The Home Depot: A Conversation with Chief Diversity Officer Derek Bottoms

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) within organizations leads to increased innovation, higher performance and a competitive business advantage, according to studies by the Harvard Business Review and McKinsey & Company. At The Home Depot, diversity efforts ensure the needs of diverse associates and customers align with the foundation of the company culture: core values.  

Derek Bottoms, chief diversity officer and vice president of associate relations, shares his thoughts on the expanded DEI focus. 

We are a values-based organization, and our values have always guided our business decisions and the way we treat each other. For The Home Depot, diversity has always been important. The highlight on social injustice in 2020 created a fierce urgency, and that reinforced our focus on supporting diversity, equity and inclusion among our associates, communities and suppliers. 

Our expanded focus on diversity, equity and inclusion is centered around three key areas: our associates, our community partnerships and supplier diversity. Our convictions, capabilities and tools enable our people and our company to make a lasting difference.  

For our associates, our team is working cross-functionally on initiatives including development and training; associate resource group (ARG) and diversity business council programming; discussions with subject matter experts on driving inclusivity; and recruiting and talent planning strategies designed to eliminate bias.  

Through our partnerships with community organizations focusing on arts, housing, education and entrepreneurship, we are striving to play our part in helping close the wealth gap and advancing education for all.    

And we are expanding our supplier diversity program, which we believe ultimately drives innovation, economic opportunities and shareholder value.  

We’re expanding our associate resource groups and diversity business councils to include and engage more associates, growing the programs from our Store Support Center to our stores and supply chain facilities.  

We also launched a Tier II supplier diversity program to create more economic opportunities for diverse businesses, including our existing supplier partners. Here’s how that can make a difference. Our Tier I suppliers are those who we spend with directly. Those dollars that begin with The Home Depot go on to fuel our suppliers’ spending with other companies. Encouraging our suppliers to spend with diverse businesses, and tracking that spending, is the essence of the Tier II supplier diversity program that we’re developing.  

Through this program, we’ll work to better ensure that a portion of the money we spend on products and services, even with suppliers that are not diverse, makes its way to diverse businesses.  

To hear more from Derek Bottoms, listen to his Give Me an H podcast interview. To learn about our DEI efforts, read our 2021 ESG Report.  

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