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.