By Montserrat Cataldi


The Coca-Cola Company is a beverage retailer, manufacturer, and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The company offers more than 500 brands in over 200 countries. Globally, The Coca-Cola Company is the number 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices, and ready-to-drink coffees.

From one iconic drink, The Coca-Cola company has evolved into a total beverage company that people around the world can enjoy.

The world’s first Coca-Cola was served on May, 1886. Back then, it was used as a medicine to boost people’s energy. As of December 31st, 2018, the company employed about 62,600 associates worldwide. Established in Atlanta, Georgia, Coca-Cola is recognized as the world’s most valuable brand and is often associated with happiness. As a matter of fact, the red and white Coca Cola logo is recognized by 94% of the world’s population.

Vision, Purpose, and Values

The Coca-Cola Company’s purpose is to “Refresh the world. Make a difference.”

Since 1886, their purpose has guided their growth and actions, which can be noted through the multiple ways the company supports communities around the globe. The Coca-Cola Company strives to do the right thing by: helping to provide clean water access, supporting package recycling, empowering women, and caring for their communities. They strive for a better shared future for their communities, their customers, their shareholders, their employees, and the world.

Furthermore, The Coca-Cola Company’s vision is “To craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. And done in ways that create a more sustainable business and better shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities and our planet.”

The Coca-Cola Company's mission and values displayed with the company's branding
The Coca-Cola’s Company mission and corporate values

A Unique Culture

The Coca-Cola Company’s culture empowers employees to stay true to their values and stand up for what they believe in. The company embodies values such as caring, sharing, connecting, integrity, and excellence.

At Coca-Cola, employees share one company, one team, and one passion. When people join the company, they enjoy an environment where ideas are free to find expression, relationships are valued, and joy is expanded.

Some behaviors that guide their everyday are:

  • Being curious: Exploring, understanding, connecting, imagining, and wondering about how it could be better or different.
  • Empowered: They take accountability, and they take action.
  • Inclusive: They draw on the fact that they have diverse network of employees to improve their ideas.
  • Agile: They focus on learning how to respond to this fast-moving world.

Diversity and Inclusion

The Coca-Cola Company is committed to diversity and inclusion. The company feels that their size and influence give them a greater responsibility to serve as a role model for other organizations by championing diversity and inclusion both inside and outside their system. They strive to cultivate inclusive workplaces that are free from discrimination or harassment.

According to Coca-Cola’s Human Rights Report, the basis for recruitment, hiring, placement, development, training, compensation, and advancement at the company are qualifications, performance, skills and experience.

The Coca-Cola Company has developed a vision, mission, and strategic pillars to frame their diversity and inclusion efforts:

  • Vision: “Be as inclusive and diverse as our brands, unleashing the power of perspectives within our associates to drive innovation and sustainable system growth.”
  • Mission: “Mirror the richly diverse markets we serve, capitalizing on our inclusive culture to attract, develop, engage, and retain a global talent mix to fuel our competitive advantage.”
  • Strategic Pillars: Workplace, Marketplace, Communities and partners.

They drive and sustain their diversity efforts by engaging leaders to empower their cultural champions to drive their inclusive culture and by consistently measuring their progress. Coca-Cola established a wide range of monitoring and reporting metrics to ensure fairness in their employment-related decisions and to support their diversity and inclusion initiatives.

A Coca-Cola Company ad displaying its diversity and inclusion efforts and written in both English and Spanish
Coca-Cola’s ads, like the one featured above, aligned with the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts

Coca-Cola’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Lori George Billingsley, The Coca Cola Company’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, leads Coca-Cola’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence, along with the Diversity, Inclusion and Workplace Fairness teams. In an interview, she revealed how Coca-Cola is creating a culture of diversity and inclusion, which will be expanded on below.

When discovering that many people were unclear about Coca-Cola’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs, Billingsley decided that it was time to strategically integrate with Human Resources. The Diversity and Inclusion Department, as Billingsley envisioned, needed to focus on sharing its efforts with Human Resources in order to address areas of opportunity and prepare for the future. To respond, Billingsley landed on four strategic imperatives under the CARE acronym:

  • Create an inclusive environment by engaging diverse talent and influencing recruitment, development, advancement, and retention.
  • Articulate their Diversity & Inclusion progress through proactive communications.
  • Regulate and manage workplace equality, fairness, and
  • Evaluate by creating and updating a systematic set of tools and resources, such as a Diversity and Inclusion assessment they plan to initiate with their business units to identify best practices and opportunities for improvement.

Coca-Cola’s Diversity Goals

The Coca-Cola Company is committed to creating an inclusive environment for their workers. They understand that creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is not only the right thing to do – it is a strategic business priority that fosters greater creativity, innovation, and connection with the communities they serve.

Some of the qualitative goals for its team include a more active engagement to ensure associates’ voices are heard, as the company wants to ensure they are providing development opportunities that make an impact. Furthermore, one of their stated goals, globally, is to be 50 percent led by women.

As company, Coca-Cola aspires to mirror the markets they serve from a female and diverse talent perspective, because they know that when they create an inclusive environment where people can bring their whole selves to work, their business thrives. The company currently has 38% of senior management jobs occupied by women – compared to an average of 6.6% across all other Fortune 500 companies.

Four hands representing different ethnic backgrounds holding a Coca-Cola can
It doesn’t matter your race, age, social class, or gender – Coca-Cola spreads happiness to everyone, everywhere.

What Every Company Can Learn from Them

The Coca-Cola Company’s effort in embracing diversity and inclusion is paying off. The company has been successful at building a strong diversity climate.

The Coca-Cola Company is genuinely committed to a diverse representation. The company has considerable demographic diversity, which is also integrated throughout the organization, at all levels. Coca Cola’s employees of all ethnic backgrounds are proportionally represented within the company’s leadership positions.

At the same time, the company maintains an open, supportive, and responsive environment. Coca-Cola actively solicits feedback from employees related to issues of race, culture, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. That way, the company ensures that their efforts are resulting in the intended consequences. Some of the initiatives that help create a supportive environment within The Coca Cola Company include: The Diversity Councils and Business Resource Groups, as well as having a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

In addition, The Coca Cola Company recognizes that mentoring and support networks for employees from marginalized groups are vital for success. This is why they make mentoring opportunities available for people from all levels of the organizations.

Coca-Cola also purposefully includes elements of diverse cultures in their ongoing operations. The organizational policies and practices within The Coca-Cola Company are carefully monitored to the goals of multiculturalism. Diversity is something the company continuously emphasizes both internally and publicly. The company has written policies, as well as a widely and clearly communicated mission and vision statement which frame the concepts of diversity into a meaningful operational definition. In addition, the company has initiatives such as The Supplier Diversity Policy, that help make Coca-Cola’s commitment stronger.

The company’s authenticity in responding to issues confronting diversity is also paying off. The Coca-Cola Company has a commitment to changing policies and practices that block cultural diversity. For example, The Coca-Cola company’s goal of becoming a reflection of the wider community has resulted in the 50-50% goal of having a proportionate amount of men and women in leadership roles.

Further Diversity Efforts that will Empower Coca-Cola to Reach its Diversity Goals

The Coca-Cola Company is a notorious example of a company that successfully unleashes the benefits of a diverse workforce by fully committing to inclusion. To continue to do this, the company should follow through with their ongoing practices.

Listed below are several ways the company can achieve their 50-50% goal and attract and retain more female workers.

  • Change the word “required” to “suggested” in the job description. That way, the company will have more chances to attract women to the company.
  • Offer truly flexible schedules
  • Offer paternity leave
  • Educate employees about unconscious biases and benevolent sexism, as well as their maladaptive consequences. This should be done at all levels of the organization
  • Ensure women’s voices are heard

The Coca-Cola Company values and celebrates diversity like no other company. Through explicitly stated policies and practices, support initiatives, their responsive environment, and by acting in alignment with their values, The Coca-Cola Company has created a culture that is able to unleash the phenomenal benefits of a diverse workforce. At the same time, through its diversity and inclusion efforts, The Coca-Cola Company is giving voice to those minorities who are often silenced by the privileged and powerful. By giving them an opportunity to prove themselves, Coca-Cola is embracing the change our community so desperately needs. 

A Coca-Cola Company's banner displayed in a city displaying how hate cannot celebrate, but love can to stimulate diversity and inclusion

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

“A Q And A With Lori George Billingsley – News & Articles.” Coca, www.coca-colacompany.com/news/interview-with-lori-george-billingsley.

Anonymous Interview Candidate. “Working at The Coca-Cola Company.” Glassdoor, 9 Apr. 2020, http://www.glassdoor.ca/Overview/Working-at-The-Coca-Cola-Company-EI_IE161.11,32.htm.

Bedford, Emma. “Coca-Cola: Number of Employees 2018.” Statista, 2 Mar. 2020, www.statista.com/statistics/254562/coca-colas-number-of-employees-worldwide/.

Buck, Shari. “4 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Female Talent in Tech.” Entrepreneur, 4 Oct. 2018, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/319697.

“Coca-Cola Lawsuit (Re Racial Discrimination in USA).” Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, 18 Feb. 2014, http://www.business-humanrights.org/en/coca-cola-lawsuit-re-racial-discrimination-in-usa.

“Coca Cola SWOT Analysis 2019: SWOT Analysis of Coca Cola.” Business Strategy Hub, 28 Nov. 2019, bstrategyhub.com/swot-analysis-of-coca-cola-2019-coca-cola-swot-analysis/.

“Company Profile for Coca-Cola.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 18 Nov. 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/companies-list-c-d1.

“Diversity at The Coca-Cola Company.” Comparably, www.comparably.com/companies/the-coca-cola-company/diversity.

“Global Womens Leadership Focused Awareness Womens Empowerment – News & Articles.” Coca, http://www.coca-colacompany.com/news/global-womens-leadership-council-chair-focused-driving-impact-awareness-coca-cola-womens-empowerment-work.

Rogers, Rikki. “5 Ways Companies Can Attract More Women (Aside From Offering to…” The Muse, The Muse, 14 Oct. 2019, www.themuse.com/advice/5-ways-companies-can-attract-more-women-aside-from-offering-to-freeze-their-eggs.

Zillman, Claire. “The Fortune 500 Has More Female CEOs Than Ever Before.” Fortune, Fortune, 16 May 2019, fortune.com/2019/05/16/fortune-500-female-ceos/?utm_source=fortune.com&&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=broadsheet&utm_content=2019051612pm.

“350 The Coca-Cola Company Careers & Jobs.” Zippia, http://www.zippia.com/the-coca-cola-company-careers-11426/.

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