Top 50 Companies

Colgate-Palmolive

Rank NO:

4

CEO:

Noel Wallace

CDE:

Eugene Kelly

Mission statement for diversity and inclusion (D&I)

Colgate-Palmolive’s diversity strategy is to strive to have its workforce mirror the diversity of its customers, while complying with applicable legal requirements; demonstrate its commitment by respecting and valuing the unique differences and contributions of all people; and strive to be recognized as a leader in global diversity by Colgate people, customers, shareholders, industry peers, and the global communities it serves.

Eugene Kelly, Worldwide Director, Global Workplace Initiatives, said, “Our objectives are to attract, develop and retain a diverse, world-class global workforce that reflects our customer base around the world; champion an inclusive work environment that respects and values differences and unique contributions; and make accountability and ownership for diversity everyone’s job.”

Colgate’s diversity and inclusion efforts are weaved through a variety of people programs, including recruitment, training and education, professional development, network groups, supplier diversity, multicultural marketing and through its commitment to communities. Highlights of those efforts follow:

  • Recruitment – “At Colgate, we believe that attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce is paramount to our success,” said Kelly. To support employee success and job satisfaction, Colgate offers global career opportunities, as well as career training and education.
  • Training and Education – Colgate’s leadership position in the global marketplace is directly linked to the skills and unique contributions of its employees. “Practical learning and professional growth are critical to our continued success. We invest generously in the training and education of Colgate people around the world,” said Kelly. The company’s commitment to skill development includes formal classroom study, sharing best practices globally and developing practical work applications based on real-world learning and experiences.
  • Professional Development – “Our career development approach is all about confidence. We motivate all of our people to take on challenging and exciting work/opportunities that provide them with the experience, exposure and support required to succeed,” said Kelly. Individual development plans, global opportunities and global succession planning are part of Colgate’s approach.
  • Network Groups – Colgate supports and promotes the creation of Employee Network Groups. Participation in these groups is voluntary. “These groups are valued contributors in our efforts to become the best place to work by building an inclusive and caring work environment,” Kelly said. “They also support the company’s initiatives to attract, develop and retain a diverse workforce, foster personal and professional development, and provide networking opportunities for Colgate people.” Colgate employee networks include the Asian Action Network, Black Action Committee, Colgate GLBT Network, Hill’s Women Empowered Network, Colgate Women’s Network, Hispanic Action Network, and Diversity Councils.
  • Supplier Diversity – Colgate’s Supplier Diversity initiatives are designed to reach out to minority-owned and women-owned businesses, build supplier diversity and develop mutually beneficial supply relationships. “The Supplier Diversity team strives to foster relationships with minority- owned and women-owned businesses which will meet or exceed the expectations of Colgate stakeholders for quality, speed, innovation and cost effectiveness, and contribute to Colgate’s key strategic initiatives of engaging to build our brands, innovation for growth, effectiveness and efficiency, and leading to win,” said Kelly.

“Colgate’s Global Education & Training programs develop and strengthen the skill and competency of all Colgate people to manage with respect while driving global diversity and inclusion as a business imperative,” Kelly said. Programs initiated by the Employee Resource Group foster retention and provide a vibrant training ground for future leaders as the experiences gained in these roles hone and develop their leadership skills, he said, “Together all Colgate Employee Resource Groups have increased the company’s visibility to be recognized as a diversity leader.” Efforts have been highlighted in various publications, newsletters and brochures by organizations such DiversityInc, DiversityMBA Magazine, Working Mother Media and others.

“Additionally, our Employee Networks identify and develop partnerships with diverse organizations such as with the NYC Chapter of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC),” Kelly said. The company has been a sponsor of NGLCC for the last five years. Lessons learned/words of advice Kelly has no regrets, but said this in retrospect: “If one were able to step back, I would have better leveraged a number of long- standing internal business relationships with current and future Colgate leaders to further the corporation’s diversity & inclusion ambitions more quickly.”

“The Diversity & Inclusion journey is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Kelly. “Organizations should grasp the notion that D&I efforts must be sustainable by design and practice if they are to be absorbed into the fabric of their culture. Many companies pride themselves on being relationship-driven. Sound relationships are cultivated over time and those professional and personal relationships that are positive are formed and based on respect. This is a key foundation for inclusiveness. People within companies often develop personally and professionally together. As they do so, leaders should strive to leverage such relationships to create partnerships that organically grow inclusive professional work environments.”

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