Gretchen Stroud is the Senior Vice-President of Talent &
Inclusion at Hilton
How important is it for an individual to be “out” at work?
At Hilton, we know diversity is a fact – it’s who we are and who we serve. Inclusion, however, is a choice and, naturally, it’s rooted in our values of hospitality. It’s through true inclusion that we foster greater equity and belonging.
We recognise that being “out” in the workplace is a personal decision and we also understand that it can take significant strength and courage for many LGBTQ+ people to “come out” to their colleagues. At Hilton we strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where Team Members can bring and be their authentic selves at work. Ultimately, our differences are something we all have in common and what make us collectively better.
There are clear benefits to all employers in creating a work environment in which members of the LGBTQ+ community feel comfortable being “out” at work. We know that if a Team Member feels able to bring their whole self to work, their satisfaction increases, which in turn positively affects levels of engagement, productivity, reduces levels of staff turnover and increases talent attraction.
What is Hilton doing to promote diversity in the workplace?
As a global company operating in 119 countries and territories around the world, diversity has been in our DNA for more than a century. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made to advance issues of diversity and inclusion, and we humbly acknowledge that there is still much more work to be done.
While we have internally been holding ourselves accountable to diversity metrics for a number of years, we recently took an important step forward, sharing bold gender and ethnic diversity commitments to advance representation at a corporate leadership level. Specifically, we announced a commitment to achieve global gender parity and 25% ethnic diversity at corporate leadership level in the US by 2027.These commitments are specific to ethnicity and gender – two areas where we know there is much work to be done and where we have mapped out specific pathways to achieve progress in the coming years.
We believe these are important areas where progress is needed but they are not the only facets of diversity on which we focus. We have a holistic approach to diversity to ensure that we have a broad representation for all Team Members. We have always defined diversity broadly – not only looking at race, ethnicity and gender, but also background, generations, abilities, sexual orientation and the many other attributes that make up who we are collectively.
One of the many ways we do this work is through our nine Team Member Resource Groups, (TMRGs), which bring together groups of Team Members to share experiences, support and contribute to personal development in the work environment and practice allyship within their communities and across our TMRG network. Our TMRGs, including the Pride TMRG, Women’s TMRG, and Black TMRG, among others, are one of the ways we make our culture more inclusive.
We activate around the principles of culture, talent and marketplace; focusing on driving engagement and inclusivity, developing diverse talent pipelines and leveraging the unique backgrounds and perspectives of our TMRG members to help inform our business strategies. We also look to all of our TMRGs to bolster Team Member engagement, provide feedback on critical issues and help us think about how to address the needs of our diverse community of Team Members and guests.
Our TMRGs also bring educational opportunities to our broader workforce, engaging Team Members in open discussions on challenging subjects, such as “Coming Out In The Workplace”, ”Prioritising Inclusive Language” and “Leading With Authenticity”. It’s these stories and conversations that really demonstrate the progress we’ve made in encouraging authenticity, vulnerability, allyship and advocacy.
Which three words best describe Hilton?
Hospitality, integrity, inclusive.