Over the past few months, many companies have become more attentive to their diversity practices and are working internally to create a more socially conscious environment.
Recently, KFC named John Mays as its first director of equity and inclusion to “help position the brand as an industry leader,” reports Forbes.
This position is new in many companies as Black Americans are demanding that corporations, which largely benefit from the Black dollar, speak out on issues that affect the Black community.
While Forbes reports that — from 2018 to 2019 — there has been a 30 percent increase in diversity and inclusion corporate positions, Mays says it’s important for companies to take an internal look at how they fit into the space of racial justice and equality.
“The movement that is going on, it is evident that things are never going to be the way they were before and companies need to refocus and rethink about who they are,” Mays said, according to Forbes.“For us, we realized we needed to do better in formalizing our commitments and push ourselves to be a leader in that space. Nobody is intentionally part of the problem, but now we’re seeing more people intentionally want to be part of the solution. That is why we’re saying this is important.”
An example of KFC’s need for internal evaluation was a tasteless ad that ran in Trinidad and Tobago for Emancipation Day depicting a chicken drumstick’s shadow as the Black Power fist.
KFC’s parent company, Yum, was one of the corporations to pledge to do better in wake of the Black Lives Matter movement with a five-year, $100 million commitment to “tackle inequality,” reports Forbes.
KFC also independently pledged its own $1 million donation to national justice initiatives, launched a diversity and inclusion president’s advisory council, and hosts virtual town halls, discussions, and roundtables on diversity and inclusion.
Mays said their next area of improvement is to ensure there are more Black-owned franchises in the “franchise family.”
“They are part of this culture and want to be a part of this culture, where guests know they’re accepted and franchisees and team members are represented. They understand that everybody has a seat at the table,” he said. “They know the return will always come back when you do the right thing for people. And as we continue to grow our brand into the future, this work and this movement will be an integral part of the continued success of our brand.”