Creating a Supportive Environment for all Employees
McCormick’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion extends beyond our goals relating to women and ethnically diverse talent. In November 2021, a new employee ambassador group was launched. ADAPT stands for Abled and Disabled Associates Partnering Together and aims to reduce the stigma surrounding disabilities, whether visible or non-visible, within the workplace to ensure the company is creating a supportive environment that allows people to thrive, develop, and grow personally and professionally.
Around 15% of the world’s population have been identified by the World Health Organization as disabled, and often face barriers to full social and economic inclusion. We are therefore taking proactive steps to recruit individuals with disabilities to work at our facilities, including Neil Oliver and Oliver Salter, who joined the McCormick team based in Peterborough, England.
Since the opening of the Peterborough manufacturing facility in 2022, the leadership team has worked closely with stakeholders in the local community including from schools, colleges and job centers to deliver the message that employment at the new facility is open to everyone. After attending one of the supply chain open days with a local college, Oliver Salter, who is autistic, wrote to the team expressing his desire to work for the company. “I wanted to try something new,” he said.
Neil Oliver, a single-leg amputee, was being made redundant from his prior company and his outplace support got in touch with Peterborough Plant Manager, Jane Buckley. She invited him to visit the facility to see if it was suitable for him and he decided to apply for a job. “It was a new start for me in a job role that I had not done before,” he explained. “I was concerned at first about how I would adapt in a new workplace but Jane was very encouraging and so I felt a lot more positive.”
The leadership team at the Peterborough facility works hard to foster a feeling of community within their team. In a similar way, McCormick’s EAGs, including ADAPT, provide a supportive network that promotes inclusion. At its core, ADAPT creates a safe space for McCormick employees to educate themselves about disabilities, understand more about how to support colleagues, and learn about resources that are available at McCormick and within our communities. In partnership with McCormick’s DE&I team, ADAPT has facilitated disability awareness training in factories and for the HR and Talent Acquisition functions and hosted two global sessions educating our employees on the topic of “Disability in the Workplace.”
Awareness building has enabled the organization to transform how we define disability. Traditionally, the term has been confined to those with visible, physical disabilities, such as wheelchair users or those with vision impairment, however, in many cases people are impacted by non-visible disabilities, possibly related to illnesses such as cancer or COVID 19’s lingering effects, or mental health challenges. Often employees are afraid to share information about their disability because of past cultural stigmas affiliated with a particular disability dimension. To counter this, McCormick is working hard to foster a welcoming environment where all people feel valued for their skills and contributions. Aside from awareness programs, McCormick encourages employees to share how processes can be improved or modified. For example, in Peterborough, changes were made to the initial changing room design to enable people with physical disabilities to have full access to the site.
“I like coming to work every day, working with my teammates and colleagues, having a laugh and joke, and just doing my job,” said Oliver. “The employees are very friendly,” added Neil, “McCormick cares about their employees and their health and wellbeing.”
McCormick’s focus on inclusion enables us to retain top talent and foster good will within the company and the community. It is just one of the many facets of what makes McCormick such a great place to work.