Inclusive to the core
Diversity and inclusion are part and parcel of the Ameriprise Financial DNA.
The global financial service company puts a sharp focus on diversity, from top to bottom. Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Kelli Hunter Petruzillo represents the tone at the top: “Diversity, equity and inclusion is an important benchmark of our work, and we are dedicated to continuing to support an inclusive and compassionate culture. We have created a culture where employees are valued and are able to access opportunities to excel in their careers”.
Ameriprise, an industry leading company with a 125-year history and 12,000 employees and a network of 10,000 financial advisors based in the US and beyond, has a stated mission to “belong, grow and contribute to a culture that unleashes potential.”
With the aim of having a workforce that reflects the diverse clients and markets the company serves around the world, Ameriprise is committed to being a workplace where people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and abilities are embraced and welcomed. Further, the company continuously builds an environment where all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization's success.
To that end, Ameriprise has received numerous recognitions for its programs to put diversity and inclusion at the centre of the business. This year it was named among the best places to work for disability inclusion by the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability:IN for the third consecutive year and the company was also included in Forbes as one of the Best Employers for Diversity 2022.
Inclusive and compassionate
The message to new and existing employees is clear: there is an opportunity for everyone at Ameriprise Financial to build a rewarding career. Regardless of and whatever their ethnicity, gender, sexuality or background, the company embraces and celebrates the unique perspectives of all employees.
At Ameriprise, Diversity is defined as “encompassing the many traits that make us unique from life experiences to our visible and invisible qualities”.
When reflecting on the Ameriprise focus on diversity, Javonna Smith, a member of the firm’s Talent Acquisition team, quotes a statement by the company’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Rudy Rodriguez: “We respect each other. We value diversity and inclusion and work as a team to achieve our goals. Our people are key to our success. We develop our people, reward performance, and strengthen our communities by supporting organizations that our employees and advisors support through their money and time.”
This work is important, adds Javonna, because “diversity strengthens our organizational culture and ensures that we can empower our customers, clients, and employees with what they need to achieve success. People have always been our priority; Diversity is how we prioritize people.”
Javonna describes the company approach to diversity as “all about the people. The reason why our employees have such lasting careers at Ameriprise is because we believe in each other, and we get the opportunity to showcase our unique talents every day”.
There are four pillars supporting the company’s diversity approach: leadership engagement and development; business growth and support; community involvement; and cultural awareness.
Each year Ameriprise hosts a Global Inclusion Month, consisting of various events and training sessions that highlight the many ways the company creates an environment where all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully. Throughout the month there is programming that help employees learn how they can be an ally and help make the workplace inclusive.
Says Javonna: “Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team is intentional in educating Ameriprise employees and advisors on the importance of DEI. Ameriprise has a Diversity and Inclusion Month in August where we invite prominent speakers to our company to discuss the challenging topics and to educate the organization on how to include DEI strategies into their business model.”
Employees particularly appreciate the many networks that that cater to all backgrounds and communities. These include the Black Employee Network, the Jewish Interest Network, PRIDE, the Women’s Interest Network, and the South Asian Network to name a few.
Caring for teams
And Javonna says these community building initiatives are vital. “Our teams respond to employee recognition and engagement efforts,” she says. “Ameriprise is deliberate on making every employee feel appreciated by recognizing their accomplishments and achievements. Our leaders are dedicated to quarterly check-ins with their employees to ensure they are on track with performance and development goals.”
Looking after and caring for employees from across the business with all backgrounds is vital to recruitment and retention of staff – this is something Ameriprise understands well.
Javonna describes how this filters into the recruitment process and practices. “Our recruiting team continues to educate themselves on self-awareness around unconscious bias, maximizing on diverse perspectives, attract and attaining the new and different.,” she says. Most importantly, she adds, is encouraging employees to bring their authentic self to work.
The result of this multi-faceted approach to DEI is the sincere level of trust and commitment from our employees and leaders, which in turn drives retention. As Javonna concludes: “We have created a workplace that respects the unique perspectives, different needs and true potential of all team members.”