High marks for inclusiveness
Baird scores well on Corporate Equality Index
September 28, 2009
When the Human Rights Campaign Foundation published its 2010 Corporate Equality Index this month, Baird was among the Banking and Financial Services businesses scoring high on the list. This is the first year Baird has taken part in the index, which serves as a report card on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality in corporate America. Baird’s participation was spearheaded by the Business Diversity Council.
Scoring 90 of 100 possible points, Baird ranks in good company, along with peers and many top banking and financial-industry companies. This year, 590 businesses were rated in the index, including 48 in Banking and Financial Services. The average score overall was 86.
“The list of companies is quite impressive, and the Business Diversity Council is proud of Baird’s favorable score on the index,” said Angela Pittman Taylor, Business Diversity Council Co-Chair and Public Relations Specialist. She emphasized that the ranking is an advantage for Baird, because some clients and prospective employees view Corporate Equality Index ratings as an indicator of a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.
“Baird’s culture centers on treating people with respect, from our everyday interaction with each other and our clients, to our policies and benefits. The Corporate Equality Index measures how our policies and practices measure up in reinforcing that respect when it comes to LGBT equality – something that’s important not only to our associates, but also to our ability to generate incremental revenues from a new or broader set of clients,” Angela said.
The index rates companies on a range of policies as they relate to diversity, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as benefits offered to domestic partners. Firms must also positively engage in and exhibit responsible behavior toward the LGBT community; points are deducted for actions that would undermine equality.
Jaime Zimmerman, a Senior Investment Consultant in Madison, Wis., said Baird has supported his efforts to specialize in the niche LGBT market, which has unique challenges in structuring investments and estates for individuals and same-sex couples. He said the rating sends a message that Baird fosters an inclusive environment, which prospective clients appreciate.
“I commend Baird for its initiative to participate in the Corporate Equality Index. It’s a statement that shows what a conscientious and quality company Baird is, and I’m proud to work here,” Jaime said. “From a business perspective, the LGBT demographic has huge potential with significant assets. Baird is ahead of its time in this regard in the corporate Midwest, especially for our size. People want to know that the company they’re doing business with respects them,” he said.
Sara Reed, Manager of Talent Acquisition, said the index is also important for Baird’s recruiting efforts: “Baird looks for the best talent that fits our culture. We want to make sure there’s nothing to prevent anyone from considering a career at Baird, and our positive score on the index is a qualitative way of saying we’re inclusive, not putting up barriers in the area of equality.”
Ratings appear in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual “Buying Guide for Equality,” as well as in an online database.