Inclusion & Diversity
At COS, we're building a future we want to see, and we’re committed to Inclusion and Diversity in everything we do.
Inclusion embraces a variety of differences, and we push for greater representation to ensure that our workplaces are a place we want to be a part of. Championing diversity leads to innovation and creativity and increases our ability to change. Our strategy should be not only reflected in the teams we recruit, who represent the world around us, but also our customers and collections.
To us, inclusion means diversity in action – it's not just a value but a verb. Diversity is the mix of people while inclusion is about actively advocating for that mix and taking tangible steps that lead to meaningful and lasting change. In an inclusive and diverse environment, everyone can contribute to making great business decisions and team performance by reflecting, respecting and relating to our colleagues, customers and communities. There are many definitions of inclusion and diversity — and here at COS, we want to embrace them all.
Firstly, we advocate inclusion and we celebrate diversity. We ensure that each employee feels welcome and respected; we believe when this happens, our colleagues can achieve their full potential. But it’s not just our employees who benefit; multiple perspectives also help to show the diversity of the COS community, helping us better to meet our customers’ needs.
At COS, we believe we stand much to gain from recognising and celebrating our differences. Diversity is about more than just our backgrounds, it encompasses everything about us.
We are committed to implementing a long-term plan to make our brand more inclusive and diverse, and we start by listening and learning. To uphold our commitments, we have created an internal Inclusion and Diversity Work Group Forum. The team lobbies and advocates for the changes needed to ensure our vision is fully realised. With colleagues from across the world, this group provides diverse perspectives and drives greater awareness of the changes needed. The group meets regularly with each function in the workplace, to foster understanding of inclusion and diversity. All members of this group were transparently recruited and are compensated for this additional responsibility.
To further our understanding of inclusion and diversity, we offer constant guidance to our employees. Our educational programs start on day one, with mandatory training for new hires. Each employee undertakes Unconscious Bias training, and “Layers Education”; a collaborative workshop that brings together the layered differences, perspectives and experiences of our employees. Those in leadership roles are given additional inclusion and diversity training.
Embracing difference means uplifting other voices. Our Monthly Guest Speaker Series welcomes keynote figures to speak to our colleagues on matters of inclusion and diversity. In the past we have welcomed expert speakers including Samantha Renke, Harnam Kaur, Kai Deveraux Lawson and Salma El-Wardany.
Above all, we value feedback. This is at the forefront of our working culture, and guidance is given to all employees on how to deliver this effectively.
Our goal at COS is to represent the diversity we value. Our recruitment strategy is driven by our values, and our candidate process is designed to give equal opportunities to all. We’re proud to set the bar high; we are committed to recruiting great people, and offering an environment where talent is recognised and valued.
We are a global and multicultural brand which encompasses more than 40 markets around the world in which we operate. We believe that a diverse workforce plays an important role in our success and we are committed to upholding our inclusion and diversity policies through our recruitment strategy.
We work with a number of collaborative partners to make the recruitment process more accessible and reduce bias. These include:
Recite Me; a toolbar that allows users to customise the COS careers website for greater accessibility and ease of use.
Be Applied; software for unbiased hiring.
We respect the human rights of our employees and our customers. Our policies are aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and our business activities are shaped with respect for human rights at the forefront and training on these issues is provided.
We do not tolerate discrimination, harassment or any other improper conduct in our workplaces, including any behaviours that are unwanted, unreasonable or offensive. Our policies aim to ensure our company culture is free from this kind of conduct.
In the rare case that an impropriety arises, our global grievance policy aims to ensure that all employees have access to an effective procedure for the handling of violation of our human rights policies. This procedure is localised in accordance with applicable legislation.
We understand that speaking truth to power can be hard. That’s why we’ve provided our employees with a reporting channel, Speak Up, which can be used should any serious improprieties occur.
What we do at COS is also part of a wider vision. Together, the H&M group is working towards change. Explore our standards and policies here.
Employee data must be handled with utmost sensitivity and in line with the local laws of the markets in which we operate. Our ambition to best serve the diversity in our teams today and set meaningful goals for the future, is to measure the diversity of our organisation. We are investigating the collection and use of data submitted voluntarily and anonymously to create an overview of the demographics of our brand employees. This data will be continuously analysed so that we can identify measures to improve our inclusion and diversity strategy. We plan to set targets based on this data to improve diversity through recruitment and development.
We recognise that transparency and accountability of our employee representation is key to improvement, but at the same time aware of the sensitivity of these matters. We will approach the sharing of such statistics with incredible caution and in dialogue with our colleagues.
The United States is one of the few countries that we operate in where employee data that relates to diversity is collected. Whilst this by no means represents all elements of diversity, you can see our employee demographic data for the United States, here
Our voices are stronger together. We know we have a part to play in realising meaningful and lasting change, and that is why we have a long-term plan to make our brand more inclusive and diverse for our customers, colleagues and community. We are focused on our ethical standards as a business and we celebrate inclusion and diversity through our ongoing campaigns and partnerships.
Over the last year we have partnered with charities and organisations that support communities across the COS world including The Trevor Project, Kaleidoscope Foundation, Loveland, The Black Curriculum, Black Rainbow, OutlineNZ, and the Red Cross. This has provided a great place to start building long-term partnerships, as we develop our Community Investment framework.
In order to fully realise our inclusion and diversity strategy, we work with several other companies to inform our work, including:
Creative Equals; a not-for-profit consultancy that helps organisations to develop their working culture and unlock the potential for innovation, creativity and better customer experiences.
The Unstereotype Alliance; an initiative convened by UN Women, seeks to end gender discrimination against women in the media and advertising content.
Black in Fashion Council; a forum that works together with brands to adopt racially inclusive policies and secure the advancement of Black individuals in the fashion and beauty industries.