TD Bank Reflects on Its Diversity and Inclusion Achievements and the Importance of Supportive Colleagues

Originally published at stories.td.com. TD Bank ranked No. 14 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.

 

As 2021 draws to a close, it’s a good time to review, reflect and celebrate past achievements along with using the lessons learned to continually improve in the future.

TD Bank’s achievements in Diversity & Inclusion in 2021 are certainly ones to both celebrate and build upon in the coming years. The bank’s efforts were lauded by those inside and outside the bank in 2021, with TD being named in many prestigious honors in the D&I field including:

So, what’s the secret behind the success in an area where it’s so easy for corporations to fall short?

John Patton, TD Bank’s U.S. Diversity & Inclusion Lead, says it’s simple and without it, success would’ve been impossible even with the best of strategy and planning.

“There’s a culture of care and the sincere intention to do the right thing and create an inclusive environment,” he explained. “Many people come to TD to work with us or bank with us because they see us as a welcoming place. That comes directly from our colleagues at every level. The passion to be inclusive drives the energy. It bleeds across all aspects of the employee life cycle, and our relationship with customers and communities.”

 

Building the airplane as it moves down the runway

TD has been known for its support of D&I for many years, notably in 1994 when it became the first bank in North America to offer benefits for same-sex partners. Throughout the TD footprint, there are strong networks of employee groups that provide support and advocate for the diverse groups and their allies that work at the bank.

In 2019, bank leaders recognized the need to enhance their strategy to meet the changing times. The bank’s program looked at steady ways to help spur more hiring and support of colleagues of diverse backgrounds and abilities, LGBTQ2+, women and veterans.

Then everything changed in 2020.

The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in underprivileged communities combined with social unrest and demands for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd had profound impacts on every segment of U.S. society, including the corporate world.

“We found ourselves building the airplane as it was moving down the runway,” John said. “We wanted to respond to the growing demand for D&I in every aspect of the bank.”

In 2020, TD recognized that Black communities have long faced systemic racism in society, so the bank introduced a Black Experiences area of focus within the D&I program, including required training programs for all employees. The bank’s leadership also set aspirational goals to increase the representation of Black and other minority professionals within TD.

“We want to create a more inclusive environment for our colleagues, so they’re more satisfied in their jobs,” John said. “It’s not about creating a culture just because we’re nice people. It’s also good business and helps to drive results and positively impact our bottom line.”

 

Seeing yourself in the journey

TD has more than 25,000 colleagues in the United States, and as such, with any group of that size, there are a wide variety of perspectives and opinions. It’s a factor that must be addressed in all areas, including D&I.

“The goal of an effective Diversity & Inclusion function is to be seen as a strategic business partner for the organization that helps enhance the culture of engagement for all of the colleagues, customers and communities that it serves,” said Keisha Marant, Talent and Learning Relationship Manager, Global D&I. “It’s thinking of ways to expose all to cultures that may not be their own, which requires careful consideration and collaboration across business functions.”

Keisha and John agreed that for those colleagues that may have reservations about a particular D&I strategy or initiative, the best way to encourage support is by making sure they feel included. TD does this through many programs throughout the year where colleagues are encouraged to talk about their experiences and find ways to connect through their differences.

“As an organization, that wants to create a culture where all are welcome, all should feel included,” Keisha said. “We want to ensure that as many people as possible can see themselves in the D&I journey.”

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