Uncertainty creates opportunity.

Think about it. The uncertainty of the pandemic created opportunities in our professional and personal lives. Remote work options surfaced for many and innovations around home delivery and online transactions are here to stay.

The working world was altered in a way that reverberates daily. Companies hired new employees without ever meeting in person (previously more common in the technology industry). Five generations are in the workplace, and we are learning about each other’s values, preferences, and work styles. We are also redefining our workspace and work arrangements, while striking a balance between employer and employee needs and wants.

This, at times, volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, requires leaders to lead differently. As diversity and inclusion leaders, we are expected to drive change despite the volatility and complexity. Some argue this is precisely when these efforts stall and non-inclusive behaviors prevail. This is where our opportunity exists.

During periods like this, innovation is needed. Past solutions no longer work. Diverse perspectives aid innovation and we need individuals whose lived experiences include navigating uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Fostering inclusion during uncertain times is critical. Without a willingness to embrace differences and new information, organizations remain resistant to change and do not pursue novel solutions and approaches.

At Fidelity Investments, we leverage our investor and growth mindset. We use data and factual analysis to determine our actions, collaborate to create value, and look for inspiration and insights. This helps us identify opportunities for greater inclusion in how we engage with our associates, customers, and communities.

In the past three years, we hired more than 42,000 new associates, and by expanding our regional footprint and remote workforce, increased our diversity. Managers learned about allyship and how to lead inclusively. We gained further insight into the composition of our workforce through an expanded self[1]identification program. This led to an effort focused on the unique experiences of first-generation college graduates.

Emerging areas of focus include accessibility and cognitive diversity, as some of our associates’ reluctance to being in the office is due to specific technological and environmental needs, and the impact on their inclusion. We also have associates with invisible conditions seeking empathy and support.

Our Accessibility Marketplace provides tools and guidance for associates who need assistive technology, while our Accessibility and Inclusion Standards make our websites and applications more accessible to users, independent of age, technology, or ability. We also test customer and associate software to ensure compliance with visual, auditory, and cognitive impairment accessibility guidelines, as part of our responsible sourcing practices.

Customers have specific needs, and our Customer Inclusion Team has established a three-pronged strategy to support brighter financial futures, with diverse communities in mind.

  • WELCOME ME, encourages appropriate cultural representation in customer experiences and marketing to drive engagement and awareness about relevant financial solutions.
  • KNOW ME, commits to learning what is important to our customers and building trust with evidence-based data.
  • HELP ME, delivers financial education that acknowledges our customers’ lived experiences. We are also creating inclusive product offerings across various communities, including LGBTQ+ and veteran families whose planning needs can be uniquely different.

Through this strategy, we hope to deliver fast, accessible experiences that are easy, relevant and an accurate reflection of our customers—from start to finish.

In the community, we are bridging financial inclusion and economic mobility opportunities for underserved and under-resourced groups, focusing on Black and Brown youth. From scholarships and education, to mentoring, grants and programmatic support, we are committed to helping students establish a foundation to build generational wealth.

In 2022, Fidelity funded more than 200 nonprofit organizations across the country. We have also increased our investment in diverse suppliers to over $300 million to ensure diversity and cultural competency extends into our sourcing practices.

Building on our more than 75 years’ experience helping our customers navigate through change, Fidelity is committed to meeting the evolving needs of our associates, customers, communities and suppliers. Embracing diversity and fostering inclusion is key to providing those solutions and demonstrating agility in uncertain times.

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