Working to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is not just “the right thing to do” for Herbalife Nutrition — it is a business imperative, said Kim Congdon, the company’s global vice president of Human Resources and Talent Management.
“Companies will not be growing or even surviving if they don't understand the importance of inclusion,” Congdon told TriplePundit in a recent interview. “The makeup of our country and the global network of our organization — and all organizations — is very different than it was 20 or 30 years ago. We can’t afford to miss out on a diversity of backgrounds, ideas and experiences.”
With nearly 10,000 employees around the world, including a global network of independent distributors, and manufacturing facilities based in China, California and North Carolina, Herbalife Nutrition says it has always recognized diversity as a strength. Now it has committed itself to a wide range of policies and programs to build an even more inclusive and productive employee culture.
“Diversity is about fostering that culture, not training that culture,” Congdon explained. “We create immersive learning opportunities where people can learn from participation.”
The company held its first virtual DEI Employee Town Hall in November 2020 to introduce a new global diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy and announce a newly formed DEI global council. Since then, subsequent DEI-focused town halls have informed employees where to access the latest information around the company’s global and local DEI initiatives. A recent town hall, for example, focused on the company’s employee networks and employee-led regional councils, sharing their progress and what being part of Herbalife Nutrition’s DEI journey means to them.
“Herbalife Nutrition employees are extremely engaged in our DEI programs,” Congdon said. “Our core DEI teams around the world provide the structure and support, but the programs are by employees, for employees.”
Herbalife Nutrition’s DEI efforts incorporate a “top-down” approach of senior staff reaching out to engage employees and a “grassroots” approach of empowering their workforce, Congdon said. Employee network groups within the company now include Black Life, Millennial Life, Multicultural Life, Proud Life, Vet (Veteran) Life, Women in Leadership, Women in Technology, and Working Parents Life. Each is supported by an executive sponsor and led by a steering committee consisting of network members.
These employee network groups are more than just sounding boards about various employee concerns. They also influence company policies, such as Working Parents Life group raising the need for improvements in policies on parental leave which have subsequently been put in place.
Employee networks and regional councils have also brought in speakers, hosted podcasts, held watch parties, and convened other engaging, educational and celebratory events, Congdon said. In addition, the internal “I Belong-We Belong” campaign — in which employees discuss the broader dimensions of DEI in monthly meetings — started organically in a manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem North Carolina and has spread throughout the company, she said.
Herbalife Nutrition also empowers its workforce by providing a platform, “Simply the Best,” for peer-to-peer recognition.
“The platform is designed to empower all Herbalife Nutrition team members to recognize each other for contributions that matter, and to shine a spotlight on the actions, efforts and results that exemplify our values: ‘We Always Do What's Right, We Work Together, and We Build it Better,’” Congdon said.
There are two types of peer-to-peer recognition on the platform: social recognition and points-based recognition. Every time someone is recognized through Simply the Best, employees can send that person a customized, online postcard with an image or video of their choice to thank them for their contributions. There is also a rewards catalog with thousands of items, as well as gift cards, to choose from.
“We know that engagement is about employees being satisfied, being productive and staying with the company,” Congdon told us. “There's a very close connection between how people feel about the opportunities they have within the company, the fairness of the company, as well as their ability to move forward, and their level of engagement and the success of the company.”
Since Herbalife Nutrition started measuring employee engagement and continues to emphasize its employee networks and outreach, its representation goals and its engagement scores “correlate positively,” she said.
Herbalife Nutrition employees are also empowered through access to educational platforms for self-improvement, including LinkedIn Learning and the company's in-house learning management system, Herbalife Nutrition University. A global program, Leading with Empathy, offers guidance on building and maintaining trust.
In 2017, the company launched Greenhouse, a crowdsourcing platform through which employees can contribute ideas and “help build the company better together,” Congdon said. Since the platform’s launch, the company has implemented more than 300 ideas and suggestions generated through Greenhouse, she told us.
“We believe that people deserve the opportunity to try and reach new and better levels of personal achievement, and we welcome anyone that has the willingness to try,” Congdon concluded. “Very simply, we want people helping people. I just think it’s baked into who we are.”
This article series is sponsored by Herbalife Nutrition and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.
Image credit: Mapbox/Unsplash
Gary E. Frank is a writer with more than 30 years of experience encompassing journalism, marketing, media relations, speech writing, university communications and corporate communications.