Make noticeable gains in gender and non-majority representation at the partner level. This requires understanding and carefully managing the long-term effects of changes in equity ownership.
Baker Tilly is taking a more comprehensive approach to succession planning by pinpointing talent development intersections and applying a lens of age, gender and ethnicity along with competency criteria. These intersections include: a) learning & development programs at different career stages; b) selection for special projects; c) inclusion on client engagement teams; and d) firm governance. Additionally, Baker Tilly is launching a revamped mentoring program in Q3 2018 initially geared toward women, with the goal of expanding to non-majority male team members. The mentoring program has four objectives: 1) increase diverse leadership; 2) improve retention; 3) learn and lead differently with empathy; 4) reach one’s full potential with whole self.
In two years’ time, we increased women representation on all firm governance committees by 25 percent with several committees chaired by women. We are taking a more deliberate approach to ensuring equal gender representation in learning and development programs – especially those geared toward partner track. We revamped our five-year partner projection process in two key ways: 1) elevating its visibility with the board of partners and national management committee and 2) actively selecting candidates from the five-year partner projection list for visible leadership opportunities throughout the year. The selection of teams for firmwide projects now considers age, ethnicity and gender in addition to knowledge and experience. We are increasing awareness of inclusion throughout the firm by using our intranet and internal communications to highlight successful client engagements whose teams are also diverse. All of these efforts are adding up to a more diverse and stronger pipeline of partner candidates.
We do not view diversity, inclusion and belonging as a program or something we ‘have to do.’ We genuinely believe that this is who we are. Because this is who we are, we take a holistic approach to embed the philosophy and practices of diversity, inclusion and belonging into all aspects of our business – from strategy to operations. This includes the way we recruit, how we develop and promote team members, how we serve clients, how we run projects, and how we treat each other. Day in, day out. This is not easy to do. It is much easier to roll out a program as ‘evidence’ of our commitment. However, we are not interested in scratching the surface. We want to effect change for the long run – in our firm and in our profession. Team members who have a true sense of belonging is more important than statistics. An open and curious mindset is more important than written policies. We use diversity, inclusion & belonging as a lens to make everything better.