Diversity: Talent, Engagement, and Leadership
UMB Financial Corporation provides clients with banking, brokerage, investment, and insurance products via 135 banking centers in seven states. The company mirrors this diverse service coverage with its Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, which aims to build “diversity into the fabric of UMB.” Launched in 2006, the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative committed UMB to transforming diversity into a corporate value for the benefit of employees, customers, and communities.
Supported by executive leaders J. Mariner Kemper, Peter deSilva, and Mike Hagedorn, and led by Larry Smith, EVP Organizational Effectiveness as well as Dr. Andrea Hendricks, SVP Diversity and Corporate Development, the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative is centered around four corporate strategies for talent acquisition, associate engagement, leadership, and outreach.
UMB’s talent acquisition strategy “takes a proactive and aggressive approach” to finding diverse candidates for open positions. The company networks with various chambers of commerce, the Women’s Employment Network, and other organizations to locate potential talent. In addition, the talent acquisition strategy is dedicated to recruiting through minority and mainstream publications as well as an employee referral program. Internally, UMB engages its associates in the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative through new associate welcome programs, professional development for women’s and multicultural groups, and community involvement. In terms of the community, UMB’s One strategy is a “comprehensive outreach plan that addresses potential growth in all UMB products and services to our community at large.” Through this strategy, UMB networks heavily in its communities to attract customers and build talent. Finally, the company’s leadership consistently reaffirms its commitment to diversity by including diversity in all strategies, including products, marketing, and internal and external policies. The goal for the four components of the Diversity and Inclusion program is to “fully integrate diversity throughout our footprint” in order to deliver “the unparalleled customer experience.”
The transition to a diverse organization can be difficult, so UMB’s management team developed support programs for the overall diversity initiative. All UMB associates, including managers and executives, attend diversity awareness training or certification programs and are consistently exposed to the diversity message via internal marketing materials, including an intranet page. In addition, a key Management by Objectives component for managers is diversity.
The success of UMB’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative is based on four best practices. First, with the right resources and executive support, a diversity program “can take elevated shape within a short amount of time.” Second, any diversity program should “encompass a wide range of initiatives that meet the changing needs of associates and communities.” Third, both leaders and associates should be allowed to take “active roles” in the diversity program, such as volunteerism and task force membership. Finally, diversity programs should include a bottom-line approach but should also focus development, performance, productivity, and retention. In four short years, UMB has lived up to these best practices with its Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.
CareerFOCUS Magazine™ and the National Eagle Leadership Institute® salute UMB Financial Corporation – winner of the 2010 NELI Award honoring stellar leadership in corporate and social responsibility.