How Kroll’s New Inclusion Model Embraces All Dimensions of Diversity

by Savoy Staff

An interview with William T. Rolack Sr., Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Kroll

Diversity in the workplace is successful when it’s viewed as more than just a trend or checked box. It requires a shift in how we connect and embrace each other’s contributions. Leaders and managers need to learn how to approach engaging diverse views, developing them and leveraging employee contributions to create innovative solutions.

When I joined Kroll in 2021, my first task was to understand the interplay across all levels and office locations to inform the structure of Kroll’s global diversity strategy.

Diversity initiatives can be ineffective if they lack advocacy from leadership, and if employees are unwilling to adapt. That isn’t the case at Kroll. Because of the advocacy and support from Kroll’s global leadership team, we were able to build an innovative system that engages employees and reflects Kroll’s values of inclusion and unity.

What does Kroll’s Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) model look like? The I&D team is placed strategically within Kroll’s Impact
Office. This group has oversight across complementary functions, including learning and development, the Kroll Charitable Foundation, ESG Advisory, regional business committees and our think tank, the Kroll Institute. Because I&D is aligned with critical functions that partner closely with the commercial business, the I&D team can be a true business partner and business enabler.

Learning how Kroll employees engaged with each other led us to develop a hybrid I&D model. This approach breaks down silos so that all employees can be true partners and contributors in our global I&D Council. This is different from affinity groups that were established to introduce diversity into the workforce back in the 1970s. While historically beneficial, there are limitations that exist in this initial approach as not enough groups existed across each dimension of diversity. Applying a hybrid strategy allows everyone to be represented and to join an inclusive innovation system that combines a global council of partners with employee networks.

How did we launch our inclusive innovation system? It began last year with a call for employee champions of diversity to participate in shaping how we collaborate on inclusion initiatives. We received 500 responses across 22 countries from employees in our C-suite, business presidents, managing directors and analysts. We encourage everyone to participate as council members of equal contribution. We divide our council into four innovation teams: Workplace Culture, Workforce, Social Responsibility and Marketplace. Each of our teams operates within APAC, Europe, LATAM and North America. Council members select where they would like to contribute, and then innovation teams are distributed across a collection of taskforce groups. Together, taskforce goals align directly with our enterprise-wide business goals. The expected outcomes are facilitation of cost savings, productivity gains and revenue growth.

Altruism is the center of our system. It allows for each employee to contribute and give in a way that is most rewarding to them. By going beyond the employee-resource-groups only model, we can have total inclusion, which allows the entire workforce to contribute equally. Social impact also plays an important role in a global inclusive innovation system that is connected through altruism. Employees are encouraged to give back to their communities through our Kroll Cares initiative. Last September, 98% of our offices around the world participated in Kroll Cares month by supporting a variety of local non-profit groups.

We’re proud to have hosted diversity events that featured prominent figures such as the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ms. Opal Lee, named the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” and Elizabeth Jean “Busy” Philipps, an actress, mother and LGBTQ activist. Our global cultural celebrations are dedicated to increasing awareness of different cultures and to build a sense of belonging, where we celebrate our similarities and learn from our differences. We’re continuing to build a sustainable model that encourages new and existing employees to participate.

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