February 2, 2020
Becca JohnsonStaff Writer
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black people in America, past and present. This February, Best Buy is proud to highlight the central role its black employees, leaders and vendors play in writing the next chapter of the company, our communities and the tech industry.
Diversity and inclusion is not just a trendy corporate buzzword. At Best Buy, it is an intentional journey the company has committed to at all levels, from our corporate campus to local stores and distribution centers.
Maintaining an inclusive culture that values everyone’s talents, life experiences and backgrounds is critical to our company.
“We are better when each and every member of our team – our family – can bring their full and beautifully unique selves to work and feel like they’re accepted and even embraced for who they are,” said Kamy Scarlett, chief human resources officer and president of U.S. retail stores. “Our goal is to make sure everyone can find joy in our differences and build bridges to understanding rather than stand behind walls of ignorance.”
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) play a vital role in our diversity and inclusion efforts. These groups bring employees with shared life experiences or characteristics together to focus on recruitment and advancement of underrepresented employee populations
The Black Employee Resource Group (BERG) aims to create a workforce that represents its diverse customer base. Members meet regularly to build community, network, provide development opportunities and uplift one another.
“We listen to our members and what matters to them,” said BERG chair, Marcus Hill. “What we’re hearing is that we need to hire and retain more black employees and see them rise to leadership roles.”
BERG executive sponsor and incoming Chief Diversity Officer, Mark Irvin, said that active listening is key to enhancing the culture at Best Buy.
“I’m extremely proud of the commitment of our BERG team and leaders across the company that are truly leaning into making Best Buy a great place to learn and grow,” he said.
Diversity is also good for business. It helps spur greater innovation, revenue growth and strategic, critical thinking.
“It is so important to have black and other diverse talent ingrained in all levels of Best Buy,” said Amelia Hardy, a senior director and BERG leader. “That is the only way we can accurately reflect our customers and authentically represent their perspectives.”
Best Buy has a robust mentorship program that supports the growth of diverse talent by matching employees at our corporate campus with mentors across the organization to help with career development. Additionally, we offer reverse mentorships that connect executives with diverse employees at lower levels to provide opportunities to learn about different perspectives and life experiences in a safe environment.
“I know it’s tough to be the only black person on a team or in an office,” said Jaiah Kamara, a BERG leader. “But with such supportive leadership, I do feel empowered to pay it forward and provide skills to those looking to move up in their careers.”
In 2019, Best Buy sponsored 40 black employees to attend the Executive Leadership Conference (ELC) in Washington, D.C. The event’s goal is to increase the number of black leaders on the top 500 corporate boards and in their CEO offices and to keep the pipeline behind them full of the next generation of leaders.
“I was extremely excited that Best Buy invested in us by having us attend the ELC,” said Delphanie Daniels, another BERG leader. “It’s such a powerful event. We also got reassurance from leaders that representation will be addressed through recruitment, retention and promotion. As a black Best Buy employee, that was very encouraging.”
Best Buy is also intentional about hiring diverse candidates, and those efforts begin with youth.
Our Teen Tech Centers prepare teens from underserved communities for tech-reliant careers. These centers offer safe, after-school learning environments equipped with cutting-edge technology and run by trained staff. We currently have 33 Teen Tech Centers operating across the country, with a goal of 60 open or identified by the end of this year.
Best Buy also has a corporate work-study program that employs local high school students of color to give them workforce experience. Many of the students on campus are mentored by BERG members.
Best Buy also holds numerous on-campus hiring events and uses a variety of marketing materials, including email, online and print advertising to recruit Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students and recent grads for internships and post-graduation opportunities. For these efforts, we currently rank No. 11 on the HBCU Connect’s list of the Top 50 Employers for HBCU Students and Graduates.
“We want to recruit the best and brightest people,” Marcus said. “And for employees who are already here, we will provide them with unwavering support.”
To learn more about working at Best Buy, check out our careers page.
Celebrate Black History Month with accessories and movies, available exclusively at BestBuy.com.