American Enterprise Group makes strides in diversity and inclusion initiatives

Having a “culture of betterment” could mean something different to everyone. At American Enterprise Group (AEG), it means, quite simply, to do better — in the community, in the office, and in individuals’ lives. It includes AEG’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture that embraces its differences.
That’s why Meg Brown, chief human resources officer at AEG, launched a charter committee focused on diversity and inclusion in 2020. And why AEG may evolve the committee as needed.
The charter committee — called the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee — has already shifted once in the year and a half since it launched.
“We added the inclusion piece in the middle of last year, so the ‘I’ piece is new. We’ve done some training on inclusion since then,” Michelle Sams, senior recruiter and benefits coordinator at AEG, said.

The DEI charter committee uses a tagline as its guiding principle: “To guide the work of diversity and inclusion through our organization and support the mission of the company to THRIVE.”

So, what does it mean to THRIVE? It’s an acronym that celebrates the uniqueness of AEG’s employees, focuses on being socially responsible, and seeks opportunities to showcase diverse perspectives and backgrounds, not only to function better as a team but also to serve customers better. It’s defined as:
  • Toolkit: We are building resources for employee reference, including a diversity-driven book club, leadership training, and a culture of betterment philosophy.
  • Hear: Every employee has a voice. We listen with attention to gain knowledge and to understand.
  • Respect: We empower people by respecting and appreciating their differences.
  • Inclusion: We support a collaborative workforce that promotes belonging and respect that increases participation and contribution from all employees.
  • Value: All employees are appreciated for their uniqueness.
  • Equity: For all.
One key component of THRIVE is to expand the diversity of company staff in 2022 and beyond.
“We have pushed out a general message to increase our diversity,” Sams said. “This is tracked via a field in our payroll platform that collects ethnicity. We don’t require employees to fill it out, but we encourage them to do so after they are hired, so we can see if progress is being made.”

To help reach more potential employees from different backgrounds, the committee is connecting with mentorship programs, internships, career days, and more across a wide geographic area.

In 2021, the DEI committee provided companywide training on unconscious bias, hosted an onsite Allyship talk, and either led an employee activity or posted a DEI-themed intranet article each month. The committee has added a quarterly book club that focuses on DEI initiatives in 2022. To learn more about how AEG “THRIVEs,” click here.