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees are able to maximize their productivity.
“It’s really about helping each individual employee feel comfortable about bringing their whole selves to work,” Jared says. “When employees bring their whole selves to work, they have the ability to be more productive, build stronger relationships with colleagues and excel in their jobs.”
“Betty’s Family spans far beyond employees who identify as LGBT though,” adds Nicholas Kempfert, senior ITQ technician at General Mills and vice president of the employee network.
In fact, friends and allies of the LGBT community are encouraged to join the network as well.
Nicholas says: “Like any diversity group, we are not an island of ourselves. We don’t work as an independent group from our colleagues. Our ally community plays a critical role in fostering a workplace environment that is open, understanding and supportive.”
The goal of the Betty’s Family Ally initiative is to help other employees understand how support from colleagues can make the workplace feel more inclusive.
For example, throughout 2015 Betty’s Family hosted three successful “Ally 101” sessions, which brought together employees from all walks of life to share tips for what it means to be a good ally. On an ongoing basis, the network strives to serve as an open forum for both LGBT and non-LGBT employees to share experiences.
Today, Betty’s Family consists of more than 160 General Mills employees. Hundreds more allies of Betty’s Family demonstrate support for their colleagues in a variety of ways like simply wearing an ALLY-branded employee badge as a visible signal of their support, or even taking a leadership roles to campaign for LGBT equality in the community.
“More than ever before, the definition of inclusiveness inside and outside of the workplace is rapidly evolving,” adds Jared. “General Mills has been a visible leader in this space for many years and I am proud of the company’s commitment to create a culture of diversity and inclusion for its employees.”
For more information on the 2016 Corporate Equality Index, visit HRC.org/CEI. To learn more about General Mills’ commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit GeneralMills.com/Responsibility.
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