How Hershey’s Inclusive Hiring Practices Are Resulting in Big DEI Wins

Featuring: Alicia Petross

Hundreds of companies made big statements supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace last year. But what’s really changed? We still see many people saying that DEI initiatives are essential — but not doing actionable, measurable things about it.

In this episode of Science 4-Hire, I’m excited to speak with Alicia Petross, the Hershey Company’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer about how the company is truly walking the talk and tackling hiring inequity with a strategic, targeted DEI plan.

“We’ve made targeted efforts to expand DEI across Hershey,” Alicia says. “We look at our diverse consumer base, and we believe our company should be equally diverse from our boardroom to our manufacturing floors.”

Alicia and the Hershey Company’s data-driven, goal-oriented approach has produced impressive results. Listen in to hear what inclusive hiring practices she’s implemented — and the impact they’ve already had.
Listen to “S4H33” on Spreaker.

Sponsor the Strategy From the C-Suite

One of the beautiful things about Hershey’s DEI plan is that leadership isn’t just on board — they set the strategy. Even before last year’s renewed racial justice movement, Hershey’s executive team committed to growing the business by investing in more diverse talent and perspectives.

Hershey uses its massive customer base to set its diversity hiring goals. “Our U.S. consumer base is 28% Black and Latinx. But at the time, our U.S.-based workforce was only 15% Black and Latinx,” Alicia says. “That meant we had a gap in being able to fully realize one of our core philosophies, which is we want our workforce to be as diverse as the consumers we’re serving.”

To fill the gap, Alicia and her team honed in on four key areas that had the most growth potential: the sales function, supply chain, finances and information services. Hershey could make quick gains in areas where they could scale diverse and inclusive hiring practices. These key areas also had great career opportunities, so diverse talent would have better internal mobility options and move up within the company.

Raise the Stakes for Accountability

Improving DEI requires deliberate, intentional processes and channels for holding people accountable to them. That’s why Alicia and her team have worked with leaders to set specific goals for hiring leaders. They invoke the power of the pocketbook to hold managers accountable for meeting their diversity objectives.

“We take this goaling process pretty seriously — such that our executive committee holds goals relative to representation that are linked to pay,” Alicia says. “It hardly gets more serious than that.”

But beyond that, hiring managers are seeing the impact that diverse and inclusive hiring practices are having on their teams’ productivity and innovation. “I’ve seen diversity enable teams to do that, and to be able to grow responsibly and to grow sometimes in far more expansive ways than you might imagine,” Alicia continues. Those wins are transforming the company culture.

Commit to Hitting the Numbers

Setting specific, realistic goals is vital to improving diversity, equity and inclusion. And Alicia and her team have researched to narrow down the right numbers to hit. “By 2025, we want between 30% and 40% of our US workforce to be comprised of people of color,” she says. “And we want 22% of people leader roles occupied by people of color.”

But they aren’t just meeting the numbers: Alicia and her team are committed to implementing change. They’ve already obliterated the pay gap(!), Alicia says. Now they’re investigating other systemic inequities and working to remove them across the company.

It comes down to listening to employee experiences, setting targeted goals and taking deliberate actions. “When I say we’re really intentional,” Alicia says, “we are intentional.” It’s working for Hershey. It can work for you, too.

People in This Episode

Catch Alicia Petross on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Read the Transcript

Announcer:

Welcome to Science 4-Hire, with your host, Dr. Charles Handler. Hiring is hard. Pre-hire talent assessments can help you ease the pain. Whether you don’t know where to start, or you just want to stay on top of the trends, Science 4-Hire provides 30 minutes of enlightenment on best practices and news from the front lines of the employment testing universe. So get ready to learn as Dr. Charles Handler and his all star guests blend old school knowledge with new wave technology to educate and inform you about all things talent assessment.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Hello, everybody and welcome to the latest edition of Science 4-Hire. I’m your host, Dr. Charles Handler, and I am super excited to have a really interesting guest today, Alicia Petross who is the VP of Talent Acquisition, Diversity and Inclusion, and Employee Experience at Hershey Corporation. Welcome, Alicia.

Alicia Petross:

Good morning, Charles. It’s fantastic to be here with you today.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Yeah, and as I always do, I love to just have my guest introduce themselves a little bit before we get going. Nobody knows who you are better than you. So, say a few words about your position at Hershey’s, what you do here or there? Excuse me. And anything else you want to say to set the stage for our conversation.

Alicia Petross:

Yeah. So, as Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for the Hershey Company, I lead networks across the enterprise toward our company DEI goals. So, we are focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. And for us, those are executive committee big rocks. So, these are super important initiatives. I’ve been with The Hershey Company for nearly nine years in a variety of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Employee Engagement, and Talent Acquisition roles. And prior to Hershey, I was with Target Corporation for 20 plus years in a variety of P&L, HR roles. And I lead Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Target headquarters employees prior to joining Hershey.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Wow. That’s a lot. That sounds super interesting. And so, full disclosure, how do I know Alicia? Hershey Corporation is one of our clients. So we’ve had an opportunity to work together a little bit, and that’s where I was exposed to what I think is the really best in class thinking, that working with a lot of enterprise companies, frankly, I haven’t seen before, and I was really impressed. So, I wanted to have Alicia on today just to talk a little bit about what Hershey’s is doing in general to really, I think, walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to DE&I. We see a lot of people saying it’s important, but not really doing actionable, measurable things about it. And that’s why I was so impressed. So, just to kick it off, I’d love for you to tell our listeners a little bit about your viewpoints at Hershey’s and some of the things that you all are doing to really take these big rocks, as you say, and make sure they’re getting rolled up or pushed up that hill, which is not always easy, right?

Alicia Petross:

Yeah. Yeah. There’s a lot of good work happening out there across the world relative to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. For us, Charles, at Hershey, we believe our legacy leads to leadership and we really believe our actions must be intentional. Our aim is an even more diverse and inclusive Hershey. And to do that, we want to provide more people, more opportunities in our workplaces, and we want to eliminate unnecessary employment barriers. For us, Hershey has such a proud legacy of goodness. We believe our corporate legacy and our leadership go hand in hand. And so, we continuously reflect on our legacy of goodness to support our leadership and to inform future action. So today, we’re looking at DEI as a priority. It’s part of what makes us a leader in the industry, a great place to work, and a company people want to do business with. To be successful and to continue to make progress, we know our actions, they’ve got to be intentional, and our leadership must continue to embrace the mindset of leading with bold transparency.

Alicia Petross:

Today, people have to actually feel DEI in our culture to make it real. And right now, Charles, it’s all about the network, it’s not about what I think we should do, it’s about what we should do. And so, to continue on our mission of prioritizing DEI and everything that we’re doing, we have to ensure our recruitment efforts, as well as our internal development opportunities reflect this path forward. So, when it comes to the recruiting, we’ve made targeted efforts to expand DEI across Hershey and eliminate barriers to employment. We look at our diverse consumer base and we believe our company should be equally diverse from our boardroom to our manufacturing floors. This is a business imperative and a mandate from our amazing CEO, Michelle Buck.

Dr. Charles Handler:

That’s really well-spoken. I got to say, you’re one of the… I’ve done, I don’t know, 35 of these things, you’re probably one of the most articulate guest I’ve ever had. That was a very good and clear description. I love it. And one of the things that… And this stock with me the first time we talked was the idea that you’re looking at your consumer base and saying, “Our internal population across this company needs to look like our consumer base.” I mean, it’s such a logical thing, and when you all are so global and so saturated, I mean, how far do you have to go to find a Hershey product? Not very far-

Alicia Petross:

Not very far, we hope.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Yes. [inaudible 00:06:21] Your consumers are everywhere all the time. So, that is not an easy to achieve thing, but what a great way of thinking about it.

Dr. Charles Handler:

We think a lot about diversity, and I’ve done a lot of EO, CEO of CCP stuff over my career. And one of the things you look at from hiring is, what does the applicant population look like? What’s the demographics look like? But it’s one step further, and not really a legal mandate at all. I mean, that’s what I also like is anytime we see DE&I stuff, that’s not so micro focused on, we can’t have adverse impact. Our tests have to be fair. I like that because there’s so much more to it. And I’ve been working really hard lately studying, I’m doing some writing, and some other company-wide for my company initiatives, I’ve been studying bias and diversity and stuff at a pretty deep level. And I want to run past you the way I’m starting to see it.

Dr. Charles Handler:

And maybe you can then speak to a little bit about, do you see it the same way and what you all are doing? So I look at it. First of all, and I have saying this for a long time. Hiring diversity, it’s a numbers game, a probability game. If you do not put enough diversity into the funnel, no diversity is going to come out of the funnel. So, before you even get started, that the mandate has to be to go reach the talent that makes diversity possible. And if you don’t do that, you’re in trouble, right? And so, in today’s world, and I also look at a lot of artificial intelligence type stuff, it leads to this, me being a testing guy, we’ve been blamed as testing people for adding bias to the process over and over for years.

Dr. Charles Handler:

And I’m trying to redirect a little of that to say, “Why don’t we look at some of the things that happen at the top of the funnel?” For instance, even job ad placement. When algorithms are choosing who sees job ads, people are immediately getting excluded from being able to even know a job exist. And then at the next step, let’s say recruiters have systems that are recommendation engines, and those things listen to what recruiters say more like this, more like this. If a recruiter has bias there, no diversity is getting past, or less diversity is getting past that step. And then once you’re in their screening and of course assessments, but with assessments, we as IO psychologists have been working for decades to make sure assessments are bias free. So, don’t keep blaming us. And then below that, you’ve got individual decision making that hiring managers to where there’s this selecting people based on irrelevant things that subjectively may excite them.

Dr. Charles Handler:

We went to the same school or they like racquetball, or whatever it is. A lot of times those aren’t really driven by job relatedness. So, I’ve just said a lot, but my point, bias is not in anyone place, it’s pervasive or the possibility for it is pervasive. And it has to be guarded from above even the hiring effort. Otherwise, you’re not going to get what you want out of it. So, I’m curious, how you think about that and what you all are doing within that structure I just talked about?

Alicia Petross:

Yeah, Charles. So I think, humans are wired and made to have bias. We’ve all got bias, right?

Dr. Charles Handler:

Absolutely.

Alicia Petross:

So, it’s really important that companies have steps and processes and systems in place to ensure fairness. And hey, Hershey is all about fairness and equity. So, I want to just dig into a couple of points, really great points that you made. So, you do have to start with a really rigorous inspection of your applicant tracking process. So you have to go through an applicant tracking review. So, last year in January 2020 at a leader forum with a top 300 leaders in the company, we were talking about Hershey’s growth initiatives and how are we going to continue to move the company forward? And one of those growth initiatives we believe is the diversity of our workforce. And we know the more diverse perspectives we bring in, the better the solutions we can deliver for our business, our key customers, our shareholders. The better our employees perform and interact, the more innovation we deliver. That means we have more resources to deliver back to the community.

Alicia Petross:

So, it’s a beautiful circle. But we also recognize, Charles, that our US consumer base is 28% Black and Latinx. But at the time our US-based workforce was only 15% Black and Latinx. That meant we had a gap in being able to fully realize at one of our core philosophies, which is we want our workforce to be as diverse as the consumers we’re serving. So, to get at this, we did start with a really thorough review of our applicant tracking system. Getting a grip on the number of roles that we recruit for every year by function, by job level, understanding where we had the largest scale to make the biggest impact. So, in our organization, it really comes down to four key areas. And the first is the one that we’re working on you with, which is our US sales function, and within that, our retail sales representative role.

Alicia Petross:

We’re also placing a lot of emphasis on roles across our supply chain that simply were many of our employees work. And then we’re also putting emphasis on roles in finance and information services. Why? Because these are the roles that come open most frequently. This is where we have scale. These are also the roles where we have great internal career tracks. So we’re going to hire people into the company with the notion that there are other places for them to grow into. These are places where we also have the greatest, positive, natural turnover or ability to continue to bring people in. And then lastly, Charles, these are also the roles we identified in working with labor economists and other thought leaders like yourself, where we know there’s a lot of qualified diverse talent that is available to us.

Alicia Petross:

So, I think that first step of really understanding your applicant tracking system allowed us to check off that first pieces, what’s happening at the top of your funnel? And then you get into this process of hiring. So there, I have always advised all of our hiring leaders just to focus on one thing, to hire the most qualified candidate from a diverse candidates slate. So, Charles, when you said, “If you don’t have a lot of diversity in the pipe, it’s not going to be a surprise if you don’t end up making a lot of diverse hires.”

Dr. Charles Handler:

Yeah, exactly.

Alicia Petross:

And so, we’re focused on slate diversity for all roles of 50% and that’s inclusive of gender and ethnicity. And so, we take a look at our slates before they go to the hiring manager. And so, we also know what the availability is externally, and we’re looking to get within that range and to do it quickly because we do not want to hold up the hiring process as well.

Alicia Petross:

But I think the second point is, we do now place a lot of focus on slate diversity. Okay. So, how are we amping that up? Well, we took a look at our candidate funnel and we recognized we had a lot of legacy partners and universities. We didn’t have as many partners that are intimately connected to diverse talent sources. And so, we made a couple of strategic choices. We said by 2023, we want to have over 50% of our total search volume done with diverse owned Talent Acquisition firms. And I’m happy to report that today, we’re at 41%. So we are definitely on track to hit that goal. We also increased the number of historically black college in universities and historically Hispanic serving institutions from below six, now to 23. So we have taken the time to form partnerships and relationships with schools that are simply graduating more ethnically diverse talent.

Alicia Petross:

Thurgood Marshall College Fund is a major partner of ours in this effort. So I think being intentional about where we go to look for talent is that second part, because that’s really going to dramatically influence the amount of diversity that ends up on your slates, right?

Dr. Charles Handler:

Yeah, of course.

Alicia Petross:

Yeah. And then I think staying true to this philosophy of hiring managers, hire the most qualified candidate from a diverse candidate slate. I think that is really holding true for us because we tend to see the amount of diversity that ends up on the slate is proportionately the amount of diversity that we’re hiring into the organization.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Oh, wow. That’s cool. And so, yeah, I have a couple of notes here that was a great description. What I like hearing is that you are setting goals. So we learn and motivation and how goals work that difficult but obtainable, quantifiable goals have the most motivating power with feedback to those goals. So, it’s nice to hear that you have set these kinds of goals and are really tracking toward those. The other thing I’m thinking about, and I’ve been conceptualizing this is what I call the last mile. So the last mile in the hiring process is a hiring manager typically, right? And that’s where things, let’s assume that they do have a slate of candidates diverse or not, I mean, that’s where the biggest potential is I think for problems, once you got the material you’re working with, once you’ve got your applicant population. That last mile, and I’ve experienced that in my career where we’ve handed a slate of candidates over and that’s been ignored by hiring managers, or a particular banded distribution of candidates where everyone’s assumed equal.

Dr. Charles Handler:

It doesn’t matter a lot of times what you put out there, hiring managers, even if they’re at to your point of we all cognitively have to have some kind of scheme as to categorize things. Otherwise, we’d be inundated with too many things to think about. And so, in that last mile again is where hiring managers can make or break things when it comes to diversity. So serving them up a slate that represents the opportunity to make good decisions from both performance and DE&I standpoint is a really good idea. And I think that as I start looking at as well, so I’ve studied a lot lately about the concept of culture add, I’m sure you’re probably familiar with that. So, the idea being that individuals bring things to the table that are difference makers, and that’s not always because of their attitudes or even the work values that they share.

Dr. Charles Handler:

I think fit is often tied justifiably so to work values and culture fit, I mean. And I feel work values are part of it, but there’s another piece of culture fit. I call it culture add where you really have an opportunity to bring diverse ways of thinking into the organization. And there is research, especially around the concept of what we call cognitive diversity. That is people coming from different disciplines, different educational backgrounds, if an educational background at all, bring these thinking styles. And there’s tremendously awesome research that shows that like empirically with numbers and dollars that diverse teams perform better. Cognitively diverse teams perform better. Listeners, you can Google that, you can email me and I’ll share what I found there. That was very meaningful. I mean, that makes this not an effort to try and feel good about ourselves, but there’s reality of the symbiotic relationship you get out of that, which is amazing. So I don’t know how much you all have looked at our studied that kind of in that, that last mile of looking for the diverse of thinking, the diverse background experiences, those kind of things.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Those often come with demographic diversity, but not even always. There’s so many different. I get excited about people being able to be individuals and stay within a company. That piece of you, that’s an individual is so meaningful and often just so overlooked in a scripted, quick flowing, regimented hiring process.

Alicia Petross:

Yeah. I think you said a lot there that’s really impactful. We are being really intentional about the actions and the systems and the processes that we put in place. Why? Because we believe we have a role to play in creating a more equitable world, we feel we have a responsibility in that. And so, we take this goaling process pretty seriously such that our executive committee holds goals relative to representation that are linked to pay. So, it hardly gets more serious than that. We believe in it, we have goals, they’re structured, we’re measuring and we’re tracking. And you’re right, it does come down often to decisions of hiring managers. But here’s what I know about managers at Hershey and managers at many corporations across the globe, people love to win, they love to win efficiently. They love to win within the values of their organization.

Alicia Petross:

And I’ve seen diversity and able teams to do that, and to be able to grow responsibly and to grow sometimes in far more expansive ways, and you might imagine. When I was with Target Corporation and I was in a regional HR role, so I had nine states of target stores across the Midwest. I realized that the stores that had more diverse leadership teams or the stores were delivering more profitability, or the stores that were hitting their financial goals, or the stores that were developing more talent. And were the stores that because of those things had more profit to deliver back to the communities where they do business. And pulling forward to Hershey, I think it’s the same equation for us. Michelle Buck, our CEO regularly talks about the power of getting diverse perspectives around the table and how that fuels our business.

Alicia Petross:

And that is really table stakes for us. Here’s a small story that brings that into perspective. We have many interns that join us every summer. And a few years ago, one of the interns was working on one of our marketing teams, and he really loved Reese’s and he really loved Reese’s Pieces. And he could often be seen putting those two products together. And he went to some of the associate brand managers one day and he said, “Hey, I’m a guy of a certain age. I’m a millennial, and as millennials, we love texture in our food. We love things that crunch. And I think you’d have a real hit if you combine Reese’s Pieces and the Reese’s Cup.” You know what? He was right. That’s an example of a new perspective, a different way to think about products that were on the shelf for quite a while, that has really been an advantage. And so, there are examples like that, that play out across the board. So yes, we are focusing on diversity, and diversity of thought is a big part of our definition of diversity.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Very cool. That’s awesome. So, what I’m thinking about is… Well, first of all, although my wife not a millennial, I’ll give everybody another really tasty thing is we go to the movies, although not as much now, you can mix Reese’s Pieces in your popcorn. And at first I was like, “Oh, that sounds awful.” And then I tried it and it’s addicting.

Alicia Petross:

It’s delightful.

Dr. Charles Handler:

So there’s a product idea maybe. So, one of the things I want to make sure we touch on and is this a philosophy that one of our clients, oh, it’s been even 10 years ago now, asked us to do this, and we do it every time now, which is when we’re working with the assessment or an assessment, we do a diversity review board. So, we will actually have a group of individuals representing whatever the organization has deemed as an important person to be looking at this from a diversity standpoint, we’ll go over each and every one of our items.

Dr. Charles Handler:

And it was such an eyeopening thing. Because obviously we write items to be as unbiased and fair as possible like we don’t have, and we look at that. It’s not like we’re not even thinking about it, but when we gave our set of maybe 40 some questions, there were things that came back that I had no perspective on, zero, as a test writer and expert who knew that studied the job in detail and knows how to write fair tests, it was really impactful to me. I’m like, “We don’t know everything and we need to get feedback from people who do.” And so, we’ve included that in our process. I don’t want to take credit for being the only people who do that, but I think it’s one of the things that we do uniquely that really helps us make sure that at the end of the road, the very things that are touching candidates besides decision-making, how you’re representing yourself as a company, there’s a comfort level there with the questions you’re getting where people don’t feel excluded. Especially we did biographical data or background history questions.

Dr. Charles Handler:

A lot of times those can be very powerful predictors if you make sure they’re all job-related. But those questions about things people did extracurricularly or sports, interests, hobbies, whatever it was, that’s where some real powerful differences came through we didn’t realize. And that’s something that is part of, I believe the plan with our project, whoever’s writing the assessment, we don’t know, but I believe that that’s an important thing that we’ve baked into communicating with you all and say, “You got to do this.” And it’s great.

Alicia Petross:

Yeah. We really appreciate how you think about that, Charles. I mentioned networks, and today at Hershey anything great that’s happening is because of our networks. It’s because we’re bringing together perspectives of big groups of people, employees, business leaders, thought leaders like yourself, external stakeholders to really inform decisions. I think back to the days after the murder of George Floyd, and we knew we wanted to make commitments and we wanted to make a statement. What was different about that moment for us though, was that we took the time to activate our internal networks and to pull together dozens of employees and ask them, what do you want Hershey’s legacy to be in this moment? That allowed us to come up with five areas of commitments. And these were employee generated. And so, those things are really important because when you talk about belonging, it’s important that you’ve got thoughts and feelings that you feel comfortable sharing and putting on the table.

Alicia Petross:

And so, our black business resource group suggested as part of one of our commitments to contribute more money and support to organizations both legacy and new that we should start supporting the equal justice initiative. And so, this is an organization that runs a powerful museum on the history of lynching. Yes, lynching in America. And they also do critically important work to support the wrongfully incarcerated. Many of whom tend to be Black and Latinx. And so, that was an organization that was recommended to us by employees. And we have a multi-year partnership with them. And I’m really proud of the fact that our employees felt comfortable and open enough to suggest that. And so, I think this concept of belonging, it’s key to this notion of diversity of thought. And I think you have to really be engaging people. That’s how we landed on our current enterprise, DEI strategy, which we call the Pathways Project.

Alicia Petross:

We went on a listening tour. We involved hundreds of employees across every function in our organization. We heard some hard truths about realities at Hershey, and we heard about things employees were proud of. And we decided to focus on a new framework that we call the Pathways Project. It’s our five-year plan to be encouraging more diverse and inclusive. And it’s got three pillars focusing on joining, getting a wider variety of talent and perspectives into our organization as employees, service providers and suppliers grow. So focusing on talent that we haven’t always in the past with an effort to retain our talent and to promote, especially early in career talent and get them on a trajectory to move up in their careers. And the third pillar is more pathways to reach out, just show up for consumers and customers in new ways and in ways we haven’t before. So, this initiative touches all functions in our organization, but is it powerful? Wow. I’ve got to say there’s so much energy and enthusiasm because we did this work with employees. And it’s something that people believe in.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Yeah, that’s awesome. What thought I just had is, if you rewind 20 years ago, was the first time, and now I’ve been in the workforce really about 25 years. So, it could be going on before that. But that’s 20 years ago, people were began to be conscious of diversity and inclusion stuff. Again, that’s trained as a testing person. We’re very conscious of it because we try to eliminate as much as possible. But the context around us, diversity and inclusion meant training programs that people had to sit through so that a boss could be checked that our people, or it could be communicated outside the company and inside that our people are aware because they’ve gone through this training. Well, we all know that’s not a bad thing. I’m sure that helped. But if you go from that to what you’re talking about now, what a big difference.

Dr. Charles Handler:

I mean, what a big difference in terms of actual actions and impactful things, it’s taken us a while to get there. And I think, if you fast forward 10, 20 years, hopefully sooner, we’re going to see the results of what companies like yourself are doing, and what the public consciousness is really starting to demand in a lot of ways. As brands that are consumer brands also begin to the link with where we are now and social presence and everything between a brand, and what’s really going on in that brand, those walls are breaking down. There’s transparency that people can access. And I think it’s making a difference. It really is. So it’s an exciting time. We just have a long legacy to overcome.

Alicia Petross:

Yeah, I agree. For us, we feel as though we’ve done a lot, but we know there is a lot more work for us to do. And our legacy commitment to equity and inclusion is seen throughout our leadership. So, we had a female board director in 1970. Today, our board of directors is 58% diverse led by Michelle Buck, Chairwoman and CEO. Her team is 44% diverse. We’re nearly 50% female across our entire organization and women and people of color lead many of our top commercial roles. But we’ve set some really ambitious goals. Charles, by 2025, we want between 30% and 40% of our US workforce to be comprised of people of color. And we want 22% of people leader roles occupied by people of color. And we’re also focusing on the systems that are related to some of those choices. And so, another equity stat that I’m really thrilled to share is that the Hershey Company has no pay gap. That’s right. US salary women and people of color earn $1 for $1 across the aggregate compared to white males. So, when I say we’re really intentional, we are intentional.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Yeah. And I’ll just say, obviously I’m a white male, and I remember this was a huge impact on my thinking. And honestly, something that I had no experience in many diverse relationships and populations over the years, but we were talking to someone for that diversity review project I was talking about the first one we ever did. And there was African-American black individual we were talking to who said, “You know what? For us, we have to work twice as hard to get half as far.” And I was like, “Really?” I mean, hearing someone say that to me, wow, I was like, I mean, it was very impactful. So, to be able to remove that kind of a barrier, for other populations of any kind of diversity as well, I think it probably rings true. Well, so it’s not just that one happy relation.

Alicia Petross:

Exactly.

Dr. Charles Handler:

So that’s a very eye-opening thing for me that made me feel a lot, like really empowered about the things we’re doing, and setting those difficult but obtainable goals. If you’re not setting hard goals for yourself, you’re not trying hard enough. I mean, that’s the way I look at.

Alicia Petross:

Right. And I think if you’re not listening about the realities of your current situation, I think it’s going to be really hard to make positive movement. That’s one of the things we appreciate about working with you and your teams is the listening that goes into the creation of the assessments.

Dr. Charles Handler:

Yeah. Very cool. Well, this has got us about up on time. So, really great conversation today. I’m just really looking forward to our listeners, being able to latch on to some of the things you’re talking about and see how they might be able to bring those to what they’re doing. And I’m sure to your point at the beginning, there’s many companies doing wonderful things. So, it’s not like nobody else is doing anything, but we can all learn from one another, and the true spirit of what we’re talking about today. So just love for you to let everyone know if there’s a place where they can follow you or see what you’re up to and your thinking about, please feel free to let everyone know, and then we’ll sign off.

Alicia Petross:

Yeah. Charles, it has been a delight. Thanks so much for the opportunity to chat and to learn with you. And I am on LinkedIn and Twitter, and @hershey.com, we’re on Facebook as well. So lots of places to connect out there.

Dr. Charles Handler:

The usual places I expected to hear those things, but we have to let you say it. So thank you so much, a great discussion today and best of luck in everything.

Alicia Petross:

Thanks so much. Have a great one, Charles.