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Ecolab welcomes you!

I'm back in the job market, having just resigned from a company whose ethical problems were too numerous and systematic for me to avoid complicity. If you have any openings where you work, please let me know.

Anyway, I just applied for a sales management position at a company by the name of Ecolab. I should have read their website first. They're really into diversity and inclusion. Here's a list of their "associate affinity groups":


At Ecolab, we believe that the success of our associates and the success of our company go hand-in-hand. We are committed to a culture that fully leverages our associates' talents by promoting an environment where all people can make a difference, be heard, be supported, be developed, and be rewarded for their contributions.

Ecolab values the energy, ideas and ultimate success that diversity brings to our industry, our company and the global community we serve.

We have established associate affinity groups to create communities within our company, including:

BRIDGES is an associate network focused on generational understanding. Our mission is to provide advocacy and leadership to encourage mutual support and high-performing teams across generations of Ecolab associates, our business partners and our communities. Our focus is on promoting generational understanding as it relates to work style, management style, rewards/recognition, workplace etiquette, communication style, development needs, recruiting and retention, and knowledge transfer.

E3 provides a resource for Ecolab women that encourages personal and career fulfillment through individual mentoring, focused skill set training, community involvement and group camaraderie.

EcoEssence: Connect, Communicate, Advocate
EcoEssence will provide thought leadership on issues that are important to all employees but specifically those of African descent. We will engage the Ecolab organization on issues related to identifying, hiring, on-boarding, developing, advancing and retaining associates of African descent now and in the future.

EcoMondo is an inclusive international business and social network open to any Ecolab associate with international interests. Our mission is to support Ecolab's growth through the integration and development of global talent and the promotion of cultural diversity and global talent mobility.

HACER provides advocacy and leadership to encourage the growth and development of all Ecolab associates and business partners, particularly those of Hispanic/Latino decent. Its mission is to support Ecolab's growth particularly within the Hispanic/Latino segment as the demographic base of the US is shifting rapidly.

PRIDE is a formal organization for Ecolab associates who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or allies of the GLBT community. The PRIDE mission is to offer support and visibility within and beyond Ecolab and to provide an official point of contact between its members and Ecolab, including external GLBT organizations. PRIDE is open to all Ecolab associates.

Communities of Practice are groups of Ecolab associates with similar interests who meet for the purpose of sharing ideas.

The Finance and Accounting Network fosters functional understanding and knowledge sharing while providing networking opportunities.

Capture the Voice of the Customer: Understand the needs of our customers in order to help them achieve their desired outcomes.
Create Innovative Solutions: Develop and launch compelling new products and services that differentiate Ecolab from competitors and meet the needs of customers. Champion Growth and Strategy: Lead the development of strategic growth plans that will enable Ecolab to achieve aggressive growth targets.

The Professional Leadership Administrative Network works to ensure that Administrative Professionals have the tools, skills, and relationships they need to build successful careers and to gain recognition as experts in providing administrative support at Ecolab.

Ecolab supports and encourages diversity in its workforce by recruiting and hiring the best people - without regard to race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or background - to represent the company.

Ecolab currently partners with the following organizations and colleges:

College of St. Catherine, Center for Sales Innovation for Women Sales Professionals
INROADS, an organization that develops and places talented minority youth in business
and industry
MANRRS - Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources & Related Sciences
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
St. Thomas University, Black MBA Multicultural Forum
National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA)
National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH)
Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), Showcase of Stars

Sounds like a diversity huckster's paradise, doesn't it? Not that I'm expecting a response from the HR manager, but if by some horrible mistake she (it's always a she) calls me in for an interview, I think I'll go just to have a little fun with her ...

Comments (16)


You are a brave man to resign in this economic climate brother, I will pray that you manage to find ethical employment soon.

I do wish you well in the job hunt. Remember what I told you years ago: radio.

Where's the EcoFundies group??

Ecolab's 'mission statement' - if that's the right description - is beyond parody. Maybe it was generated by one of the jargon engines you can find on the internet?

This is typical in the corporate world. My company has "affinity groups." African, Hispanic, Asian, gay, ..... etc.

Is this like some corporate sanctioned balkinization?

If these "affinity groups" aren't emblazoned on a corporation's website and scrupulously adhered to, either Obama will send his goons after them or someone like Al will sue them.

The other day, with little prompting, a friend who works in a large municipality's waterworks recounted to me his boss' ludicrous hiring standards: given a very high-quality applicant and a borderline candidate who was "diverse," the department would pick the diverse candidate.

Water health and safety is a civilization-critical area. My friend's story, and others like it, make me wonder whether we're on the road to a communist-style economic collapse where ideology trumps basic common sense. We're only a few decades into diversity maximization. What else can happen?

However, these affinity groups Jeff C. lists surely have some economically productive function.

Lawsuit proofing is one possible function. Government grants and contracts (and subcontracts) also have built-in diversity requirements, so these groups ensure compliance and greater influx of money. It's a patronage system where the patron-client links are less explicit.

But these aren't productive in themselves.

Group/company cohesion and outreach to neglected markets and talent pools are the only economic incentives I see for diversity groups. Affinity group members network with counterparts in other companies, government, and NGOs also help generate job leads and government favoritism.

But are they worth the cost? How many companies have gone under because they can't play the diversity game?

Other questions: how many affinity groups can our society mandate businesses recognize before we start running into unsustainable economic waste or disastrous investment policies? Is there a lot of ruin in a nation? Are these affinity groups one reason why companies outsource jobs?

Funny you shd. say that, Bill. I've had the privilege of hearing Jeff C.'s voice a few times and thought it was a great voice. Can't tell you that I definitely thought "radio," but I wish I had.

That's sad. I think it used to be a good little company. My mom was a home kitchen tester back in the 60s. We tested Jet-Dry back before most people even had dishwashers.

I should have read their website first. They're really into diversity and inclusion.

Well then, they should be perfectly happy to double or even treble their diversity by hiring a traditional(ist?) Catholic.

This is pretty standard stuff, in fact I'm only surpised by its relative mutedness. The company (large S&P 500) for which I work, is quite a bit more gushy about how inclusive they are. But it's all just PR, getting on in the current Zeitgeist. If it were politically and financially expedient to support Pinochet tomorrow, most of the corporate world would be just fine and dandy with that too.

Jack: Thanks so much for the kindness of your prayers. It may be more foolishness than courage on my part ...

Bill and Lydia: Radio would be a dream job. Much too late for me!

Steve: I suppose it is pretty standard. Several sources claim that 90% of Fortune 500 companies have these "affinity groups" in place. 20% employ "diversity officers". I find it all nauseating and can't imagine working for any of these companies in a sales capacity, in which I have to sell them as the greatest thing since sliced bread. But, hey, three cheers for capitalism just the same!

My BS detector is buzzing big time! No way you applied to that company.

I concur with the others that not only do you have a great voice for radio, you have a lot to say. I don't know how it works, but may be you could start doing podcasts and parlay that into a radio career. I wouldn't say it's too late. Prayers your way!

Brad: It's true. I try to go as far as possible with "the system". Maybe it's desperation on my part. I'd be willing to give Ecolab a shot so long as it wasn't in sales, marketing, or HR. But chances are that it's miserable there for anyone who isn't "diverse" enough for them.

Jim: Very generous of you to say this about radio. I was an amateur radio operator for 10 years in my youth and perhaps I picked up a "radio voice" in the process. I've often been told this over the years. Interestingly, people are saying the same thing about my oldest son. By the way, I enjoyed your "agrarianism isn't just for hippies" article! When I grow up I want to be you.

Think twice about Ecolab, great Company but with regard to ethics, they take the ostrich Approach

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