Diversity approach might help Packers hang on to key employees

Richard Ryman
Green Bay Press-Gazette
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GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers envisioned a 12-member Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee made up of employees. They had to settle for 21.

The committee is one of the ways the Packers are incorporating diversity internally, along with diversity handbooks, updated policies and programs, and individual development initiatives.  

The Packers asked employees to tell management why they wanted to be on the committee and the responses were so good, it was decided more members had to be included, said Nicole Ledvina, vice president of human resources. 

"There are just a lot of varying backgrounds in our organization. We have a lot of people who come from out of state and bring fresh perspective," Ledvina said.

The Packers want to build an internal culture where diversity and inclusion are a given and all employees can prepare for bigger roles.

The team's strategic diversity plan focuses on people, culture and community.

The committee will build on what's been accomplished so far and keep the initiative moving forward. It will not be a quick process, Ledvina said. 

A Green Bay Packers helmet.

"When we put together the strategic plan, we realized this wasn’t going to be all crossed off our list in one year. We want to be realistic with balancing our other work," she said.

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Moving up in the organization can be a challenge because turnover in management ranks does not often happen. The team identifies high-potential employees annually for special attention. 

"With having lower turnover, there might not be that next position to move to, but we want to keep them interested and provide training in directions we might not have thought of," Ledvina said. "We have provided character and excellence training for our high-potential employees. We have a program we call Thrive at 1264 that focuses on many different offerings."

Staff development training opportunities include internal leadership-development programs, online resources, professional development and continuing education. Still, Ledvina acknowledges that limited job turnover in management positions can make it "a trickier conversation with people who want to move up," she said.

Sometimes advancement may come with another NFL team, whether it's for long-time employees or newer ones. Interns might not get a full-time job with the Packers, but the team nonetheless wants to prepare them to be successful with other professional sports teams. 

"I think we are really training for the sports industry. We want them to succeed and it’s great when we hear so-and-so was hired by a different team. We’ve had that a lot," Ledvina said. 

The team can get as many as 200 applications for a single intern opening.

Ways to keep employees include providing a better work/life balance, opportunities to be engaged in the community and new challenges in their jobs.

Family leave opportunities for male employees is one example of how inclusion reaches an audience that traditionally was not taken into account.

"When it comes to things like inclusion and employees having the resources they need, we also are looking at flexibility with work schedules," Ledvina said. "'And trying to really make sure we are looking at what's important to each individual."

Contact Richard Ryman at (920) 431-8342 or rryman@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at  @rrymanPG or  on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardRymanPG/

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