Attending our local Pride parade is among my favorite events every year. It’s an opportunity to share support for our employees and everyone in the local LGBTQ+ community. At Nestlé, Pride is not a one-month celebration. It’s a year-round partnership between leadership, LGBTQ+ employees, and allies across the company who want to help drive an inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive.
As the executive sponsor of the Nestlé Pride Alliance – an Employee Resource Group (ERG) committed to advocating for LGBTQ+ employees - I’m proud of the work we’ve done and the recognition we’ve received. For the past 4 years, Nestlé USA has achieved a perfect score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking tool that recognizes the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Employees.
In recognition of Pride month, LGBTQ+ employees across the organization shared their experiences at Nestlé, and the importance of community and allyship in the workplace.
At Nestlé we believe that success starts with our people. We’re committed to making our workplace a space where everyone can bring their whole selves to work. “You produce better work because you’re not limited by feeling uncomfortable,” says Christopher, a Marketing Communications Lead with Nespresso. “I’ve always felt welcomed at Nespresso for my whole self, even during the application process.”
Matt, a Finance Director who spent many years of his career working in Nestlé Purina manufacturing facilities across the Midwest, also shared a similar perspective. “It’s a diverse workforce, and my experience at every factory was that the people were fantastic. Because of my experience I’ve recently started getting involved in factory outreach, so I can help other LGBTQ+ people in factories feel comfortable too.”
This inclusive mindset is core to Nestlé’s culture and is reflected in the policies and benefits we’ve introduced to support LGBTQ+ colleagues – but that support extends further, into active allyship that drives inclusion.
We all need to foster a safe and supportive environment that enables LGBTQ+ people to thrive at work. Listening to and understanding the lived experience of our colleagues gives us the opportunity to build a cohesive, creative culture. Jessenia, a Nespresso Boutique Manager in New York, describes this ethos perfectly: “One of our strongest values as an organization is care. Being an ally and taking the time to listen and learn is how you show you care – that’s just as important as the work people in the LGBTQ+ community are doing ourselves.”
Fostering allyship through engagement with ERGs creates an environment where all employees feel like they belong. In recent years, Pride Alliance groups across Nestlé have partnered with Working Parents ERGs to provide support for Nestle parents of LGBTQ+ children or same-sex parents seeking advice and community. “It’s important for ERGs to work together,” says Chris. “Allyship is about supporting each other – whether that’s other groups helping LGBTQ+ people at work, or us offering our insights to help colleagues from other backgrounds.”
When we become strong allies for each other, we’re able to perform at our best and grow our careers. Ultimately, we spend a lot of our lives at work – our ERGs provide the tools to build better connections and education to enrich that time.
Our ERG groups also provide an opportunity for employees of diverse backgrounds to build community with like-minded people in the workplace. Frankie, Co-Communications Chair of the Nestlé USA Pride Alliance, joined the ERG within his first month at Nestlé. “I asked if there was an ERG immediately, because I wanted a place where I could connect and network with other LGBTQ+ employees. That connection is what helps us partner with leadership and drive inclusion across the company.”
“There’s a need for community even within a corporate office,” says Matt. “After my first time speaking on a panel of LGBTQ+ people at Purina, my relationship with being openly gay at work changed. I felt more comfortable, and I knew I had an opportunity to open the door for new employees coming to St Louis to feel welcomed, too.”
Ultimately, community is about allowing people to come to work and be themselves. “People need to see that they’re being represented,” says Jessenia. “As a manager, I have a pride flag in my office. It signals to people that they’re free to do their best work without having to worry about hiding any part of themselves.”
I’m proud to be involved in supporting Pride efforts at Nestlé this year, and all year round. It is my hope that everyone from the LGBTQ+ community, and people from all backgrounds, see Nestle as a place where they can feel welcome and free to thrive in their career. My work as an ally – and Nestlé’s work to continue building an inclusive and equitable workplace – will continue far beyond Pride Month.