At Plante Moran, we listen to our staff — it’s a big part of what makes our culture so special. Take this story for example:
A few years after the firm launched its formal diversity initiative, we learned about a Japanese staff member who was feeling homesick. In search of others familiar with his culture, he scanned through our firmwide instant messaging program in search of other staff members with Japanese names. He reached out to them and quickly formed a network of people with similar backgrounds who could rely on each other for advice and perspective.
Ideas like this lead to the creation of the Plante Moran Affinity Network: internal staff resource groups (SRG) intended to foster networking, mentoring, and best practices among diverse staff. Groups are staff-driven and currently include the African American SRG and PM Pride for the LGBTQ community.
The Affinity Network has helped the firm make strides when it comes to supporting diverse talent. The benefits are truly two-way. In addition to regular meetings where members support each other, the groups have come up with ways for the firm to improve diversity efforts. For example, the African-American SRG teamed up with our HR team to launch programs to help with onboarding and retention of diverse staff. They include the Emerging Professionals Summit, which was designed to support diverse staff members joining the firm and the SRG Champion Orientation, which was designed for the partners and buddies of existing or incoming diverse staff.
"The firm’s intentional focus on diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, but it’s in the best interest for the future success of the firm.”
The Affinity Network is just one program helping the firm to develop, retain, and promote diverse talent. Plante Moran also offers all staff diversity awareness training as part of their core curriculum. For new staff, the training includes information on how diversity relates to and affects the firm’s work environment — and for supervisors, the training focuses on developing skills and competencies to successfully manage diverse staff.
Additionally, the firm offers several formal and informal mentoring programs. We’ve learned that recruiting diverse talent might be the first step toward a diverse workplace, but it’s just as important to create an environment where diverse talent can thrive.
As Alicia, a member of our Diversity Council put it, “We have to get this right. Our future client base is changing and our clients expect us to change with it. The firm’s intentional focus on diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, but it’s in the best interest for the future success of the firm.”