TD Bank is broadening its diversity, equity and inclusion goals and connecting employees through anti-racism e-learnings, promoting intersectionality and a storytelling approach.

During the month of February, which is Black History Month, many employers in Canada and around the world are furthering their commitments to making their workplaces more equitable and inclusive. On the heels of the death of George Floyd in May 2020, Black Lives Matters rallies held around the globe last summer shone a bright light on an array of social-justice issues. At that time many organizations, including TD, spoke out about how they planned to address these issues as an employer of a diverse workforce. In mid-July 2020, the bank announced in a press release it would work toward doubling the representation of Black executives by the end of 2022 and increase minority executive representation across the bank by 50 per cent, with 25 per cent of its leaders hailing from these communities, by 2025.

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But the organization’s efforts didn’t stop there, according to Girish Ganesan, global head of diversity and inclusion at TD Bank Group and head of talent at TD Bank in the U.S. Although the bank already had a diversity and inclusion program, comprised of different pillars — women in leadership; visible minorities; people with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit plus; Indigenous peoples and veterans — seven months ago, the bank added its Black experience pillar. The organization also expanded its existing Black employee resource group, started in Canada in 2007, into the U.S. and initiated mandatory bank-wide, e-learning training programs dedicated to understanding the experience of the Black communities, anti-Black racism and anti-racism. In the past, TD has also launched e-learning training programs on Indigenous cultures awareness, which 96 per cent of its Canadian employees have completed, as well as on gender identity and expression.

As well, Ganesan says the bank has held many employee-led virtual forums, creating a safe space for colleagues to talk about race, anti-Black racism and anti-racism in general. In the fall of 2020, it held an annual diversity and inclusion summit with approximately 6,700 employees virtually attending from across the globe. The event was designed in a way that allowed for a segment in which employees were able to share their stories and experience. And last year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, its benefits department collaborated with the people with disabilities group to disseminate resources on mental-health topics, including personal stories from employees and the various TD resources they used for their own betterment.

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Ganesan points out TD knows there’s still much work to be done in its endeavour to make the organization a place where employees can see themselves and where they can bring their whole selves to work. In this spirit, Ganesan says the organization has focused on intersectionality, bringing together people who may fall under, or who seek greater understanding of, more than one pillar. During this Black History Month, the women in leadership group joined with the Black experience group for an event spurring open conversation on living intentionally when it comes to allyship, biased behaviours and how intentional living can help employees navigate uncertain times.  The LGBTQ2+ and Indigenous Peoples groups have also teamed up to host an art event that explored understanding of the unique lived experiences of both communities’ members.

In addition, within its learning system, he says the bank’s developed a diversity-and-inclusion pathway, bringing all related content, including some of the e-learning courses, to employees in multiple ways and that’s accessible through an employee’s life cycle at the bank, including being embedded into the onboarding and inclusive leadership programs.

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