Increasing Equity at Bon Appétit
At Bon Appétit Management Company, we are embarking on a journey to disrupt bias and dismantle covert racism that may unintentionally be entrenched in our systems.
Research has demonstrated that there is evidence of structural racism in many systems in the United States. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Additional studies have shown that organizations can reflect the same structural inequities that exist in society, despite intentions to do the opposite.6 Further, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT), and women-owned businesses have long been disadvantaged by structural racism, sexism, and prejudice in our society.7, 8, 9 This has been even further amplified by COVID-19.10, 11, 12 We believe this growing body of evidence is significant and requires action. It is vital to our culture and to the future of our company to ensure that equity is proactively woven into our policies and practices and structural racism is dismantled.
We have long strived to build an inclusive culture in which our employees feel like they belong and where their unique backgrounds, talents, skills, and abilities are valued. We have longstanding policies for equal employment opportunity; a well-articulated goal of cultural authenticity supported by training and guidance; a commitment to small and non-traditional suppliers; and training programs designed to build and maintain a diverse and inclusive culture. We now know we must go further. It is not enough to not express racism, we must become an anti-racist organization. We cannot simply try to do the right thing by having a well-written policy enforced by passive good intent, we must actively pursue equitable results. Rooting out the unconscious biases in our systems is essential to begin breaking down structural inequities.
We are currently focusing on four primary categories of action: disrupting bias; strengthening diversity and equity in hiring and promotions; supplier diversity; and community and communication. Measurement of progress is also essential. We are employing a powerful data analytics tool, Visier, to capture and review data about hiring, performance evaluations, and promotions. We intend to use this data to measure equity, inform future practices, and report on progress.
We understand that disrupting systemic racism is ongoing work that must be supported with formal policies, measurement and response, and a true commitment by all individuals to dismantle harmful systems. While the goal is clear, the path is difficult and bound to be fraught with challenges, discomfort, and, in some cases, missteps. This is not a reason to avoid this journey. Bon Appétit has always been a company that values social responsibility and is willing to disrupt the status quo. We have never faced a more critical societal change. While we don’t expect change to be easy it is undeniably necessary.