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Hershey diversification of workforce results in improved recruiting and employee retention


Hershey opens first Spanish and English-speaking plant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania resulting in improved retention and reduced recruitment cost.

Hershey diversification of workforce results in improved recruiting and employee retention
Hershey Company has announced the opening of its first bilingual manufacturing facility. The Hershey plant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania now integrates both Spanish and English-speaking employees thanks to the launch of the company's 'Say Hola' initiative.

The transformation improves Hershey's employee experience and ensures an accessible and equitable work environment. The program, which has been in place for nearly a year, has enabled the hiring of a more experienced workforce, improved retention, and reduced recruitment costs. 'Say Hola' advances Hershey's community commitments while emphasising enterprise-wide DEI priorities, career development programs, and enhanced care systems and employee rewards.

“At the frontline of our business, our manufacturing employees make what we do possible and are a driving force behind our recent supply chain investments,” said Jason Reiman, SVP, Chief Supply Chain Officer.

'Say Hola' comes before a slew of new and improved employee support programs that will go live in 2023, including expanded parental leave, new training and development opportunities, and local community outreach.

“By delivering exceptional and inclusive experiences for employees, their families and the greater communities, we are doubling down on our legacy commitment to ensure Hershey is a top workplace for manufacturing workers so that people can grow within our company.”

Hazleton's Hispanic population has increased rapidly over the last 20 years, rising from 5% to more than 60%. Recognizing an opportunity to evolve its approach and create programmes that lead with inclusivity, Hershey launched this initiative to provide employees with the tools and resources they need to succeed, regardless of their primary language. 'Say Hola' is part of Hershey's larger people-first manufacturing strategy and is a direct reflection of the diverse, rapidly changing demographics of the local community.

Hershey is seeing an increase in employee retention and highly experienced individuals applying for positions since launching 'Say Hola' and opening its doors to the changing Hazleton community. Indeed, more than 90% of the facility's recruitment classes now have the desired manufacturing experience, compared to 50% prior to programme launch. The community's enthusiasm for the bilingual plant, as well as word-of-mouth awareness, has reduced recruitment costs.

Hershey's investment in the Hazleton facility reflects founder Milton Hershey's legacy and community-building efforts, and the company has a history of doing the right thing for its communities.

The opportunity to make internal changes to grow alongside Hazleton and position the 50-year-old manufacturing facility as a mirror of the community was welcomed.

Hershey accomplishes this by:
  • conducting trainings in both English and Spanish • producing all signs, labels, and forms in both Spanish and English.
  • Ensures that bilingual employees and resources are available on the floor to assist with communication, and has implemented a 24-hour 1-800 number for assistance.
Hershey's collaboration with its Latino Business Resource Group (LBRG) was critical in the conception, planning, and execution of the 'Say Hola' initiative. The LBRG remains heavily involved as Hershey builds and implements the programme. Hershey will continue to use key learnings from its first multilingual pilot programme to advance its people-first manufacturing vision and support its overall DEI roadmap.

“The ‘Say Hola’ initiative showcases Hershey’s commitment to our people and the communities in which we live and work – both on a local and global scale,” said Alicia Petross, Chief Diversity Officer.

“‘Say Hola’ has accelerated the diversity of our workforce – a key element of our DEI roadmap – and provided upskilling, improved recruiting and retention and most importantly, the program fosters a workplace that looks more like the communities our colleagues live in.”

Hershey was named No. 6 on DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity earlier this year, and No. 9 on the Top Companies for Latino Executives list. Latino executives and board members at the candy and snack company are frequently recognized in publications such as Latino Leaders Magazine.