The Philippine unit in a global company that houses some of the country’s most well-known brands has embraced diversity, with its parent organization praising its institutionalized policies for inclusivity.
Mondelez International’s unit in the country, Mondelez Philippines, is the first Southeast Asian unit in the Chicago-based multinational company to have its own “Pride Month” party, in recognition of LGBTQIA + (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex , asexual and other) communities.
Mondelez Philippines is not only the region’s pioneer in the celebration of Pride Month, its “Diversity Council” is also the first of its kind in Mondelez ‘Southeast Asian offices, bringing to market Cheez Whiz, Oreo, Tang, Toblerone, Cadbury, Tiger Biscuits and Eden cheese.
In establishing and institutionalizing gender-based initiatives in the company, Mondelez Philippines took its signal from its parent company. Mondelez International has become a global leader in promoting diversity and embracing the value of inclusivity in its campaigns.
One of its groundbreaking international diversity initiatives is Oreo’s “Pride” campaign, which encourages members of the community to “share your pronoun with pride” and encourages more people to become LGBTQIA + allies.
Mondelez Philippines’ drive to embrace diversity is rooted in the parent company’s commitment to “do what’s right.” One of the pillars of the company is “building a winning growth culture”, where each member of the team is treated with care and integrity.
“Since 2017, the commitment of the company is ahead of the law, it exceeds the minimum of what is subject to the law,” Mondelez Philippines, Aileen Aumentado, said during a recent virtual media conference.
One notable policy is the involvement of domestic partners of all genders in the coverage of HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) benefits. Primary caregiver and single parent leaving, “regardless of birth history”, are also available to staff.
“We provide equal pay regardless of gender. We focus on the benefits, ”Aumentado added.
She said the company partnered with Philippine Financial and Interindustry Pride (PFIP) to further increase its diversity measures and ensure inclusivity in all of its offices.
Aumentado said that they alienate diversity and inclusion in the workplace at their bases in Metro Manila, Baguio City and Cebu City to allow their members to bring their best and most authentic selves, enabling them to also greatly contribute to the growth of the company.
Chris Eugenio, PFIP operations strategist, said it was important to ensure that workplaces remain diverse and inclusive so that they become hubs “for creativity and innovation.” Such an environment, he added, “promotes growth and a flexible mindset.”
To achieve this, he called on all companies to institutionalize SOGIE education (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression). “Make it a part of regular business training and boarding. Make it a part of everyday interactions, ”he added.
Eugenio also said companies need to promote LGBTQIA + visibility and representation at all levels of the organization.
“You are not just hiring [LGBTQIA+ employees], but you need to support and provide opportunities to help them succeed and thrive, take leadership and leadership roles, ”he said.
Not a crucible
For Mondelez Philippines Country Director Ashish Pisharodi, their partnership with PFIP is important.
“We support diversity and inclusion because a truly inspiring workplace is one where each colleague retains individuality rather than conform to stereotypes,” he said.
“We are not a crucible, but a mosaic where we see all the components,” Pisharodi added.
He said that when colleagues feel safe and secure in speaking their minds, it enriches the discussion because there is no bias or judgment. career.
Supply Chain people leader Karl Sandoval confirmed this.
“The fear was there. A male-dominated production unit is not easy to handle, ”he said, acknowledging certain gender roles in his mind.
But during the recruitment process, he said, the company recognized him for his individuality, “instead of being part of a social group.”
Sandoval said he found another home that brings out the best in him.
“They challenge me as ‘Karl’, not as a member of a social group,” he shared.
Aumentado, for her part, said she was “proud that we are trailblazers. Mondelez Philippines is home to the best practices in many ways in terms of ‘people’s program.’ “
However, she clarified that the company did not set a numerical target for LGBTQIA + members in the workforce. “It’s more of the environment that allows people to thrive regardless of gender,” she explained.
For Sandoval, workplaces need to be sensitive to “micro-attacks” against the LGBTQIA + community, the most common, he said, is “not using or promoting the preferred names and pronouns,” which should be “very basic.”
As a fundamental right in the workplace, the right to a preferred name and pronoun confirms one’s gender identity, he said. “The most common offenders are ‘kuyas’ and ‘ates’, our support and maintenance staff, because they do not know better,” Sandoval said.
To address this, it is imperative to inform the administrative and clerical staff about SOGIE sensitivity. “This stems from ignorance, they just do not know,” he added.
Another fundamental right is the provision of inclusive facilities and amenities, including toilets.
Aumentado said Mondelez Philippines embraced inclusion because “we can not express love for our consumers if we cannot express that love for our own people.”
Sandoval noted that Mondelez International is part of the Business Coalition for Equality in the United States, and the Philippine Unity’s initiatives in support of the LGBTQIA + community are about “going through the conversation.”
However, he warned other companies, “you will not be inclusive overnight.”
Sandoval advised other companies to take the time to establish the right foundation for diversity and inclusivity. “It’s about listening and learning from society, understanding what their needs are,” he said. —Contribution INQ
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