The Home Depot is a staple institution of the business landscape of Atlanta, where the organization has its headquarters. The largest home improvement retailer in the US, the company was founded in 1978 and has been on an upward trajectory ever since, offering individuals, families and businesses across the country access to quality tools, building materials and construction services.
Diversity and inclusion have been fundamental values for Home Depot for the entirety of its more than 40-year existence. Diversity is described by the organization as “the unique set of differences and similarities that our associates, customers and suppliers bring to the Home Depot,” while inclusion is “welcoming and accepting differences,” for that same set of people. Directly linking the diversity of its workforce to that of its customers has allowed the organization to develop an organizational culture where associates of all demographics and backgrounds can appreciate Home Depot and look towards opportunities to develop their professional career with the company, since “an inclusive and respectful environment means all associates can bring their whole selves to work.”
Home Depot is intentional about supporting its diversity and inclusion principles via various initiatives, including a partnership program that pairs Home Depot with a variety of external affinity groups representing various identities or points of view. For example, the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) partnership focuses on recruiting and inclusiveness for Home Depot associates near to or even post-retirement, or gender diversity through a partnership with NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction).
Home Depot places particular emphasis on including individuals and their families currently or previously associated with the US military. This includes both veterans themselves as well as military spouses and families, with Home Depot consistently voted a Top 10 Military Spouse organization, for example. The Home Depot jobs recruitment website goes so far as to have a tool called a Military Skills Translator which allows veterans to plug in their military skill set to learn which available Home Depot job opportunities would be most suitable to their background. Beyond employment itself, the Home Depot spearheads such initiatives as rebuilding veteran homes and community centers.
Home Depot also encourages Associate Resource Groups, where employees are able to meet with and develop communities for LGBT employees, African American employees and Asian employees, for example. The groups share information and resources to help new employees find a community among their co-workers, as well as continually highlight the benefits of a diverse organization to management and customers. The Resource Groups offer benefits such as professional development, awareness activities and community outreach.
Home Depot as well has an internal program dedicated to finding in-store employment and training for cognitively and developmentally-different people, for example, individuals with brain injuries, Down’s syndrome, or autism. This program, called Ken’s Krew, has had remarkable success in placing hundreds of employees in stores. The program trains individuals so they’re prepared to hit the ground running their first day in the store, and doesn’t single them out from other employees; in fact, they’re intentionally treated just like any other employee to allow them to have a normalized professional experience.
Overall, Home Depot is highly intentional in the scope and depth of its initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion, recognizing the business case for having its employees reflect the diversity of its customers. Home Depot actively hires people with many types of backgrounds and builds programs to support them, maintaining diversity and inclusion as core tenets of the company’s values system.