Whirlpool Corporation's Global Inclusion Week Creates Sense of Belonging for 78,000 Employees Around the World for Third Straight Year

Nov 4, 2021 10:15 AM ET

Everyone wants to work in a place where they feel welcomed, respected, valued and heard. Whirlpool Corporation’s Global Inclusion Week (GIW) aims to teach employees about those four shared values and has the goal of further ingraining them into the corporate culture.

Held this year from Oct. 13-20, Global Inclusion Week is in its third year, and this year it’s more global than ever, reaching all of the other regions where Whirlpool Corp. does business and has operations. All of the company’s eight employee resource groups, some representing the company’s African American employees, LGTBQ+ and other groups across the globe (ERGs) will also participate in the week of “Inclusive Leader” storytelling and panel discussions.

“We will have a big focus on sessions and speakers with facilitated dialogues and activities that are really meant to be easily accessible and applicable for all of our 78,000 employees across the globe,” said Whirlpool Corporation Sr. Director of Global Talent Acquisition and Inclusion & Diversity, Devon Voster.

Formed in 2020, the Executive I&D Council, which Voster leads with CEO and Chairman Marc Bitzer and other executives within the company, is sponsoring the week’s activities. Some of the sessions for employees will also be led by those leaders. Other sessions will be led by outside organizations who are considered to be experts in the I&D space, including HR consultancies Gartner and Catalyst, along with L+C Group and Discover Yourself, who will each play a part in delivering key sessions. For the third consecutive year, Franklin Covey will be returning to deliver a session on Empathy and Curiosity and the impact on Inclusion.
Voster says that they’re going to be speaking and describing how to live the four values in practical, everyday applications. The theme this year is “All in,” and the tagline is “Where we value our similarities as well as our differences.”

“A lot of the things that I’ve heard employees describe throughout COVID has been that there’s a feeling of comfort in the fact that to some degree, we’re all going through a similar experience, but there’s also a lot of uniquenesses to what we’ve each gone through and how it’s impacted us personally and professionally,” said Voster.

The way that people feel welcomed, respected, valued and heard differs depending on the individual, and inclusion week celebrates those differences and validates them at the same time. The outcomes may be the same, but the way in which an individual arrives at those outcomes can differ greatly.

“I’ve never talked to a single human being who doesn’t want to feel welcomed, respected, valued or heard,” said Voster. “Everyone knows the golden rule, which is to treat others the way you want to be treated. But then there’s the platinum rule, which is to treat others the way they want to be treated. That takes a whole new level of knowing a person.”

“Inclusion and Diversity is about meeting people where they are, suspending judgement and trying to relate to others,” said Whirlpool Corporation Chief Human Resources Officer Carey Martin. “Some of these topics can be scary and difficult to talk about for people. Global Inclusion Week will help our employees to feel comfortable and open those lines of communication.”