Walking the Talk on Diversity and Inclusion: One Company’s Steps

By February 2, 2021September 7th, 2022No Comments

A member of NeuGroup’s European Treasury Peer Group outlines what his company is doing to promote D&I.

The push for increased diversity, inclusion and social justice following the murder of George Floyd last year has rippled far beyond US borders.

  • At a meeting of NeuGroup’s European Treasury Peer Group this fall, one member discussed his company’s conviction that now more than ever is the time “to further strengthen [the company’s] commitment to diversity and inclusion everywhere,” as his presentation put it.
  • This company’s efforts, the member said, have taken D&I “to a new level and given it the traction it deserves,” he said. Some of the steps his company has taken may provide direction to other MNCs.

Context on targets. Before the member’s presentation, attendees were polled on whether treasury has specific targets to meet D&I objectives. As the chart below shows, only five percentage points separated those companies with targets (47%) from those without (42%).

  • Only a fifth (21%) of the respondents said their companies have specific investment targets to support underprivileged communities through affordable housing and other means.

Build a senior structure to support D&I efforts. The member’s company has a CEO diversity and inclusion council comprised of senior leaders (SVPs and above) across the corporation whose aim is to accelerate progress in D&I efforts. The treasurer is on the council.

  • The council advocates for solutions that support a culture of belonging and inclusion, both internally and externally.
  • The council focuses on several key strategic pillars, including transparency and representation.

Consider using employee resource groups. So-called ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organizations they serve. 

  • ERGs at the member’s company are “key partners in our work to cultivate an inclusive culture for all employees around the world,” the company’s presentation said.
  • “These passionate employees offer their time, expertise and cultural insights to help us improve the workplace and be innovative in the marketplace.”
  • The company refers to the employees as “cultural carriers” who represent “all dimensions of diversity,” including Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, LGBTQ as well as people with disabilities, veterans and women.

Coffee talk. The company’s efforts include holding informal coffee chats with no agenda where employees feel safe to voice their views on racism, inequality and well-being in a confidential and compassionate forum.

  • The goal, the presentation said, is to foster an environment where “everyone feels heard, supported and, most importantly, where these issues can be discussed openly.”
Justin Jones

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