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Building Diverse Workplace ‘Right Thing to Do,’ LS&Co. Says

Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) is making progress on its journey to “do more” and “do better,” as outlined in the denim company’s second annual diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) impact report highlighting how it fosters a more diverse workforce.

“We recognize that cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace is an ongoing journey,” Elizabeth A. Morrison, LS&Co.’s chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, said. “We’re committed to continuing to listen, learn and take action to create sustainable change that will positively impact our employee experience and culture through DE&I.”

The report follows the company’s 2020 commitment to increase its representation of executive women and people of color top to bottom. Globally, the executive leadership team remained majority women at 54.6 percent, down from last year’s 61.5 percent. Within the United States, the company saw a 1.4 percent uptick in Asian and Hispanic/Latino executive representation.

The corporate workforce saw the same percentage of women as last year, with Asian growth climbing 0.3 percent, Black talent up 0.8 percent and Hispanic/Latino rising 0.5 percent.

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The company’s top management team, defined as the top 250 leaders, was still predominately white at 61.9 percent. An independent pay equity audit was completed last year and found no systemic pay differences across gender and ethnicity within LS&Co.

To achieve the DE&I goals it set two years ago, the denim Goliath rolled out customized Diversity Action Plans (DAPs) for business units (BUs) in 2022. The plans are based on each BU’s results within the five key drivers of DE&I: hiring, representation, retention, promotion and inclusion, containing both global and local actions. It also created a resource guide to help LS&Co. employees understand those five factors.

To improve how it identifies and develops next-gen leaders, the company created two efficiency-focused talent development programs—LS&Co. Lab and Elevate: Accelerate Your Career—to empower future executives. Thirty-five employees took part in the programs’ inaugural year. To attract those leaders, the company created an “active pipeline” of over 5,600 applicants from historically underrepresented backgrounds, extended its annual sponsorship with seven of its diverse talent partners and partnered with Clark Atlanta University to facilitate a six-week design course that showcased 22 employees from its brand and products team.

“While I’m proud of what we accomplished in 2022, I’m even more excited for the evolution of our talent acquisition organization—which will help increase the representation in our recruitment pipeline and create pathways into key roles at LS&Co.,” Crystal Sequeria, senior manager, global talent enablement, said in the report.

Continuing #thepledge, LS&Co.’s global training initiative to build awareness, knowledge and skills for acting as inclusive leaders, the 2022 theme was identifying, disrupting and addressing microaggressions.

“It’s been a top priority of the company to create a more diverse and equitable workforce . . . it’s the right thing to do,” Chip Bergh, LS&Co. president and CEO, said in the report. “Making LS&Co. more diverse and creating a culture of belonging will make us a better company. We know this is a journey, and I’m excited about our progress, the leadership of our DE&I team and LS&Co.’s future. We’re building the foundation for the next 170 years, right now.”

For 2023, the report said the company will focus on creating more Diversity Action Plans for more business units, the launch of “key aspects of inclusive recruitment” and efforts on retention, career growth and development.