Staples' commitment to inclusion and diversity stems from our recognition that being a successful company requires people with a range of backgrounds and diverse perspectives. We know that differences in age, race, gender, gender identity, nationality, sexual orientation, physical ability, background and thinking style allow us to be more innovative as a company. We believe that attracting, developing and retaining an associate base that reflects the diversity of our customers is essential to our success. Our diverse workforce and network of suppliers strengthen relationships with our customers and give us the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing global marketplace. At Staples, we recognize that, at every level, the best performance will come from people who understand and appreciate this commitment.
At Staples, we embrace and promote inclusion and diversity. We know how important it is for all associates to feel valued for who they are. We're continually evolving our inclusive company culture by celebrating associates' similarities and differences. We strive to create an environment in which the diversity of our workforce allows for diversity of ideas, so that all associates have the opportunity to be unique and innovative in their contributions.
But our commitment to diversity does not end with our associates. As we aim to provide every product a business needs to succeed, we also strive to strengthen the relationships we have within the diverse markets we serve and with the global suppliers and vendors with whom we do business.
I am proud of the progress we've made over the years and look forward to continuing our journey toward becoming an even more inclusive and diverse organization.
Chairman and CEO
March 27, 2013
In order to ensure that we're effectively managing for diversity at Staples, we have set up structures and functions to oversee and guide our diversity activities. We are focused on attracting and retaining diverse associates across our global operations, specifically with regard to gender and minority diversity in our management and executive ranks. Day to day, our diversity programs and initiatives are managed by the Director of Global Inclusion & Diversity, who reports to the Senior Vice President of Human Resources. Additionally, our Global Diversity Council, created in 2010 and comprised of 15 dedicated, cross-functional associates, helps guide our company diversity strategies. The Council is chaired by Staples Chairman and CEO Ron Sargent, further highlighting our strong commitment to inclusion and diversity. As part of our systematic approach to increasing diversity, we have established processes to track our current performance and to identify areas of particular opportunity or concern. In the United States, for example, we monitor our progress on a quarterly basis using five key metrics for minorities and women, including:
We distribute a diversity scorecard reflecting these five metrics, broken down by functional areas and business units, to senior business leaders and the Global Diversity Council. The scorecard findings help shape our recruiting and retention strategy throughout the year.
In addition to tracking current performance and taking action in response to trends and opportunities, we proactively incorporate a focus on diversity and inclusion in Staples' training activities. We emphasize inclusion and diversity in programs ranging from New Hire Orientation – required of all new associates – to Staples LearningXchange programs, which help prepare managers and senior leaders to manage effectively in today's diverse workplaces.
Staples is always looking to improve our diversity outreach and spirit of inclusion. To that end, we are focused on:
Our workforce diversity strategy in 2012 was centered on creating greater opportunities for inclusion in the workplace. This strategy tactically focused our efforts in three key areas:
For years, Staples has shown its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Yet in many parts of our organization, associates may have been unaware of the wonderful work and tremendous accomplishments we”ve made in this area. To create greater awareness, we developed a robust communication plan to educate/re-educate our associates about the Staples definition of diversity and inclusion. We strongly believe that diversity is no longer just a nice-to-have, but a business imperative. We shared our business case with our associate population – recounting many of our successes but also being candid about the challenges we face. Our call to action for increasing the spirit of inclusion at Staples has resulted in the greatest number of associates personally engaged in our efforts than ever before in our company”s history.
Our new Values rollout also highlighted the sense of personal accountability to help build a more inclusive and diverse environment. A great online awareness workshop was developed by our Learning and Development team and will now become a required course in our new hire onboarding program.
Taking the time to "tell our story" has paid dividends beyond our expectations. People are talking about diversity, and that”s a great thing!
One specific awareness initiative is our "Business Woman of the Year" contests, which are intended to recognize and appreciate the talented women at Staples who positively impact our company, our customers and our communities. As well as focusing on leadership development for all our associates, we are conducting initiatives such as this to help address the current under-representation of females in management. Staples expanded on the very successful gender diversity initiative first launched in Australia and New Zealand in 2010 to include the U.S. and Canada. The program has been a great success for all female participants and has contributed to an increase of women in leadership roles.
Staples associates in Argentina spent a day working for a cause they deeply care about: empowering those with disabilities. For this event Staples partnered with CILSA, an organization working for the inclusion of people with disabilities who face financial hardships. More than 40 Staples associates, including Ewan McCulloch, Vice President HR, hosted an educational day and helped in giving away 35 wheelchairs.
Throughout the day, associates welcomed the beneficiaries and their families, delivered the wheelchairs, and participated in the training workshops, during which CILSA explained the rights of persons with disabilities. The day concluded with a speech from a Director in Staples Argentina, Carlos Nielsen, and with a performance from the renowned Argentine singer-songwriter Coti Sorokin.
Staples Argentina's commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities began more than four years ago, with the hiring of blind people to the sales force, and with the recent hiring of people with intellectual disabilities to Staples stores. These important steps help to make Staples more diverse and dynamic.
Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) are a formal community of committed associates who support Staples business results, our global diversity strategy, community involvement and associate engagement. ARGs are a tremendous asset for any associate seeking to develop strong networks and hone their professional skills. At the same time, these communities provide a mechanism for Staples to more deeply engage with associates and, in turn, increase the retention rates of diverse employees. ARGs also serve as important tools for the business, helping Staples to gain insights into our diverse customer segments. ARGs offer members mentoring, skill development and internal and external networking opportunities. Group members themselves identify, select and pursue those activities they view as priorities.
Proudly, Staples grew our ARG network from eight chapters to twelve. In addition to these chapter expansions, we created and launched internal community pages and email lists that allow any associate the ability to join the ARG(s) of their choice, regardless of work location. This remote access was a huge win for us in our effort to have a more inclusive workplace. In addition to the existing ARGs listed below, we plan to launch a Military Veterans ARG in 2013 and continue to launch chapters in various locations throughout the world.
Women Who Lead (Women) – U.S. (Massachusetts, Florida), Canada
Out At Work (LGBT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies) – U.S. (Massachusetts)
BlackTies (Black and/or African American) – U.S. (Massachusetts)
HOLA (Hispanic or Latino) – U.S. (Massachusetts, California)
SPARC (Asian and Pan-Asian) – U.S. (Massachusetts)
Gender Balance – the Netherlands
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, HOLA (Hispanic or Latino Associates) held several events that celebrated Hispanic culture, raised awareness and supported Staples® diversity and inclusion efforts. The month kicked off with a cultural fair where HOLA members educated fellow associates about their respective countries. It was a lively, colorful day filled with historical facts, native attire, local cuisine and loads of fun!
HOLA also hosted a viewing of HBO's documentary The Latino List, which consisted of 16 short interviews featuring successful and prominent Latinos ranging from Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Eva Longoria. The film is an "ongoing exploration of who we are, where we come from and what it means to be a Latino in the United States today," says narrator and interviewer Maria Hinojosa (source: HBO Latino).
Hispanic Heritage Month concluded with a live Latin band, Curubande, playing salsa and merengue for all to enjoy. Many HOLA members led by HOLA's own salsa instructor, Daniel Narcisse, conducted a live salsa dancing demo for all attendees to enjoy!
The Women Who Lead Resource Group held their third annual clothing drive to benefit the Dress for Success organization in which associates had the opportunity to clean out their closets for a great cause, network with colleagues, and get some great bargains on women's business clothing. Many took advantage of Clarins beauty experts on site offering mini-makeovers.
The successful event raised nearly $3,000 and more than 1,200 pieces of clothing to benefit Dress for Success. As a result of the great effort and response, Staples received the Ultimate Drive Award: demonstrating exceptional commitment to volunteerism by helping with a special project or ongoing activity for Dress for Success Worcester. Staples is proud of the great work by our Women Who Lead Associate Resource Group.
In an effort to promote a more inclusive work environment, associates throughout Central Florida gathered in the Maitland Telesales Center to kick off the One Staples Career Day.
This collaborative event provided an internal knowledge exchange and networking opportunity for 70+ associates from our various business units. Throughout the morning, these associates rotated throughout the business unit stations and gained a deeper understanding of the vast opportunities available within Staples. The feedback was phenomenal. One associate wrote:
"It was almost even motivational to see how many different options we have for advancement within the company. It was nice to see the different areas we have throughout the building and Orlando area, and find out what they actually do. It was also nice to meet people you see every day in the building and don't know what they do."
A dedicated group of BlackTies associates spearheaded Staples' efforts to help feed people in their own backyard. Working at the Worcester County Food Bank in Shrewsbury, MA, this team loaded over three pallets of food that were shipped to various shelters and food pantries to help feed those in need.
Since that first visit, Staples has had over 120 associates from across all departments volunteer on a monthly basis. One associate commented, "We know that taking care of those in our community is the right thing to do — these people are our neighbors, our customers and, in some cases, our families."
Staples is proud that our diverse ARG teams are dedicated to bringing value to the communities in which we work and live.
In 2012, SPARC hosted its second annual Lunar New Year and Diwali (The Festival of Lights) Celebrations at the Home Office in Framingham, MA. Held in late January, the Lunar New Year Celebration featured a traditional lion dance performance as well as a martial arts demonstration. The Diwali Celebration took place in early November and treated the audience to a Bollywood-style “dance drama” by the SPARC Young Professionals Dance Troupe, a children's dance performance by the SPARC Kidz Dance Troupe, and a vocal performance of various songs from India. Both events were very well-received and attendance was high.
Staples believes that mentoring relationships create a better company-wide understanding of diversity issues and expose leaders and associates alike to new ways of thinking and acting. Staples has grown the number of associates involved in mentoring relationships exponentially over the past year. We’ve expanded our program, which originally paired senior leaders with high-performing female and ethnically or racially diverse associates, to now be more inclusive of other associates committed to personal and professional development. Our formal program, Mentoring Made Easy, began development in 2012 and will roll out officially in 2013. It supports our retention and engagement strategies as well as providing a vehicle to develop our internal capabilities, cultural competence and leadership skills.
In addition to Mentoring Made Easy, Staples International will continue our Women’s Mentoring Program aimed at assisting women in mid-management move up in the organization by overcoming any barriers that might exist when progressing into more senior management positions.
In 2012, Staples International continued the International Women’s Mentoring Program, aimed at allowing our associates new development opportunities with the support of mentors from our senior management team. 15 women participated in the initial test launch of the program in 2011, whose success saw the program continue through 2012 with a further 15 female associates taking part. One of the central aims of the program is to assist women in mid-management move up in the organization and overcome any barriers that might exist when progressing into the higher management positions of the company. By helping mentees to perform within our current working culture and practices, we hope to increase the number of women at the top of Staples and be more representative of our customers and society as a whole, thus producing a more dynamic working culture for the future. By allowing our senior management team to work closely with women mentees and develop emerging talent, we also create a better company-wide understanding of diversity issues and expose management to new ways of thinking and acting.
Staples is a member of and supports a wide range of diversity-focused professional organizations. For example, we have been a member of the MetroWest Alliance for Workforce Diversity (MAWD), an organization local to our Massachusetts headquarters, for seven years.
As part of its activities, MAWD:
One of our Human Resources associates currently serves on the MAWD’s board of directors, and we have hosted MAWD meetings and supported its diversity job fairs and other events.
Staples also has an ongoing relationship with Simmons College for Women in Boston, MA. Staples associates regularly attend professional development conferences and other events for working women at the College.
In addition, through our partnership with Bottom Line, a Boston-based organization that helps disadvantaged youth get into and graduate from college, Staples participates in and sponsors various events including career fairs and mock interviews. In addition, a member of Staples’ recruiting team serves on an advisory board for the organization. We have also established a process for considering Bottom Line students for employment in our stores.
Much of Staples’ and Staples Foundation’s philanthropy is dedicated to disadvantaged youth, regardless of ethnicity, but with a special emphasis on diverse populations, including
We believe that strengthening diverse businesses contributes to the overall economic success in the communities where we live and work. The mission of our Diversity Supplier Program is to collaborate with diverse businesses to reduce supply chain costs and to increase revenues by bringing superior products to market.
By including and supporting diverse businesses in our supply chain, we create jobs, opportunity and growth for the diverse customers and communities we serve.
In 2012, Staples spent over $303 million with small and diverse vendors and the Staples Supplier Diversity program continued to engage with diverse suppliers, organizations and the larger community in several ways.
Staples is also an active supporter of national and regional organizations that promote minority- and woman-owned business development and is a corporate member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and Board Member of Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), WEConnect Canada and Diversity Information Resources (DIR).
Staples” business-to-business Supplier Diversity Program aims to help our customers achieve their corporate diversity goals while enabling the growth of small, minority- and woman-owned businesses in our communities. We strive to create vendor–buyer relationships that allow diverse organizations to continue to develop, while offering our customers a wider selection of quality products at competitive prices.
Staples offers products manufactured by diverse vendors through our Staples® Advantage Catalog and Web site. A key feature of our program is the assortment of office products available through Diversity Products Solutions (DPS) by Staples. DPS is Staples' own-brand line of products manufactured by diverse suppliers that offers our customers a unique opportunity to meet their diversity and environmental purchasing goals, while supporting the growth of small, minority- and women-owned businesses.
To learn more, please visit our Supplier Diversity Web site.
In Australia, we are committed to helping Indigenous suppliers distribute their products. For example, Staples offers Indigenous-owned print management services, as well as a range of corporate gifts and canteen products, from other suppliers certified by Supply Nation (www.supplynation.org.au).
Going beyond supporting supplier diversity in our product offerings, in late 2010 we launched a program to help address the social and economic disadvantages faced by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Through a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), we are solidifying our commitment to integrating awareness and understanding of Indigenous peoples and cultures into our business practices in Australia.
In 2012 we launched our second RAP and our Indigenous Employment Strategy. The strategy is about finding and creating opportunities to introduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into real vacancies and encourages applications for genuine permanent positions.