Fulton Bank: A Programmatic Approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Ensures Sustainable Change

Our objective was simple: to increase and sustain a diverse workforce, at all levels, while fostering an environment of inclusion where everyone feels a trust sense of belonging. Meeting that objective was anything but simple.

Because diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) touches every facet of our work life, we found that we needed to develop a framework by which to think about change. We decided to look at DEI within four key pillars: Workforce (our people), workplace (our culture), leadership (accountability) and community (our customers and marketplace). By thinking about each of these four pillars, we were able to make great strides in 2022.

Workforce: Demographics & Recruiting

When it comes to ensuring DEI across your workforce, there are two important areas to consider: your current demographics and recruiting. We made major changes to our demographic data collection this year, adding “other” to the Gender category and creating new categories for LGBTQ+ Affiliation, Military Service and Military Spouses. We also overhauled our DEI webpage to attract diverse talent and created a quarterly new hire meeting called the “Employee Resource Group Meet & Greet” to ensure new talent were quickly exposed to our employee resource group offerings and activities.

Workplace: Creating a Culture of Inclusion

At Fulton, we continually strive to create a positive, supportive environment for everyone. One of many ways we foster inclusion is through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These groups provide opportunities for employees to enhance their professional experience and support and model Fulton’s commitment to DEI within our workforce and communities. We currently have five groups focused on Pride, People of Color, Veterans, Women and the “Fulton Future,” which is focused on early professionals.

So, we already have a strong and fairly inclusive culture at Fulton Bank. However, we can always improve. This year, we featured new DEI educational content, programming and speakers for affinity months (Pride month, Black History Month, Asian American Pacific Islander month, Hispanic Heritage Month and Veteran’s Day). For the first time in bank history, we closed in observance of the Juneteenth holiday. We also launched our first all-employee Allyship training and corresponding leadership development program.

One important part of creating a culture of inclusion is to take a look at how your policies and benefits impact culture. In our case, we made several changes to our 2023 benefit program to better align our benefits program with our values. For instance, we now have coverage for domestic partners and improved fertility coverage and transgender coverage (to allow for cosmetic procedures), as well as coverage for hearing aids and wigs.

Leadership: Accountability to Ensure Alignment

Part of a leader’s role is to cast a positive shadow and help ensure an inclusive environment. For the first time, in 2022, we assigned actionable DEI goals to the expanded leader audience (those in leadership positions who may not have a direct report). We felt it was important to broaden our horizons and ensure that every leader was taking action to ensure DEI.

Community: Casting a Wider Net

This year, we made great strides in how we go to market and support our diverse customers. We hired a new Senior Vice President, Director of Commercial Affinity Banking—a new position centered on building relationships with businesses owned by people of color, women and veterans. The position is also responsible to lead a team dedicated to offering new products and services for diverse-owned businesses. We created this position because we need to be reaching out to diverse businesses, making ourselves known to them and ensuring they have what they need to bank wisely and succeed. This new position will help us focus on just that!

Programmatic Approach

Again, by taking a programmatic approach to enhancing our DEI efforts, we were able to make a lot of progress in a short amount of time. I would encourage all companies to think through each of these four pillars and what you could change to better support your employees, leaders, culture and community.

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