Living a fulfilled and healthy life is different for each and every one of us. Understanding and embracing those differences for Kohl’s customers, associates, and communities is not just the right thing to do, but critical to driving growth for the organization. We are committed to creating a culture where everyone belongs, where diversity and inclusion drive innovation and business results while enabling associates and customers to be their authentic selves every single day.
Diversity & Inclusion
Committing to Change
To illustrate our investment in diversity and inclusion, Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ pledge in 2019, joining more than 900 leaders from top organizations across the country in an effort to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. Michelle also added her name to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) Region of Choice Corporate Pledge, showcasing our commitment to increase diverse representation in our hometown of Milwaukee.
Everyone Plays a Role
We recognize that we are all rewarded for bringing diversity and inclusion to life, and everyone plays a role. We are committed to attracting, promoting, and retaining diverse associates to embrace new perspectives and inspire innovation across the organization. Leaders are expected to foster an inclusive culture that embraces diversity. Associates are encouraged to use their voice to challenge the status quo, while also listening to and embracing others, regardless of role or differences. This will enable our customers to see themselves in our brand and help the communities, where we live and work, thrive. Our diversity and inclusion work shines through our focus on four pillars: culture, career, commerce, and community.
We are a purpose-led organization, focused on building an inclusive culture where courage and curiosity thrive. We are intentional about creating an environment that fosters belonging by championing, supporting, and embracing a diverse workforce. Our associates are empowered to be at their best and bring their best each day.
Business Resource Groups
We have eight Business Resource Groups (BRGs) with 4,300 members focused on driving business by recognizing and championing diversity and inclusion in its multiple forms. In 2019, we launched three new BRGs to strengthen our connection with different cultures and communities including, Asian Pacific, Black Professionals and diverseAbilities. The BRGs make an impact across the organization with a focus on our four diversity and inclusion pillars. They lead our organization’s cultural celebrations, offer opportunities for diverse talent to grow in their career
with leadership and mentoring opportunities, drive strategy by acting as a key resource to various business
units across the organization, and work directly with nonprofits that connect with their communities.
Unconscious Bias Training
We work to provide learning opportunities for our leaders and associates to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce and engage associates on how that creates a competitive advantage. In 2019, we piloted unconscious bias training to help associates understand and manage their blind spots, and to build stronger connections with colleagues, customers, partners, and our communities. This required training will roll out to all of our leaders in the coming year.
Inclusive Benefit Offerings
As the makeup and needs of the modern family evolve, our products, services, and programs must also transform. We regularly evaluate how our benefit offerings can be more inclusive of the needs of our associates. Based on ongoing assessment and associate feedback, we expanded our benefit offerings in 2019. This expansion included extending parental leave time for child-bearing parents and non-child-bearing parents, which covers surrogacy and associates who are the spouse or domestic partner of child-bearing parents. We also started offering benefit coverage to domestic partners and launched additional childcare benefits.
In 2019, we strengthened our recruiting efforts with a focus on education, training, and sourcing strategies for increasing our diverse talent pipeline. This included expanding campus recruiting to include Historically Black Colleges and Universities and having BRG members act as our representatives at campus events. We also expanded our outreach to student organizations by attending more than 30 diversity-focused events. For the first time in 2019, we attended the Grace Hopper Conference — the largest female tech conference in the world, extending more than 40 job offers to female technologists.
We actively recruit Veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses for a variety of roles. We believe Veterans and military families come from a culture of leading through change, are strongly resilient, and have experience driving performance and results. The importance of these leadership skills led our talent teams to engage with several military bases and partner with Veteran service organizations to help connect service members and their spouses to careers within our organization in 2019.
It’s important that our talent understands our commitment to diversity and inclusion from day one. To ensure this understanding, we have embedded our diversity and inclusion strategy into onboarding for all associates.
Diversity and inclusion efforts need to start at the top. In 2019, we joined the 1% club — the handful of Fortune 500 firms where both the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer are women. We are focused on growing diverse leaders by engaging top and emerging talent in internal and external professional development offerings. Diversity is embedded within our organizational planning for the future, with diversity being a key consideration during succession planning. We are also working to develop inclusive leaders through a program aimed at building awareness and encouraging advocacy.
In 2019, we introduced adaptive clothing with styles available from our three largest, only-at-Kohl’s kids’ brands. With features including abdominal access for medical ports and feeding tubes, sensory-friendly options for better comfort, and wheelchair-friendly options for ease of wear, the new adaptive clothing is thoughtfully designed and strives to make stylish, quality apparel accessible to all.
A group of parents within our organization, whose families include someone with a disability or complex medical need, helped to inform the development of the adaptive clothing line. Members of our product development, design, and technical design teams worked to understand these unique needs and create beneficial products that help meet them. Our hospital partners also helped to test and review the products.
A military discount was strongly advocated for by members of the Veterans BRG. We introduced Military Mondays in 2019, offering a 15% discount for active and former military personnel, Veterans, and their families. The discount is valid year-round, every Monday when customers show a valid Military ID at the point of purchase in store.
Your Community is Our Community
In the summer of 2019, customers were able to shop an assortment of vibrant Pride- and Americana-themed tees for the family that celebrated our communities. Coinciding with the launch of the Family Fun tees collections, donations of $100,000 were made to both The Trevor Project and the United Service Organizations to support each nonprofit’s life-changing mission.
Each of our BRGs is allotted funding to donate to a cause of the group’s choice. Associates in #PrideAtKohls forged a long-standing partnership with Courage MKE, an inspirational nonprofit that provides resources and a support system for LGBTQ+ youth. #PrideAtKohls members devoted nearly 400 hours in 2019 to assist Courage MKE in opening the Courage House, a home where LGBTQ+ youth can feel respected and valued for who they are while receiving the skills and resources they need to thrive. Through the Kohl’s Volunteer Program, the BRG was able to give more than just a helping hand, as we also donated $10,000 in volunteer rewards to Courage MKE.