Our team at Howard Fischer Associates has long touted the benefits of diversity, working closely with our clients to help them strategically recruit and hire diverse candidates who will make an impact.

Similarly, we’ve prioritized efforts to improve diversity and initiate conversations within our own organization. We recently brought together a group of employees to organize and grow our Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DE&I) committee.

Below, committee members Elisa Dolan and Jamal Elmidge share more about the committee’s purpose and evolution.

The Background

Reflecting on the past year and the current climate in our nation, we knew that we could do much more to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive company culture, despite having a diverse workforce. It’s easy to make a statement about commitment to diversity, but we wanted to take real action.

We created a DE&I Committee comprised of voluntary members from every level within our firm, representing different races, religions, ages, etc. The committee’s mission is to drive an open culture that embraces and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, both internally at HFA and externally with our clients, candidates, and the broader community. This means:

  • Improving diversity at every level of our internal team.
  • Partnering with clients to enhance diversity efforts.
  • Leveraging strategic partnerships to help cultivate a diverse pipeline of talent for our clients.
  • Participating and investing in organizations where we work and live that prioritize and champion DE&I.

Our Progress

The committee has already made a significant impact. Every month it curates and deploys an internal DE&I newsletter. It also dedicates time during HFA all-hands staff meetings for DE&I discussion on current events, concerns, and best practices.

Additionally, the committee is focused on creating standard diversity guidelines for business development, search execution, and ongoing client consultation. This includes evaluating various training courses by HFA researchers on external diversity and sourcing strategies and rolling them out across the firm.

One unexpected highlight that has sprung up from the committee is how close our offices have become. Instead of being siloed, especially with remote work, the committee has fostered a greater sense of community among our team.

HFA is in a unique position, with a focus on both internal and external diversity practices. As many of our clients seek diverse candidates and to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, our committee has also implemented strategies to support that need.

Sub-committees now address internal best practices that can then be shared with clients as they start their searches. The committee has also implemented a detailed tracking system of diversity metrics for candidates and placements to evaluate progress and address potential gaps.

Moving Forward

Our size enables us to efficiently see where we’ve made progress and where we need to do better. DE&I is a journey, not a destination, and one of the aspects about which everyone on the committee agrees is maintaining momentum.

The committee continues to ask itself, “Do we represent what we’re talking about?” It’s essential to the committee, and HFA as a whole, to focus on bringing in great people, regardless of open positions. And while time can be a barrier to improving diversity, the committee is continually learning, evolving paths, and committing to the work ahead. Since its inception, the DE&I committee has met with other organizations on both a local and national level to educate each other mutually. The committee has implemented best practices it’s learned into an overall mission so that everyone can keep moving forward.

DE&I is a moving target, and research, compassion, understanding, and knowledge go a long way in creating a more diverse, equal, and inclusive environment. We look forward to continued progress and finding additional ways to support and grow our commitment to diversity, while helping our clients to do the same.