By Angela Guy, Sr. Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, Loreal USA
For over 100 years, L’Oréal has recognized and celebrated the diversity in beauty. As the world’s leading beauty company, our products are sold in 150 countries around the world and are formulated to meet the needs and aspirations of all consumers. We know that in order to meet those needs, it is essential to have a pipeline of talent that supports the diversity of the marketplace.
When it comes to our employees, we believe, as validated by research conducted by the Korn Ferry Institute in 2016, that diverse teams, when well-managed, outperform homogenous teams. Our performance as the #1 beauty company in the US and globally is testimony to that fact. We are living proof of the power of diverse teams. Here in the US, 39% of our employees identify as People of Color in a labor force where that representation is 37%. We know the diversity of our teams contributes to our success on a daily basis, and that is why Diversity & Inclusion is a business driver at L’Oréal.
At L’Oréal, we “measure what we treasure.” We treasure our talent, and regular analysis of our talent and compensation showed us that we needed to do more to get the right people in the right jobs in a sustainable and equitable way. Several years ago, our Global Chairman and CEO, Jean-Paul Agon, established a mission for all L’Oréal subsidiaries to focus on gender balance at all levels as well as pay equity. At the time, L’Oréal USA whose workforce was — and is — approximately 70% women did not have enough representation of women in senior, strategic positions in the company. Additionally, our wage gap was constantly fluctuating as our business is based on an acquisition model, meaning we are continually assimilating new employees into our company who arrive with varying pay structures. Frédéric Rozé, President and CEO of L’Oréal USA, and the members of our management committee took on the challenge to correct those inequities by ensuring that gender balance and pay equity are top priorities across the company, and by taking action in a number of areas.
Two years ago, Mr. Rozé joined the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the largest-CEO-driven business commitment to drive diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He publicly committed to making gender balance and pay equity a priority. Since then, he has spoken broadly about the company’s commitment both internally and externally and has been clear about his expectations and desire to see sustainable, equitable change. That commitment has seen numerous results.
Mr. Rozé and our company’s Strategic Committee made a concerted effort to identify or create more opportunities for women at senior levels where it made strategic sense. As a result, our Executive Committee, which is comprised of 68 heads of major brands such as L’Oréal Paris, Lancôme, Maybelline, Kiehl’s and many more, is now at gender parity. Six years ago, women represented 31% of the Executive Committee. Today that number exceeds 50%. Additionally, numbers of women at the Director, AVP, VP and SVP levels have steadily increased in the past five years and are all at – or exceed — parity.
L’Oréal USA, an original signatory to the White House Pledge on Pay Equity, has taken its commitment even further. L’Oréal USA is an active member of the Employers for Pay Equity Steering Committee, a group working with companies to support their efforts towards pay equity.
Angela Guy, SVP, Diversity & Inclusion and Carol Hamilton, Group President, Acquisitions at L’Oréal USA, co-developed and implemented an Inclusive Leadership program with The Harvard Kennedy School for all senior leaders. The program focuses on Gender Equity and Unconscious Bias. Approximately 80 leaders have gone through the program to date and we have begun to imbed these learnings in the way we work.
Our company remains focused and transparent in our mission to achieve gender equality. We received our third certification in Gender Equity through EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) Strategy last year. L’Oréal USA was the first company in the US to be certified by EDGE, a leading global company in gender certification across industries. The EDGE certification involves a comprehensive review of the company’s gender policies and practices along with a deep analysis of gender data across the entire U.S. workforce of more than 12,000 employees. As part of the evaluation, we surveyed employees on gender equality as it pertains to recruitment and promotion, leadership training and mentorship, flexible work, company culture and equal pay for equivalent work.
We recently conducted two wage gap analyses: an internal regression tool and an external tool to validate our model and to identify any areas of opportunity. Our wage gap analysis is conducted on a yearly basis and results are shared with employees. Since 2013, we have reduced our wage gap significantly and are now considered to be equitable by EDGE Standards (EDGE Standards identify equity as less than 5%).
We have Think Tanks (employee resource groups) related to Gender focused on the advancement, retention and continued engagement of women and men at L’Oréal USA. L’Oreal For Women is the umbrella organization that serves as the advisory committee for all the women’s Think Tanks including Women of Color, Women in LeadershipOperations, and roundtables such as The Parents Society and Mentoring Moments and more. Men@L’Oréal is focused on the engagement, recruitment and retention of men.
Every year, we hold an annual Equity Day for male and female leaders at L’Oréal USA. This annual event, hosted by our CEO and sponsored by the L’Oréal For Women, features internal and external speakers discussing topics related to equity, empowerment and advancement. Approximately 200 leaders attend this event.
We continue to leverage the tools and insights shared by the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion by increasing our leadership representation and enhancing our engagement with academic institutions. For example, our senior leaders have participated in conferences such as the Forum for Workplace Inclusion, and at academic institutions such as Penn State, Wharton, Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) and Adelphi (to name a few) to discuss topics related to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We have also leveraged the PwC videos on bias made available through the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. These videos have been added to our employee learning tools and continue to be shared throughout every level of our organization. We are also committed to sharing best practices by speaking at conferences such as the Forum for Workplace Inclusion, Disability: IN, She Runs It Multicultural Bootcamp and the Diversity MBA National Conference, among many others.
These are some but not all of the actions that are driving results to ensure that L’Oréal USA is a diverse and equitable company. Through our efforts and commitment, L’Oréal USA has been named a Best Company for Multicultural Women, a Best Company for Working Mothers, and a NAFE (National Association for Female Executives) Top Ten Company for Female Executives by Working Mother Media. Additionally, we have been recognized as one of the top companies in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, which distinguishes companies committed to transparency in gender reporting and advancing women’s equality in the workplace, and one of the leading companies in the Thomson Reuters Gender Equality Index.
At L’Oréal, we have a corporate ambition of Beauty For All, which is our commitment to a sustainable workforce, workplace and marketplace. We value diversity and inclusion as a business imperative and in our efforts to meet the diverse beauty needs and aspirations of consumers around the world. In doing so, we remain committed to ensuring that we are also an equitable, sustainable workplace for employees representing all dimensions of diversity by living our values 365 days of the year.