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Shaping Diverse and Inclusive Teams at Kohler

Shaping Diverse and Inclusive Teams at Kohler

Published 11-30-23

Submitted by Kohler

AJ Hubbard,  Sr. Director – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In 2022 we created a new executive role to  strengthen our focus around DEI and to lead efforts to deliver upon our commitments.

Originally published in Kohler's 2022 Believing in Better Impact Report

Kohler is stronger and more innovative when we nurture what makes each of us unique, allowing everyone to bring their best self to work and achieve their highest potential.

We believe in a safe and welcoming workplace where hate and discrimination have no place—ever. We treat one another with dignity and respect and are building diverse teams that reflect our customers and communities around the world. Our Code of Ethical Conduct reinforces our commitment to fairness and providing equal opportunity in all employment-related processes and programs, because it’s the right thing to do.

Our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs are managed at a senior-management level through the Executive Leadership Diversity Board (ELDB), chaired by our Chair & CEO and composed of the Kohler Leadership team and key senior leaders. The ELDB implements our DEI programs and monitors our progress toward DEI goals focused around four pillars.

“At Kohler, we believe in the collective power of diversity. To challenge what’s possible and dare to be bold, we draw from each other’s differences to become more. We believe together we can make life better for our associates, our customers, and the communities around the world. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are where innovation begins—and creating for the future starts with empowering people who are as diverse as the world around us.”

AJ Hubbard, Sr. Director – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

"The company cares about its employees and works hard to ensure engagement and a strong sense of belonging. As a company, Kohler has something for everyone—BRGs, speaker series, access to LinkedIn Learning courses, cultural celebrations, opportunities for connection, encouragement of engagement/team building activities.”

Associate comment from our 2022 Engagement Survey

Info graphic. Four quadrants "Balanced Teams, Inclusive Culture, New Markets, Diverse Suppliers."


Kohler Business Resource Groups (BRGs) play a vital role in our DEI work at Kohler. Led by the passion of our associates, BRGs are made up of like-minded individuals from across the business and are expanding around the world. While inherently diverse, each BRG is united under a common purpose: to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Kohler BRGs enrich our culture and build community—all while making a business impact. Examples of BRG business impact include the development of recruitment and retention initiatives, business partnerships, and feedback offering meaningful cultural insights to help us see around corners. In addition, BRGs contribute to our culture through ongoing educational and training opportunities, discussion panels, featured speakers, events honoring various heritages and days of observance, and stewardship opportunities supporting the communities where we live and work.

In 2022 we established two new BRGs: Asian Resources of Kohler (ARK) and BOLD Ability.

1,527 BRG members in 2022

“ I want society to see that my impediment doesn’t block me from being an active member and that we are all equal. I do feel like I belong at Kohler. I don’t feel isolated or left out. They give me equal access.” 

Ashley Schrubbe, Assistant CAD Design Analyst

Each of our BRGs is led by a senior Kohler leader who serves as a liaison to Kohler management and a champion for the group. In 2022 the BRG leaders all completed our Inclusive Leader Training to better equip them to support our BRG members and associates.

  • ARK – Asian Resources of Kohler
  • BLK Catalyst – Black Support Organization
  • BOLD Ability – Associates With Disabilities and Their Allies
  • HeadsUP – Mental Health Advocates
  • KAVS – Kohler Alliance of Veterans and Supporters
  • Kohler PROUD – LGBTQIA+ Associates and Allies
  • Namaste – Indian Culture and Diversity Supporters
  • VIVA Kohler – Latino Associates and Supporters
  • Women@Work – Female Associates and Their Allies
  • YPK – Young Professionals of Kohler
Info Graphic "Workforce Representation" a pie chart with US Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and two bar graphs:  Global Associate Gender Diversity, 2020–2022, U.S. Associate Gender Diversity, 2020–2022.


Partnering with our KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates business, the Kohler PROUD BRG developed Facets of Love, a limitededition collection of rainbow chocolates available during Pride Month. Proceeds from every Facets of Love Pride Collection purchase were donated to PFLAG, an organization dedicated to help build and support a safer and more inclusive environment for family, friends, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.


Kohler continues to improve our corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQIA+ workplace equality. In our latest recognition from the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) administered by the Human Rights Campaign, we received 90 out of 100 points, earning the highest ratings for our work on antidiscrimination policies, benefits for same-sex spouses and transgender people, and respectful workplace training. The rating is a testament to the work of our associate-led BRG, Kohler PROUD, which continues to promote an inclusive organization by identifying opportunities for representation of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Kohler is pleased to share the addition of gender affirming care and domestic partner coverage which was put into place on January 1.

Collage of three photos of BRGs at Kohler


The Kohler Reynosa, Mexico, plant created the first lactation room within all Kohler Latin America plants in 2022. This project was endorsed by the facility’s top leaders and now offers nursing mothers an opportunity to breastfeed comfortably in a private and peaceful space while in the office. Open to all women, this lactation room will help offer a better work-life balance for our associates.


In 2022 over 1,000 women from across the globe, along with their male and nonbinary allies, came together for the premier Kohler Women’s Leadership Summit, an inclusive forum to promote the professional and personal growth of women. The event was proposed by a group of women from the BLK Catalyst BRG and later led by a team of Kohler associates from various BRGs to ensure representation and perspectives from all groups. The summit included a curated lineup of speakers in dialogue with Laura Kohler, along with seminars, results-driven tools, and networking events. The event included the following workshops, designed to empower women to achieve their full potential so they can lead boldly at work and in their communities:

  • The Role of Authenticity in Creativity
  • Staying Positive in Challenging Times
  • Showing Up Authentically
  • Ask for More: Strategic Negotiation for Professionals

“This week is the Kohler Women’s Leadership Summit. So much vulnerability in these women speakers, information, inspiration. This company never ceases to amaze me in the amount of support and learning offered. I’ve always said I cannot work for a company that isn’t diverse in culture and thinking.” 

Christine Budz, International Sales Coordinator, Participant in the Women’s Leadership Summit

Collage of four pictures of different BRG groups at Kohler.

Global Women’s Leadership Summit

28 speakers presented on topics to promote professional and personal growth of women

>1K women attended the premier Kohler Women’s Leadership Summit

17 countries represented at the virtual summit


In 2022 Kohler launched a DEI training module called Inclusive Leader Training as part of our Bold Leader Development Series program. Approximately 160 people leaders attended the training during the year, which will continue to be given to all U.S.-based people leaders through 2024. The four-hour, in-person training session includes robust action planning, meaningful discussions, opportunities for reflection, thought-provoking videos, and case study exercises designed to expose bias, educate on microaggressions, and inspire change.


Listening to our associates and acting on their feedback is a critical part of our overall workplace culture strategy. Continuing to stay connected to our associates, especially when tragedy of any kind happens, is what supports an inclusive culture. After the hate-related shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2022, Kohler’s DEI team and Kohler PROUD BRG, in partnership with our employee assistance program, conducted a listening session, inviting all associates to join the call and share how they were coping with the event. Kohler leaders offered support for associates, and participants discussed ways to respond to associate needs.

Women's Leadership Summit Leadership Panel Discussion: Profiles of seven people. "Showing up authentically & how to do so successfully.


Holding Ourselves Accountable

Kohler Co.’s global pay philosophy, principles, and consistent implementation produce fair and equitable pay for our associates. We analyze pay equity by comparing associates in the same job category, job grade, and location in major countries of operation. We use the data to identify potential adjustments to be incorporated into our annual performance and compensation review process, which ensures pay equity across different groups.

Pay Equity Around the World

We seek to ensure associates of different genders are paid the same for similar job responsibilities, and our practices are creating gender pay-equity across the globe. In 2022 we completed a pay-equity analysis in our largest locations, covering almost 90% of Kohler associates globally. Our audit confirmed that we do not have systemic pay differences across gender or across both gender and ethnicity in the United States. We know that we have work to do to ensure equity within compensation in all countries of operation and are continually expanding our pay-equity audits to new markets. We’re also focused on eliminating bias, increasing transparency in pay practices, and ensuring objectivity in rewarding compensation for our associates.

Read the full 2022 Kohler Believing in Better Impact Report here.

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