TIAA is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce that promotes equality and acceptance. Pride month is a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to valuing people of diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives both within and outside of our organization.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) serve a central role in professional development, assist in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce and help the company achieve its business results. Alliance, the name of the LGBT ERG, is focused on making TIAA the employer and financial services partner of choice for individuals within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“Pride month represents a great opportunity to talk about the importance of inclusion as it relates to the LGBTQ community,” said Skip Spriggs, Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer of TIAA. “We actively promote and engage in activities around this time each year in recognition of this symbolic month, but the work that is done by our Executive Management Team and the Alliance ERG runs throughout the year and has made real contributions to creating a truly inclusive workforce that is positioned to best serve our customers and participants.”
Throughout this month, there have been a number of activities for employees that help elevate topics and issues relevant to the LGBTQ community to create additional opportunities for understanding and inclusion. In addition to Pride parade involvement by the local Alliance chapters across the country, Alliance hosted a panel discussion entitled “Proud Parenting: What I learned raising my LGBT child.” The event included three speakers, parents to gay, transgender and bisexual individuals. The conversation spanned an array of topics including early reactions from parents or family, interactions with classmates and siblings and even advice for how to speak with young children about LGBTQ related topics. The Q&A session was extremely interactive, with questions coming in from all locations and via email. The discussion was accessible in all TIAA locations or via phone for remote workers. An enthusiastic participant shared feedback after the event saying, “Most employees don’t expect their managers to understand this world, but to hear the three panelists share their stories completely changed my view of that. You have made a major impact just by showing that leaders are people with families too, and that LGBTQ is a part of that new normal.”
ERG activities and priorities are tailored to several key areas of impact, which include Business Impact, Employee Engagement, Employer of Choice, Community Outreach and Talent Development. Above and beyond Pride month, TIAA has championed initiatives in each of these categories throughout the year in support of the LGBTQ community.
“While we have eight extremely busy ERGs focused on raising awareness, establishing resources and building connections to our business for their areas of interest, it’s the cumulative effect of all the actions, programs, advocacy and decisions that makes TIAA’s ERGs successful in creating positive outcomes for our culture and for our customers,” said Natasha Radden, TIAA’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
In the category of business impact, the Alliance ERG members were instrumental in developing workshops, financial and estate planning and even training for financial advisors on “The Art of Advising LGBT Participants.” While these materials were originally created in partnership with the institutional business, marketing and the Alliance ERG in 2013, the members help to update materials and the curriculum annually. The group’s unique perspectives helped TIAA ensure they fully understand the unique needs of the LGBTQ community to help them create positive financial outcomes.
Employee engagement is a huge focus for TIAA’s ERGs, especially as the organization continues on a journey to inclusion where we are continually raising the bar on the expectations of our culture. In addition to the “Proud Parent” panel referenced above, Alliance activated a very successful ally program in an effort to raise awareness and invite employees at TIAA to visibly show their support of fairness and equality for all. The initiative received over 700 statements/declarations of personal support from LGBTQ allies from across TIAA.
In order to further drive TIAA’s progress towards becoming an employer of choice for the LGBTQ community, the company launched a self-identification campaign — Be You. Be Included. Self-identify. The initiative encouraged employees to self-identify so that TIAA has a clearer picture of the diversity of its workforce. Ultimately, knowing the makeup of the employee base helps the firm determine any necessary steps to improve diversity in certain populations and offer benefits and programs that match employees’ needs. Through this program, employees have the capability to identify sexual orientation and gender identity through new categories within HR systems.
“We strive for a culture where employees of all backgrounds and perspectives feel valued and are able to bring their true and full selves to work every day,” said Skip Spriggs.