There is an increasing awareness in business culture that diversity & inclusion should never simply be a tagline or set of checkboxes, they need to be integral parts of the very fiber of a company’s existence. When diverse individuals, perspectives, and experiences are represented and nurtured in a company, teams and employees are more empowered for success and a company is more likely to thrive. To go beyond the slogans, we spoke to 4 companies who have a demonstrated commitment to diversity & inclusion as a matter of strategy but also as a core component of the firm’s identity. These firms have shared their approaches with us and will offer valuable insights to consultants seeking a supportive and dynamic workplace for their next challenge.
At Keystone Strategy, the mission is Transformative Ideas but the core of culture is the recognition that these ideas are more prevalent and possible when leveraging diverse teams.
Over the last five years, Keystone has set out to build diverse teams at every level of the firm through recruiting, internal mentorship programs, and development plans. The impact on the business has been outsized and today Keystone stands ahead of its competitors in terms of innovation and creativity. As a result, they have grown at a rapid pace and are currently recruiting for Associates, Technology Associates, Consultants and Economists.
In their own words, “At Keystone, we believe you should be yourself. Be unique. Be authentic. However you prefer to say it, we really mean it. Our culture embraces people’s diverse perspectives and creates a positive environment where everyone belongs. We’re dedicated to creating and maintaining an environment where people can share their own diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and ideas.”
Keystone believes that creating a work environment that allows them to attract, retain, and fully engage diverse talent leads to enhanced innovation, across-the-board collaboration and the ability to deliver transformative ideas to their clients. Their 3-pronged strategy to cultivate diversity includes:
As a company, Keystone focused on three critical levers to expand its commitment to diversity starting with recruiting. Recognizing the need to ensure the widest possible funnel, attract diverse talent and engage these individuals 1:1, Keystone’s newly expanded recruiting team has switched their focus to strategic sourcing. Core to this strategy, Keystone has increased the investment in best-in-breed recruiting technology to improve candidate experience and ensure diversity and inclusion in all hiring activities. The firm has also invested in annual partnerships with diversity student affinity groups across targeted universities and has developed new relationships with minority-serving institutions.
The firm has also expanded its online footprint with the add-on of several brand-new Diversity and Inclusion pages that capture their commitments and culture. The new pages include a statement on the value of diversity from their President, Jeff Marowits, and an overview of the firm’s commitment to diversity training and education. This puts the core values front and center and helps paint a clear picture of the firm’s commitment to those values.
Driving awareness through a speaker series and book club
The new pages also highlight Keystone’s famed awareness programs all of which are organic and have flourished over the years to include a D&I Speaker Series that has hosted over 45 speakers from various industries, academic settings and backgrounds. These industry-leading speakers bring their research and work in the D&I realm to Keystone’s teams. Past speakers have included, Dr. Robin Ely, Chair of the Gender Initiative at HBS, Jessica Robinson, CEO of PurePoint International, and Karen Watai, Founder and President of Welcome Change – just to name a few. Keystone also curates and runs a monthly Diversity and Inclusion Book Club which is driven 100% by the diverse teams on the ground and features sponsored books, articles and movie nights with group conversations that follow. Examples of recent Book Club events include an examination of President Barack Obama’s eulogy to John Lewis, as well as a discussion on John Lewis’s early writings. With these initiatives, Keystone “walks the walk” by making diversity an ongoing and evolving focal point and encouraging its employees to challenge their thinking and welcome new ideas and perspectives.
The D&I mission statement at DTCC is to “fully integrate diversity and inclusion into all aspects of the DTCC community by fostering an environment where every employee is valued, respected, and feels they can play an active part in the company’s success.” The firm embodies that mission through activities and efforts such as the Diverse Talent Management and Advancement Organization, which was established in 2018 to define and execute a strategic D&I agenda.
By focusing on efforts at every level of the organization, from recruiting to mentorship opportunities, to trainings and educational opportunities for senior managers, DTCC has thrown its full weight behind improving the company and their industry for individuals of diverse backgrounds.
This effort has also been recognized externally, with HRC naming DTCC the Best Place to Work for LGBT Employees 8 years in a row, Forbes naming DTCC in its rankings for Best Places for Diversity 2020 and Best Place to Work in 2019, as well as being recognized in the 2020 Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index. Most recently, October 2020, DTCC was also named by Fairygodboss as the Best Finance Company for Women; Joint #1 for Best Company Where CEOs Support Gender Diversity (4-way tie); and #3 for Best Company for Women overall in 2020. All this, together with an annually rising employee engagement score on issues of diversity and inclusion confirms their commitment.
DTCC has an active and robust employee community including eight actively engaged employee resource groups for Latinx, LGBTQA, Black, Veteran, women, generational, Asian and those with disabilities and their caretakers. DTCC is also committed to the future diversity and inclusion of the firm by developing robust pipeline candidates for upper-level management.
At Acquis, “People First” is one of the company’s core values. Earlier this year, Acquis CEO David Kaufman addressed systemic racism and inequality during a company All-hands meeting. “Our company prides itself on the “People First” mantra and this applies to not just our people and our clients but to our communities and the world. We want to do more, both internally at Acquis and externally to open up the dialogue about race, diversity, and inclusion here at Acquis.”
Acquis encourages each employee to stand up for their beliefs and to affect positive change in the world. This summer, Acquis provided a $100 donation to any charity of each employee’s choice. Instead of sending holiday cards this year, Acquis invited their contacts to participate in selecting charities that Acquis would support. These activities have resulted in significant donations to organizations such as the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, and the Equal Justice Initiative.
Acquis’s internal teams have integrated Diversity & Inclusion into their initiatives as well; the Health & Wellness team is currently hosting a “Step Challenge” where Acquis donates to a charity each day employees achieve their steps goals. The Culture team is hosting a Podcast series, where employees listen to Podcasts on Racism and Racial injustice and meet as a group to discuss, opening up the dialogue about important issues we are facing today.
Longer term, Acquis’s Leadership is discussing the company’s commitments to guide Diversity & Inclusion efforts within the company. Acquis COO, Joanna Sears, believes that the company will continue to raise the bar when it comes to inclusion and equity. “We need to think about what we can do now that will make an impact 20 years from now. We want to help create meaningful change.”
As a company, Delta Partners is committed to driving diversity and inclusion not only within their own company and culture, but throughout the telecoms industry. Delta Partners also recognizes that diversity and inclusion means being proactive in outreach and improvement along gender, race, physical abilities and more. As such, they are active participants and supporters of a variety of industry working groups focused particularly on women in consulting.
Delta Partners believes that the diverse backgrounds of their employees make the company a better, stronger firm and they seek to support the recruitment and development of talent from a wide range of backgrounds. In their own words, “Our goal is to cultivate and sustain a diverse a work environment with talented individuals who believe in our mission to help us transform the TMT industry globally.” One element of that diversity is that Delta Partners has team members from 50 countries, with more than 40 different languages spoken by their employees.
Through their dedicated recruiting efforts to maintaining and expanding the diversity of their people, and through their commitment to industry improvement, Delta Partners is truly making an impact in their field.
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