Comerica: Leading with Empathy is How Executives of the Future Will Win in Business

Today’s leader/executive is being challenged differently than the recent past. Never before have we seen such a polarizing society which has caused significant division amongst our employees, clients/customers and vendor partners. The need to bring divided employees, customers and partners together to achieve a common goal has become more difficult in the wake of recent political, racial, social, economic and religious strife we have seen across the world. Leaders of today must possess a high degree of compassionate empathy and if they do not, they must work on the skills to improve this competency.

Our employees are challenging us to be better and to be socially conscious. Our customers are challenging us to be better and be socially conscious.

Now the results of a leader’s ability to be compassionately empathetic has a resounding impact on his/her organization and the leaders that exist under them. It allows for employees to achieve two of the most basic human needs which are:

  • the feeling of having their unique identity recognized, and
  • to feel like they belong.

This concept will impact the success of your organization. Harnessing and unlocking the true power of a collection of unique identities allows for maximum innovation and creativity.

At Comerica, we have been working on building our culture of inclusion and belonging through our branded effort called ‘Comerica Together’. This effort is currently in process which began roughly two years ago which include the following:

  • Deep assessment of the current culture and assessing the qualitative sentiment from our employees,
  • Leadership assessment of organizational values and mission,
  • C-Suite cultural competency reflection and empathy building,
  • Finalizing a vision for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and
    defining DEI, Communicating and building a common language throughout
    the entirety of the company,
  • Skill education/development of senior leaders to improve their
    ability to lead inclusively.

Another significant role that a leader has in their organization is to govern or hold accountable, and advocate for equitable advancement for all. Equity sits at the core of our DEI efforts at Comerica Bank as we work tirelessly to ensure that all colleagues have fair treatment, access, and the opportunity to advance in the company. As a leader much of what impacts equity is what you advocate for and how you advocate. As it relates to people it is important that you consider advocacy and equity in these three areas:

  • Hiring
  • Promoting
  • Retaining

At Comerica we spend significant time focused on how we govern DEI throughout the organization and those policies, processes and strategies that have the most significant impact on equity. We then put policies and measurement tools such as our DEI Scorecard in place to address accountability. These are areas where the leader can have a significant impact in creating the best culture to achieve inclusion in your organization.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Comerica is woven into the essence of who we are and how we act. Our commitment to our colleagues & customers is inclusive and is intertwined in our core values as a company. Embracing the differences amongst our colleagues and customers allows Comerica to flourish and support success for all. We are committed and stand with our communities to achieve equal justice for all.

  • Comerica’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) office delivered diversity education to more than 80% of the employee population with a focus on unconscious bias, microaggressions and other anti-racism education.
  • At the conclusion of 2020, 64% of U.S. colleagues and 54% of Comerica’s managers were women, and 42% of U.S. colleagues and 31% of all Comerica senior leaders were racial/ethnic minorities.
  • Comerica’s DEI Scorecard acts as the quantitative measurement tool used to ensure progress towards documented goals, both short- and long-term. In 2022, 100% of business units met their DEI performance goals.
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