We do not tolerate harassment or discrimination, and we expect Associates to treat each other with dignity and respect. These expectations are reinforced to all Associates in the TJX Global Code of Conduct. In addition, learning about our inclusive culture begins almost right away for our new Associates. In 2018, we piloted a global new hire orientation program that included a video and supporting materials discussing our approach to inclusion and our Welcome, Valued, and Engaged mission. We are currently rolling this program out more broadly and are excited to be able to deliver a unified message across the Company that lets our new hires know that inclusion and diversity are parts of our culture that we truly value.
In addition to our global efforts, many inclusion-related activities vary among the countries in which we operate. Below are examples of our initiatives.
In the U.S., store managers have a tool called “Culture Pulse” available to them. Culture Pulse helps store teams gauge performance in the areas of customer engagement and in their connections with each other. This year, over 190,000 U.S. Store Associates also participated in an unconscious bias training, designed to raise awareness of unintentional biases and provide the knowledge and tools needed to identify and mitigate them. Raising awareness of unintentional bias is woven throughout our operations including onboarding, store communications, learning tools, and more. We also have external partnerships to help build cultural acumen and provide development opportunities for our Associates. Learn more.
Our policies and practices also reflect our philosophy of inclusion. For example, prior to nationwide recognition of same-sex marriage in the U.S., TJX offered benefits to same-sex domestic partners who did not have access to marriage. Today, we are pleased that our benefits program provides benefits to same-sex married Associates and their spouses. Our benefits program also provides transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits and related healthcare services. We are proud to have scored a 100 on the Corporate Equality Index of the U.S.-based Human Rights Campaign in nine of the past 12 years and earned the highest ranking in the Human Rights Campaign’s “Buying for Workplace Equality” guide. Additionally, we have updated our dress code policy to make it more gender-neutral; we have an enhanced parental leave policy; and, to help promote pay equity, we do not ask job applicants about their salary history as part of the hiring process.
In Canada, in an effort to inspire, motivate, and reinforce Associate morale, TJX stores run The JOY Project, a customer service and Associate engagement initiative. This effort works to build strong connections between managers, Associates, and customers, and recognizes behaviors that mirror important aspects of our culture. In Canada, we also offer programs, such as “A Winning Balance,” to help Associates better understand their teams and be more effective leaders.
In Europe, we are investing in additional training related to inclusion and diversity, designed to continue to foster a creative, inclusive, respectful, and productive workforce.
An important part of the process is to continue to seek feedback from a broad range of Associates. We have focus groups across our organization to drive deeper insight into the day to day experience of working with us. We have also introduced an Inclusion and Diversity group made up of Associates from across our business with the aim of understanding experiences from diverse backgrounds and differing operational perspectives. The insights from these groups continue to help inform the development of our strategic initiatives, processes and policies, and actions we may consider in the future.
In addition, we are developing a partnership with Everywoman, which works with organizations to enhance the potential of women. We are focusing initially on our Processing Centers and working on career development with both women and men.
We are passionate about continuing to provide attractive and accessible opportunities throughout our organization for Associates to fulfill their potential. We will continue to work on solutions that build on our existing Associate engagement program to support the needs of our diverse Associate population.