When veteran Keurig Dr Pepper Canada executive Olivier Lemire became president of the company in 2021, he was already deeply committed to KDP Canada’s initiative to intensify its diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts. “We all feel strongly that it is part of our core values, to be a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, where people have a sense of belonging, and I think it’s paying dividends now in the culture of the organization,” says Lemire.
The Montréal-based beverage-maker’s D&I drive has already made an impact. In Canada, female representation in leadership roles is now over 35 per cent, surpassing the broader company’s goal of 33 per cent by 2025. The group health insurance plan responded to employee needs and has been retooled in Canada to offer support for fertility treatments (for men and women), contraception and increased coverage for mental, physical and financial health.
The eight employee resource groups, which cover a range of self-identification from LGBTQ+ to parents and caregivers, all have “and allies” as part of their names. That is a very important addition for Lemire.
“The concept of allyship is powerful,” he says. “You want to create momentum around it. For D&I, you want allyship to become part of the mindset and behaviour in everyone. For people to raise their hand and be an ally to certain groups definitely carries a strong voice and considerably adds to the sense of inclusion – we don’t want to create silos.”
Most significant to the KDP Canada president, though, is the 87 per cent response rate from employees to the annual engagement survey. “We ask specific questions pertaining to D&I – do you see it as a priority for the organization? Do you believe we’re making progress? Are we holding to our commitments? When people feel it’s authentic, you get a high rate of feedback, because that means they trust that their voices will be heard. Inclusion drives a strong sense of engagement, and a highly engaged work force is what powers the best-performing organizations,” Lemire says.
Névine Bouzakhm, KDP Canada’s supply chain director, has the same outlook when talking about her still male-dominated field. “About a year ago, D&I became the focus for the supply chain team in particular. Our chief supply chain officer had a conference call with about a dozen women working in the supply chain team. And that lit a fire under us. We met and discussed our ideas, including raising the ratio of women in supply chain. We’ve made strides already; for instance, we’ve gone from one female site director to three. And this was accomplished by working together, with fantastic backing from senior management,” she relates.
“It all ties tightly together,” says Lemire, “in a way that is critical to recruitment and retention. In addition to engagement and performance, D&I brings openness and a variety of perspectives, so we see people grow their careers within KDP Canada and develop their knowledge and skills in-house.
“And when attracting new talent,” he continues, “the reality is what companies end up offering is less and less the specifics of their roles, and more and more their vision, values and culture, and we at KDP Canada believe we have a lot to offer.”
Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.