Mark King, global head of diversity and inclusion at Kellogg, has worked in the field for nearly 20 years — a field he took a liking to after attending a diversity awareness course in 1991.
Diversity Executive recently had the chance to catch up with King. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.
What first interested you about the field of diversity and inclusion?
I attended my first diversity awareness course in 1991. I was fascinated to learn how a business strategy called “Diversity Management,” which so closely aligned with my own personal values, could help companies be more successful.
What experiences do you feel you bring to diversity and inclusion at Kellogg?
I’m fortunate to have been in the diversity and inclusion field for nearly two decades. I’ve seen the significance of diversity and inclusion evolve from a “nice thing to do,” to a “smart thing to do,” and now even a “critical thing to do,” across numerous industries. Having deep experience in the field helps you identify and focus on things that can really make a sustainable difference.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about the function? Are there any topics that you think need to be addressed more often?
To me, the biggest challenge is making sure all employees understand and believe that diversity and inclusion includes each and every one of us. It’s not about some groups and not others — we’re all a part of diversity and inclusion.
Saying it is one thing, but getting everyone to feel and believe that diversity and inclusion is about us all is a challenge. But it’s an important challenge to keep top of mind because we all have diverse perspectives, skills, talents and points of view that when tapped into can make us a better company.
What area of diversity do you place special emphasis on? Why?
In terms of workforce diversity, our vision is to build a stronger Kellogg by fostering an inclusive culture that leverages diversity as a competitive advantage. To build a culturally inclusive organization, there are a few key areas to keep top of mind.
One of the most critical is alignment and integration: You have to think strategically and look for opportunities where diversity and inclusion can make a difference in how your company defines success. Diversity can’t and shouldn’t be a stand-alone — it’s an ingredient that helps everything else be better.
Several years ago, the Kellogg executive leadership team approved and funded the expansion of the Kellogg Office of Diversity and Inclusion to include new business partner roles to help us further integrate diversity into the business.
These talented individuals both lead and support opportunities to integrate diversity into daily operations within our business units and functions. This structure provides a much more sustainable approach to embed diversity into our culture.
Working in tandem with our diversity and inclusion team, Kellogg has six employee resource groups that promote an inclusive culture and embrace our workforce diversity. The groups provide support, networking and development opportunities for Kellogg employees.
Are there special challenges at Kellogg that are addressed through diversity and inclusion?
Our vision at Kellogg is to “Enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter.” That’s a wonderful place to anchor our diversity and inclusion efforts because we know that leveraging diversity can help us better understand consumers all around the globe — and that understanding helps us win in the marketplace.
How do you gauge the success of future diversity goals/initiatives?
We utilize a combination of qualitative and quantitative metrics to gauge the success of our efforts. We measure quantitative data such as hires, promotions and retention; qualitative data such as feedback from our employee resource groups; stay and exit interviews; and our annual global opinion survey. We see diversity and inclusion as a journey, not a destination, and we’re in it for the long-term success of our company.
Mohini Kundu is an editorial intern at Diversity Executive magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.