Our people are our first priority. We believe that only companies with a positive culture can deliver good work. So, we constantly engage in shaping a safe, supportive, equitable, and inclusive workplace, where work-life balance is a must, and where people at any professional level can grow their careers.
Retaining and engaging our people
One of the most critical aspects of executing our business strategy is maintaining our long-standing client relationships and knowledge. Employee retention and growth is key to that strategy. If we can retain our top talent, we are better suited to act on our purpose. Our goal from our last strategic plan was to demonstrate a better retention rate than the industry average of 9 percent by 2020. We’ve seen our rate stay below 9 percent since 2017, coming down from 8.4% in 2017 to 7.7% in 2019 to 6.6% in 2020. Like many organizations, after low turnover in 2020, in 2021 we experienced an increase in our voluntary turnover, reaching 9.5%, which remains lower than our industry peers but not where we want it to be. Our desire to retain key talent means we continue to focus on the whole employee experience. So, in 2021, we focused on developing our Performance Enablement program, expanding benefits and continuing our communication and engagement efforts.
Performance Enablement is all about supporting our employee’s success and development. Our 2021 launch rolled out a new platform for employee development, including tools to receive and request anytime feedback. Trainings and a staggered launch of the tools allowed our people to become more familiar with this new, employee-led approach.
In keeping with our focus on the whole employee, a detailed benefits survey led to two key benefit adjustments in 2021. We rolled out a new service to provide better mental health support for our employees and their families and we enhanced our 401k program, shifting our company match from discretionary to non-discretionary and from once a year to real-time.
Striving for Equity
As our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) vision states, we believe that diverse teams working together in an equitable, inclusive culture provides the right environment for our employees to thrive, our clients to benefit, and our business to prosper over the long run. Thus, we continue to rollout communications, new recruiting practices, equity analyses and training as part of our DEI strategy. Since we established the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee in 2016 (now Equity Committee), we have expanded our efforts to drive our DEI vision.
In 2021, we focused on working towards our 2023 DEI Vision. Some highlights included:
- continued development of our Employee Resource Groups and our Equity Committee,
- organization of an annual DEI workshop for all employees, and
- commitment and plan development for a more comprehensive racial equity training program.
Our DEI goals focus on communications, representation, inclusivity, and progress measurements. There are several metrics we continue to monitor regularly as part of our dashboard and we maintain transparency and awareness of the simplest data to reflect complexity: our employee and Board of Directors demographics. Below is a brief history of this data, reflecting some general trends. Since 2018, we saw a decrease in the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) population on our Board of Directors; while, at the same time, experiencing an increase in the percent of women on our Board. The composition of the Board changes significantly with Director turnover because there are only 10 members. Our employee population at large has also seen some changes in demographics. Most notably, this increase is seen in the percent of women and our BIPOC population. Our leadership positions also reflect a more equitable distribution, with women making up 57 percent of our Executive Leadership Team.
Over the next year, as part of our company’s forward-looking strategies to both expand our sustainability solutions and commitments and retain the next generation workforce, we’ll be reevaluating our strategies and goals. This will include reaffirming the components and efforts that align with retaining and engaging an equitable and complex workforce.