- Cosmetic retail giant Sephora announced Thursday it will close its stores, distribution centers and corporate offices the morning of June 5 to hold an inclusion training workshop. The company said in an email that it wants to "begin a dialogue" with its 16,000 U.S. employees on D&I's value to the organization and is planning future training sessions.
- Sephora also announced its new brand platform and tagline, "We Belong to Something Beautiful." The company said that later this summer and fall, it will launch a marketing campaign featuring different stories on "belonging and inclusion within the world of beauty."
- Sephora released the following statement as part of its new D&I marketing initiative: "Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences. We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included."
This is not Sephora's first D&I-related move. In 2017, the company cast its own employees as models for a marketing campaign focused on diversity.
Its current plan may sound familiar for another reason. Starbucks held a similar all-staff, half-day anti-bias training session following a high-profile incident in which of one its employees called police on two African-American patrons whom she accused of tresspassing in a Philadelphia shop. The company publicly took responsibility for the employee's actions, issued an apology to the two men and held the training session in an attempt to avoid future racially-charged incidents.
Starbucks earned praise from experts for its steps, with some suggesting it created a benchmark by which all future employer responses will be measured. While mass closures won't be an option for all businesses, it's more about signaling a willingness to take an issue seriously, and putting resources into finding a solution, Maurice Schweitzer, a professor of management and operations, information and decisions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, previously told HR Dive.
Moreover, addressing racism and discrimination as an employer is a continuous process, but under HR's leadership, companies can build cultures of inclusion to ensure all workers feel valued.