Empower Retirement’s Asian American BRG in action.
Well before the recent nationwide racial-justice protests started, The Civic 50 Colorado were pursuing social equity. This isn’t surprising since these companies were honored for being the most community minded in Colorado. What have these exemplary corporate citizens been doing that the rest of us could learn from? Several of their world-class diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices are listed below.
· Empower Retirement’s DEI efforts start at the top, with a Diversity and Inclusion Council comprised of senior leaders across business units. The Council champions the DEI work and keeps it moving forward. For example, its efforts have spurred 97% of employees to take the internally created "Uncovering Your Bias" course, which explores the types of unconscious bias that can show up in the workplace. Furthermore, the company now has seven business resource groups (BRGs), including the Black Organization for Leadership Development, the Women’s Empowerment Network, Empower Abilities, Aspiring Latinos Moving Ahead, Pride, Voices of Experience Through Service and Network of Asians Making Strides Together at Empower. These BRG’s identify diverse and underrepresented populations for the company to support with monetary donations, organize volunteer events and otherwise help ensure that the company’s charitable efforts are inclusive.
· KeyBank values diversity and inclusion throughout its business, from the employees it hires to the customers its serves. Over the past three years, KeyBank has deployed over $744 million to low-to-moderate income individuals and communities in Colorado through its Community Benefits Plan. This plan is a comprehensive, community and client-focused strategy that guides Key’s community investments.
In 2018, KeyBank Colorado completed a three-year $300,000 investment in the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with the goal of increasing access to education for underrepresented and underserved student populations. KeyBank’s support, however, extends beyond financial donations. For example, Key employees give high school students in the Leeds School’s week-long KeyBank Business Leadership Program feedback on their capstone project and serve as speakers, panelists, coaches and mentors to students through a variety of other programs. Furthermore, Adam Warner, President of Key Equipment Finance, serves on the Leeds School’s Board of Directors.
· S&P Global recently committed to accelerating progress in DEI through the following actions: leading courageous conversations with employees across teams to develop greater understanding around issues of racial justice; expanding their fulltime staff devoted to advancing Diversity & Inclusion; doubling their financial investments in DEI initiatives and Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s); expanding existing inclusion training globally to address bias and microaggressions; and contributing $1 million via the S&P Global Foundation to nonprofit organizations that support equity and racial justice. In 2018, the company added a DEI metric to its strategic goals to track performance and a global DEI council leads and governs all such efforts across the enterprise.
“At S&P Global, we put our people first and we live and demonstrate our core values. That means that we’re not just talking about diversity and inclusion, we believe it to be a critical part of our success and we’re taking action accordingly, in our workplace and in our communities,” said Annette O’Hanlon, Chief Corporate Responsibility & Diversity Officer, S&P Global. “Diversity unlocks opportunity, inclusion drives growth, and together they spark innovation, unleashing potential in each of us, for all of us.”
· TIAA recently launched a program called “Be the Change” focused on stepping up as individuals and as a company to live our company values in the fight for racial justice. Last month TIAA rallied over 1,200 employees to Race Against Racism by challenging employees to virtually race with a colleague of a different color and use that time to discuss what they could do to “Be the Change.” The event raised funds for the Innocence Project, a nonprofit fighting racial injustice.
· Xcel Energy has 10 BRGs’ focused on employee networking, development, community service and recruiting. Furthermore, active listening sessions have been led by the company’s DEI team and the BRG’s to garner employee feedback and create a safe space for dialogue. Following the death of George Floyd, Xcel Energy immediately and publicly condemned the horrific crime as well as the racial inequities that have plagued our communities for so long – including signing a joint statement with 50 executive leaders in Minnesota (where Xcel Energy is headquartered) condemning racism and reaffirming its commitment to the principles of greater equity, diversity and inclusion in its companies and community. A similar collective statement is being drafted here in Colorado and Xcel Energy will be a leading voice on that pledge. Finally, Xcel Energy has a long-standing commitment to supplier diversity and has received numerous awards for its partnerships with diverse suppliers.
In all, 70% of The Civic 50 Colorado companies have long-standing diversity, equity and inclusion programs. There’s a lot of work to be done around social justice in the United States. The Civic 50 Colorado companies appear to be off to a strong start.
Is your company community minded? Apply to The Civic 50 Colorado 2020!
To learn more about The Civic 50 Colorado, read the 2019 research report.
Students from the KeyBank Summer Bridge Program visit Key Equipment Finance to learn about professional opportunities in the financial industry and develop job skills.
Colorado appears to outperform the country in terms of corporate volunteering. Specifically, the companies recognized for being the most community minded in Colorado, The Civic 50 Colorado, involved a 51% of employees in volunteering with community organizations last year. This compares favorably to the 43% of employees that their national counterparts, The Civic 50 US, involved. As would be expected from companies recognized for exceptional community engagement, these rates of volunteering are considerably higher than the 30% overall volunteer rate for Americans.1
Within The Civic 50 Colorado, smaller workplaces lead the way in employee volunteer participation. For example, the Denver Community Credit Union, i-Orthodontics, Prologis, PNC Financial Services and S&P Global, all of which have fewer than 800 Colorado employees, involved over three-quarters of their employees in volunteering last year.
Although many companies responded to COVID-19 restrictions by pausing their employee volunteer programming, The Civic 50 Colorado companies found ways to continue them. For example:
· Denver Community Credit Union employees, for example, baked treats and made cards for nurses at Craig Hospital.
· Despite the necessary postponement of Prologis’ annual day of service, employees of this global logistics real estate leader have been contributing to food drives and nonprofits on the frontlines of the COVID-19 recovery. These efforts include a team of 28 employees and their families sewing 1,660 handmade masks for the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, which is using them for non-clinical staff as well as patients and their family members.
· S&P Global has encouraged virtual volunteerism with its nonprofit grantees and local organizations. For example, Colorado employees have participated in the Bessie’s Hope Staying Connected Initiative, writing cards and letters to seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This volunteering has combated the isolation that the suspension on in-person visits from families and volunteers has generated among nursing home residents. “We’re proud to support our colleagues as they continue to make an impact through virtual volunteerism and use their skills and expertise to make a difference in the lives of others,” says Stacey Queroli, Global Lead, Corporate Responsibility Employee Programs.
In addition to helping to serve more meals, tutor more children and make society more just, companies with high levels of employee volunteering can expect to benefit from higher employee engagement. One study, for example, found that participation in employee
volunteering increased employee engagement, defined as willingness to do more than the job minimally requires, by 20% compared to the control group that did not participate.2 Furthermore, academic studies find that volunteering improves worker happiness and wellbeing.3 As founder of i-Orthodontics, Dr. Anil Idiculla, discovered, volunteering is a good way to “focus on the good that we can do each and every year.”
In other words, it’s smart to involve the majority of workers in volunteering as many The Civic 50 Colorado companies do. Not only does it strengthen the communities where the companies operate, it increases employee engagement, happiness and well being.
Is your company community minded? Apply to The Civic 50 Colorado 2020! To learn more about The Civic 50 Colorado, read the 2019 research report.
It’s going to take business assistance of all types for Colorado to emerge from this pandemic as healthy and strong as possible. We’ve all heard of businesses making monetary donations to the Covid-19 response. This assistance is vital. However, the companies known for being the most community-minded in Colorado, The Civic 50 Colorado, are responding in ways that go beyond cash giving. Many are donating professional skills (what is known as “skills-based volunteering”).
One example is The Civic 50 Colorado honoree Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a national law firm with over 300 employees in Colorado. The Civic 50 Colorado honoree is sharing its expertise with any interested employer trying to navigate the trials and challenges of these times by establishing a website with insights on the legal issues and government response related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Another way to share professional expertise to help with the Covid-19 response is what a managing partner of The Civic 50 Colorado developer East West Partners, Amy Cara, does. She serves on Denver’s Economic Relief and Recovery Council (ERRC) where she provides strategic pandemic recovery recommendations to the Mayor and the city’s executive leadership. Another example of The Civic 50 Colorado donating expertise to the Covid-19 response is the Denver office of the Employers Council, a national membership organization that offers professional services to over 4,000 employers. Employers Council’s President and CEO, Kim Koy, says that, “Employers are facing unique challenges in these unprecedented times.
We have a dedicated page on our website that provides useful information for employers struggling to effectively operate during this time.” A final example of The Civic 50 Colorado honoree using its expertise to combat Covid-19 is Comcast NBCUniversal with over 9,000 employees in Colorado. Its "The More you Know" campaign, established in partnership with the White House, CDC and Health and Human Services, offers videos and graphics in both English and Spanish to help educate people on reducing their risk and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
These and other The Civic 50 Colorado companies don’t contribute their expertise only during global crises. For them, supporting societal causes with skills-based volunteering is standard practice. In fact, The Civic 50 Colorado honorees out-perform their national counterparts (selected for being the most community-minded companies in the country) in skills-based volunteering. Not only do The Civic 50 Colorado employees volunteer more hours per year for community organizations than The Civic 50 National employees (an average of 10.4 versus 7.1 hours) but a higher percentage of their hours are skills-based (35% versus 28%).
Any type of corporate volunteering benefits nonprofit organizations but skills-based volunteering, where employees apply professional skills in support of a cause, is especially valuable. In fact, according to Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP), the monetized value of skills-based volunteering to nonprofits is at least three times higher than extra-hands volunteering such as packing meals or planting trees. Colorado’s exceptional skills-based volunteering, then, is a significant bonus to our communities during Covid-19 and beyond.
To learn more about the practices of The Civic 50 Colorado, read the research report. Also, consider applying to become a 2020 The Civic 50 Colorado honoree.
The companies known for being the most community-minded in Colorado, The Civic 50 Colorado, won’t let a pandemic stop them from contributing to others. The Civic 50 Colorado companies, many of which are affected by the crisis themselves, are finding innovative and sometimes surprising ways to help Colorado respond to the COVID-19 crisis. For example, The Civic 50 Colorado companies are:
Helping healthcare workers overcome vehicle trouble
AAA Colorado, The Civic 50 Colorado honoree, has extended its legendary emergency roadside assistance free to all first responders and healthcare workers traveling to and from their jobs. Thanks to AAA Colorado, any frontline hero with a dead battery or other car trouble gets help gratis and can soon be on their way. Skyler McKinley, director of public affairs for AAA Colorado, says, "In these extraordinary times, we're committed to helping those who are helping Colorado get through this by making sure that they never need to worry about a breakdown."
Keeping nonprofit services operating
GroundFloor Media, a Denver communications firm that is a The Civic 50 Colorado honoree, established a site to help the community support Colorado’s smaller nonprofits that may need assistance during this volatile time. Opportunities to contribute are updated daily and can include distributing food, volunteering remotely, making an in-kind donation or providing corporations with a way to give back to their Colorado community.
Turning member swipes into donations
Recognizing that many people might want to donate toward the COVID-19 response but don’t have the financial resources to do so, the Denver Community Credit Union is turning members’ everyday debit or credit card swipes into COVID-19 donations. If members generate an average number of debit and credit card transactions, the Credit Union will donate on behalf of the membership to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund. Not only does this help our community make it to the other side of COVID-19 as quickly as possible, it helps the not-for-profit Credit Union do the same.
Of course, the above are merely a few of the efforts that a few The Civic 50 Colorado companies are doing now. To learn about the ongoing practices of the full The Civic 50 Colorado, read the research report.
Is your company also community minded? Apply to become a 2020 The Civic 50 Colorado honoree.
May 4, 2020 by Bea Boccalandro
Is there a productive assignment we can give our work-at-home team members who don’t have enough to do? I believe there is. And it happens to also serve the world.
For many managers, COVID-19 is an opportunity to invite idle or semi-idle employees to develop social-purpose skills (defined as their ability to help others or a societal cause) and craft plans to apply these skills at work. For example, we can encourage employees to develop their capacity to:
Respond to medical emergencies. Having team members who are equipped to respond to medical situations at work is unquestionably beneficial. This pandemic might be as good a time as any for our team members to take a company first-responder online training, the American Red Cross’ first aid/CPR/AED course or the University of Glasgow’s basic first aid course.
Be more environmentally sustainable. Research that I helped EarthShare conduct on Fortune 1000 workers, suggests that 48 percent of our team members want their everyday work to promote environmental protection. Why not help them get there? WWF-Canada’s Living Planet @ Work platform has free resources to help workers institute sustainable initiatives at work.
Be more inclusive. Why not invite our team members to deepen their ability to work more equitably and effectively with people from diverse backgrounds? Our company might already have a diversity and inclusion e-training. If not, there are public online courses such as the Jennifer Brown Consulting DEI Foundations Course. (I have the honor of working alongside Jennifer in advising a Fortune 500 CEO on CSR and can vouch for her and her team’s work. Use code PODCAST for a 20% discount.)
Make work autism-friendly. Does your team serve the public or otherwise work with individuals on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? If so, how wonderful would it be for your team to learn how to serve these individuals with dignity and compassion? The Autism Society has an assessment and materials to help your unit or business become autism-friendly.
A benefit of helping team members develop these (or any) social-purpose competencies is that it will strengthen their work. If you recall my prior posts, you’re aware that workers oriented toward social purpose are more motivated, calmer, more productive, better performing and happier. And, yes, a few hours of social-purpose training now followed up with a few minutes a week of action (once back at the workplace) is enough to trigger these benefits, per research findings.
If we want a dream team when we return to the workplace, now is the time to help our team members develop their capacity to do good at work.
Click here to check out Bea Boccalandro's Full Blog.
On October 12, 2018, 14 volunteers from Paytronix supported, revitalized and beautified The Right Step. The projects are part of an ongoing commitment to give back to the communities that Paytronix resides in, both here and across the United States.
The Right Step is a non-profit that provides equine assisted activities to individuals with physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities. The mission of The Right Step is to better the lives of people with disabilities through the healing power of horses.
In total, 91 volunteer hours were dedicated to The Right Step.
Volunteers completed projects all over the facility/grounds, refreshing and improving key areas. Over 200 bulbs were planted in the garden, horses were fed, horses were groomed, a shed was emptied in preparation of insulating and dry walling the walls, feed was stacked, and a storage stall was cleaned out and organized, including cleaning and photographing saddles for sale. The grounds and operation of the facility were improved by these projects!
By the numbers, Paytronix volunteers: