Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

 

Bake for Good via @kingarthurflour

Here at King Arthur Baking, we have always believed that everyone deserves equal access to the joy of baking. We strive to ensure that our values are reflected in all that we do. To maintain and extend a history of putting community, our employee-owners, and the planet first, we must also address the social injustices that challenge those very values. We have committed ourselves to this work not out of obligation, but because it’s ingrained in who we are as a company. We recognize that the work of fostering an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion will never end; there will always be more humbling, difficult, and meaningful work to do. And we’ll rise to the challenge time and time again — because it’s our responsibility to break down barriers that hinder access to baking, a universal craft that has the power to unite people from all walks of life.

In June of 2020, we made a promise to become better, more effective partners to those who experience injustice and marginalization in our country. We defined our intentions and took preliminary steps towards advocating for racial justice in our country. As these intentions turned to actions, we made the decision to share our ongoing work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion with the greater community. Here are a few of the actions we’ve taken so far:

  1. Internally, we have attended and shared takeaways from workshops focused on implicit bias in the workplace.
  2. We have created a new $200,000 fund to support organizations working to address inequality and to change the systems which continue to fail our communities.
  3. With the goal of building more diverse partnerships, we have started researching bakeries and farms that are owned and run primarily by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals.
  4. We have engaged outside expertise with extensive experience in cultural proficiency and social justice to help guide and assist us on this journey towards diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  5. Internally, we have formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, part of whose purpose is to steer the broader King Arthur community towards learning resources and opportunities.
  6. We are updating hiring practices to attract greater diversity among candidates, embracing a philosophy of recruiting for culture add rather than culture fit. We seek individuals who share our mission and vision, and who also bring an aspect of diversity that positively contributes to our workforce.
  7. Our social media and content platforms are also playing a role as we actively diversify our roster of influencers, promotional partners, and blog contributors, so that BIPOC communities are better represented and validated in the baking world.

In a world where real change requires real action, we will continue to hold ourselves accountable to our intentions and promises, keeping you in the know along the way. The injustices that plague our country — and our entire world — will not go away overnight, but by integrating social advocacy into our company’s values, we are using the tools we have as a business to fight for change.

We have more changes to make and plenty of next steps to take. This is only the beginning of our work towards true equity, diversity, and inclusion here at King Arthur Baking. Everyone deserves access to the joy of baking and an equitable seat at the round table.

— Employee Owners, King Arthur Baking Company

Why our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Here at King Arthur Baking, we have always believed that everyone deserves equal access to the joy of baking. We strive to ensure that our values are reflected in all that we do. To maintain and extend our history of putting community, employee-owners, and the planet first, we must also address the social injustices that challenge those very values. We have committed ourselves to this work not out of obligation, but because it’s ingrained in who we are as a company. We recognize that the work of fostering an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion will never end; there will always be more humbling, difficult, and meaningful work to do. And we’ll rise to the challenge time and time again — because it’s our responsibility to break down barriers that hinder access to baking, a universal craft that has the power to unite people from all walks of life.

We’re starting by making changes that ensure we’re providing a workplace environment that prioritizes fairness, equal opportunity, and which better reflects the wonderful diversity of our baking community. As a nationally recognized and trusted brand, we have a responsibility to direct resources and expertise toward these goals out in the community.

How are members for King Arthur’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team chosen?

Most positive, large-scale, integrated changes come to fruition through collaboration, which is why we created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team comprised of King Arthur Baking employee-owners. This group was assembled over the course of several weeks with many members having expressed interest in lending their voices to the conversation. Some chose to join as representatives of a marginalized community and others were selected because of their related roles within the company. Every participant is passionate, engaged, and motivated to create change at King Arthur Baking and beyond.

In addition to forming a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, we’re working with outside consultants who have extensive experience in cultural proficiency and social justice to help guide and assist us on this journey.

How does this focus affect King Arthur’s hiring practices?

Our hiring philosophy is to recruit for culture add rather than culture fit. Our team pursues individuals who share our mission and vision, and who also bring an aspect of diversity that positively contributes to our workforce.

There have been several key updates to our hiring practices that are driven by the desire to attract greater diversity among candidates. The first being that King Arthur utilizes a job posting tool that spreads our openings to a possible 20,000 job sites, including those which are well-known, niche sites, and those whose primary focus is diverse candidates. This increases the chances of openings to be seen and pursued. Additionally, each job description is reviewed for implicit bias, gendered terms, and to ensure educational requirements fairly match the role prior to posting. 

These transformations within our hiring process don’t conclude our work in this area. We’ll be refining the process and adding features as we move forward.

What trainings has the King Arthur team undergone recently?

CQ Strategies conducted an Implicit and Institutional Bias training with our senior leaders. The training began in November 2019 and ran through February 2020. This training covered an introduction to cultural competency; personal and social identities; implicit and institutional bias and intersectionality; and power, privilege and racism in the past and present.

Race Forward will conduct training for our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team beginning in September 2020. In this training, the team will start building a clear understanding of critical concepts such as racial equity and structural racism. They'll also learn to talk about race constructively within our organization and with other constituents. The group will gain tools and learn practices for counteracting racial bias in our work.

We will continue to build on this framework of training for our entire workforce, with a focus on companywide Cultural Competency Education.

How will King Arthur be distributing its $200k fund?

In June, we pledged $200,000 to support organizations working to address inequality and change the systems which continue to fail members of our communities. That pledge was closely followed by an update that we’d selected the first two recipients of the fund: The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Equal Justice Initiative.

Much of the fund total remains and will be distributed over the course of our fiscal year which ends June 30th, 2021. With a renewed focus on our identity as a baking company, we’re now looking to our communities and the fields in which we possess expertise, where we believe our efforts will have the most impact: food, bakeries, and farming. These are environments in which much work is needed and they’re the primary way for us to direct resources and offer increased support for the BIPOC community, including this fund. This page will be updated to identify new recipients following their selection.

What is King Arthur doing to diversify voices in its baking content?

We’re expanding our network of social media, video, and blog contributors to feature a broader range of voices, perspectives, backgrounds, and areas of expertise, prioritizing those historically excluded from the food media landscape including BIPOC and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Working with these partners, we seek to publish content that reflects the vibrant inspiring, and diverse world of baking.

With guidance from resources that help us recognize, disrupt, and avoid tokenization in food media, we’re actively working to publish content in solidarity with BIPOC partners while preventing allyship whose purpose is to optically benefit us. We take responsibility as content gatekeepers to create a more just and equitable publishing landscape.

A key component of this work is ensuring that the influencers and partners we hire receive equal or greater rates of pay compared to past and current partners. They’re encouraged to share their backgrounds, identities, and cultural heritages with our audiences.

Where can I learn about future updates on progress?

You can find updates on our progress via this page, which we’ll be updating as we make progress in these efforts. We’ll also be providing periodic updates via some of our communication channels (such as social media) in order to maintain focus and accountability on this important work.

Is King Arthur aligning itself with a political candidate or party?

Our employee-owners embody different beliefs and political affiliations. As a company, we don’t endorse any specific parties or candidates. Collectively, we firmly embrace the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’re committed to furthering its cause regardless of the political environment.