“We have an opportunity to build a legacy, to give people a sense of connection.”
Building Our Mosaic
What We’ve Learned Along the Way
Building a truly inclusive workplace requires every RSM professional to be committed to doing their part to advance diversity and inclusion across the firm and within our communities. RSM is home to thousands of professionals whose experiences are as varied as the world around us, and more than half have engaged in our employee network groups to help build and actively participate in a culture of inclusion.
While changing behaviors takes time, building a culture of inclusion starts with listening and understanding one another’s experiences. Through our inclusive programs and practices, we have cultivated a workplace that celebrates and values the varied perspectives that each of our people brings to the firm. We call it the power of being you. Each member of our team brings unique personalities, insights and perspectives on inclusion in the communities where we live and work.
We foster culture, diversity and inclusion (CDI) through training programs, collaborative summits and other internal resources that enable open, honest dialogues and evolved thinking. Together, these strategies empower RSM to develop global leadership, integrate cultural differences, raise intercultural competencies, improve workforce productivity and exceed the expectations of our clients. Our differences fuel our insights.
Annual CDI Leadership Summit
The year 2020 marked the seventh year of our annual CDI Leadership Summit. The two-day event, attended by hundreds of key leaders from across the firm’s 87 offices in the United States and four offices in Canada, kicked off with a video history of CDI—in the accounting industry and at RSM. At the summit, our Managing Partner and CEO Joe Adams and other leaders shared personal thoughts on the importance of inclusion and the value of a caring workforce—for our colleagues, our communities and our clients. Interactive sessions, workshops and exercises encouraged participants to generate ideas to improve diversity and inclusion, while panels and facilitated conversations explored multiple perspectives.
Resources for Practicing Inclusion
Organizations have an opportunity to take action by investing in and engaging as allies and facilitators in matters related to diversity, equity and inclusion. At RSM, we have introduced resources and guidelines for those who want to be a part of driving meaningful change and creating a more equitable future.
Allyship is an important component of advocating for equity and inclusivity. It is a mindset we encourage in our leaders and our teams. RSM’s Allies in Racial Understanding and Inclusion outlines 10 steps individuals can take to be allies.
Courageous conversations form the basis for deeper understanding and empathy. They challenge us to push ourselves beyond what is comfortable to hear a variety of perspectives. Our Courageous Conversation Guide outlines ground rules to create a safe space for candor and honesty.
Curated learning playlists help educate our people on issues of race, unconscious bias, managing bias and cultural dexterity.
Training and Professional Development
RSM’s learning and professional development (LPD) team executes national training and professional development programs across the firm, and has integrated CDI into our annual, national firm-wide training program. LPD has also launched more specific CDI trainings that raise awareness and enhance success by helping everyone understand the importance of cultural dexterity and diversity, and to adopt inclusive behaviors. We also support clients with this training as they seek best practices in equity and inclusive behavior.
Our employee network groups (ENGs) also host diversity education and professional development events at the regional and local levels. Our CEO and other senior leaders host and encourage attendance at our learning events.
CDI mentoring program pilot
Our employee network groups help build relationships, expand best practices and bridge the inclusion gap between our people. In this year’s virtual environment, the need for connectivity and mentorship has been more important than ever. That’s why we launched a pilot CDI mentorship program, beginning with our STAR (Stewardship, Teamwork, Advancement and Retention of Women), AACE (African American and Canadian Excellence) and ¡HOLA! (Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Advancement) ENG members. This one-year engagement provides support and advice to mentees, as well as opportunities to serve as mentors. The program gives our people a safe space to connect through respectful, open conversations.
Every year, RSM is committed to designating time to have candid conversations with each other. In 2021, we held a National Week of Understanding in May. The goal was to set aside time to reflect, discuss and advance our understanding of race and inclusion. Our people shared personal video messages with their perspectives to foster inclusive interactions.
Meet Gary Jenkins
Federal Tax Partner, Florida Tax Leader, AACE, FAMILY FIRST, ¡HOLA!, MULTICULTURAL, STAR AND VALOR MEMBER
When Joe [Adams, RSM Managing Partner and CEO] asked that I get involved in the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, I was open to learning more. I am located in the state of Florida, and while I am not Hispanic, I joined our firm’s ¡HOLA! employee network group. I learned about the community and culture of those I work with every day, what makes them unique and our cultural differences and similarities. It was a safe place to ask questions that I maybe wouldn't have otherwise. While all of the new things I was learning made me a bit uncomfortable at first, now I feel accepted and more engaged as a leader and an ally. I am a firm believer that culture, diversity and inclusion are critical aspects of any thriving business or community. We have an opportunity to build a legacy, to give people a sense of connection and to foster communities and workplaces where everyone feels welcome.
Looking to start a conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion? Whether at work, at home or elsewhere, this checklist highlights some of RSM’s most powerful suggestions and guidelines for navigating tough conversations and building a more inclusive workforce and society.