2020 Annual Report Enduring Culture, Extraordinary People
Corporate Resource Groups
A Year of Challenges
The backbone of Baird has long been our Corporate Resource Groups, or CRGs, which provide our business units with the services and support they need to help our clients and associates thrive. The events of 2020 forced our CRGs to change their entire way of working and develop new skills on the fly.
Risk Management started to focus on COVID-19 as early as January, when the virus began to impact our associates in China. In addition to providing insights about the pandemic, the Risk team monitored Baird’s trading activities when the markets were at their most volatile, protecting our clients from cybercriminals taking advantage of the disruption.
In March, much of the firm transitioned to a work-from-home environment. Before the pandemic, Baird had approximately 300 associates per day accessing the network remotely, but Information Technology quickly expanded our capabilities to allow nearly 4,000 associates remote access. With client transactions increasing at some points to five times normal levels, Operations had a crew continuing in the office in order to receive and send checks, while Finance worked to transition legacy paper-based processes to electronic delivery.
New Roles, New Skills
Private Wealth Management needed to maintain a skeleton crew in its offices, so the Real Estate team began to source and distribute PPE, work out contact tracing, and coordinate the deep-cleaning of the offices. They even found themselves partnering with distilleries to produce bourbon bottles filled with sanitizer. Collaboration between Real Estate, Risk, Human Resources, and Marketing & Communications led to ongoing, regular communication with all associates about safety and other concerns at our office buildings. Our increased internal communications included Culture sending out surveys to take the pulse of our associates and respond to their needs.
Every group had new challenges to face. Human Resources partnered with Real Estate to make sure that hiring could continue safely and transitioned all learning content to virtual formats while developing new content to support mental health issues. Corporate Events and Conference Services transitioned all events to a virtual format, learning new technologies in the process – everyone on the team became proficient in running a webcast. The Legal team sorted through the myriad of governmental orders on reopening our offices. Their colleagues in Compliance, who review branch locations every year, built out a protocol for “virtual visits” that would comply with pandemic regulations.
The coronavirus pandemic was not the only challenge facing Baird in 2020. After the death of George Floyd, Human Resources partnered with Prism, an associate group supporting diversity, to facilitate listening sessions across Baird, leveraging the bravery of Baird’s associates of color to share their stories. Real Estate remained focused on the delayed opening of a second headquarters in Louisville. Life and our business go on in many ways – none of which would be possible without our CRGs.
Baird’s commitment to integrity and outstanding performance begins at the top. The continuity of our leadership team is a key strength in building our expertise and enhancing client relationships.
The Baird Way is the responsibility that comes from understanding our business is about improving lives and futures for our clients, for each other and in the communities we share.
Baird's enduring culture and extraordinary people helped us through one of the most challenging years in the firm's existence.