American Enterprise Group makes strides in diversity and inclusion initiatives

As the world shifted and pivoted in 2020, so did American Enterprise Group’s (AEG) human resources team. It added new team members and took a deeper look at diversity and inclusion across the company.
With more than 15 years of experience at AEG, Meg Brown shifted to vice president of human resources in 2020. One of her main visions was to implement a “culture of betterment,” including a new diversity and inclusion charter committee that kicked off in April and officially launched in November 2020.

“The new charter committee has 13 members that consist of employees at all three of our locations and in different business areas in our organization,” said Michelle Sams, human resources recruiter at AEG.

The diversity and inclusion charter committee created 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 is 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 clients 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 2021 and beyond.

“We are currently at 2% diversity (across AEG) and have set a goal to reach at least 5% 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.

Internally, the committee launched a book club, introduced volunteer opportunities, and started highlighting diversity holidays on the company’s intranet page. In 2021, a “Learning with Leaders Series” will explore topics, such as unconscious bias and privilege, to keep these vital conversations going, and AEG’s charitable giving committee will include several diversity-and-inclusion-related nonprofits. To learn more about how AEG THRIVEs, click here.

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