Ensuring a commitment to DEI and the benefits it provides

Aug. 24, 2022

While the conversation around a more diverse workforce has become a mainstay of the public discourse, the incentives for businesses to diversify, including increased innovation, profits and greater adaptability, make good business sense.

Over the course of the last two years, and even beforehand, businesses have made public commitments to diversity. Whether through diversifying the organization's talent pipelines and new hires, charitable contributions or volunteering, partnerships with other organizations or increasing the visibility of a particular community or cause, there are a number of ways businesses have demonstrated their commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Yet, progress remains slow and in some cases, has stalled altogether as new priorities emerge. It begs the question, what does a commitment to diversity look like for a business?

The most visible example is a company’s workforce. Both leadership and staff should reflect the population of the communities in which the company works. In Florida, a state known for its large and multiethnic population, Hispanics make up over a quarter of the population at 26.8% and Black Americans make up another 17.0%. Businesses cannot afford to overlook diversity in this type of an environment. In Tampa, those numbers round out even further, with Hispanics amounting to 26.2% and Black Americans bumping up to 23% of the city’s population. In environments as diverse as these, businesses run the risk of both losing out on a valuable source of talent as well as potential markets for their services and products should they avoid a proactive approach to DEI.

In the case of Tampa-based TCM Bank, a credit card issuer for community banks nationwide, its approach to DEI has always been people-first, with responsiveness, transparency, openness to different views, and customer needs being the key tenets of the bank’s commitment to people of all backgrounds. The bank’s own diverse leadership means it has been able to help a wider variety of customers with different and unique needs.

“TCM’s community bank partners are spread out across the United States and serve a wide array of customers. Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within TCM helps us better understand and serve our customers and bank partners.” said, Moorer.

Moorer’s people-first approach, both when it comes to DEI and the service the bank provides, has seen it grow throughout the years to over 780 financial institutions and meet the needs of over 465,000 customers.

Given TCM Bank’s example, it stands to reason that more diverse organizations are reliably more profitable than their less diverse competitors. According to a 2020 study by McKinsey that looked at companies from both the United States and the United Kingdom through 2014 to 2019, diverse businesses outperformed and outcompeted those that were less diverse, along either gender, ethnic lines or both. Some of the most diverse companies saw a 25% greater chance for profitability over their peers, an increase from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014 from prior studies. The study also noted that while some businesses had made great strides in becoming more diverse, particularly within their leadership structures, many had in fact stalled or regressed.

According to TCM Banks’ Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer Terri Howard, however, a business’ commitment to diversity is not solely driven by HR nor limited to financial contributions, but embedded and integrated into the everyday culture of the organization - “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at TCM Bank is embraced in our culture and has progressed to be a strategic, competitive advantage. As a community bank that believes in community banks, we build that feeling of fellowship and belonging internal in our workplace too. We bank differently, because we are different.” said, Howard.

Beyond expanding into new markets or finding new sources of qualified talent, a commitment to DEI includes providing the opportunity for employees and clients alike to learn and grow alongside the company. According to a report by the nonprofit Milken Center, only about 57% of Americans are financially literate, with the rate of literacy varying even further when broken down by race.

Moorer was clear on the value of financial education, particularly for underserved populations, saying in a separate interview with Invest:, “Financial literacy and economic inclusion are critically important. A wealth gap impacts many minority groups and underrepresented communities. There is a tremendous opportunity to bridge this gap, allowing everyone to benefit. Financial literacy and affordable housing directly increase economic inclusion. The bank is committed to the ongoing support of these and similar initiatives. We must remain committed to economic inclusion across all industries, ensuring the focus is sustained.”

Providing access, education and employment are key aspects of a proper commitment to DEI. Beyond the added flexibility, talent pipelines and market opportunities that DEI commitments provide, the overall effect on company culture makes for a more enjoyable experience for both employees and customers, creating a greater sense of belonging and company loyalty, invaluable qualities when the increased turnover rate in the current labor market has been dubbed The Great Resignation.

“At TCM Bank we call ourselves the “TCM Family” and this stems from the appreciation and respect employees have for each other, our clients, and our customers. This is genuinely felt throughout the organization.” said, Moorer. “We truly live and breathe our values and Guiding Principles day in and day out and that has created a positive, people-first culture that we’re very proud of.”