Better Organizations by Design
Better Organizations by Design
Turning Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into a Strategic Advantage2022-06-13T23:25:30+00:00

CASE STUDY

How BOxD Turned Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into a Strategic Advantage

BOxD Client: Buckingham

A financial management firm wants to embed more diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into its culture.

CASE STUDY

How BOxD Turned Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into a Strategic Advantage

BOxD Client: Buckingham

A financial management firm wants to embed more diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into its culture.

CHALLENGE

Buckingham Wealth Partners wasn’t sure where to start to create a robust DEI program.

OUTCOME

The firm created a strong culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion while helping to bring more diversity to the financial planning industry at large. Now, the firm’s associates are empowered to continue to bring about positive change.

Buckingham Wealth Partners (BWP) is a financial management firm formed over 25 years ago. The founders made a promise to always do the right thing. They’ve consistently done their best to uphold that promise. But recently their path became less clear.

Wendy Hartman is President of Buckingham Strategic Wealth, a subsidiary of Buckingham Wealth Partners. Wendy and BWP’s Board of Directors were already talking about promoting more inclusiveness and diversity. They realized their industry as a whole was not very diverse and they wanted to do what they could to bring about change. They believed lack of access to financial resources is part of systemic oppression. If BWP wanted to serve a more diverse set of clients, they had to become a better company in that way. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the experience or expertise.

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We wanted to do something because it was true to our hearts, true to who we are. We didn’t want to just make a statement to make a statement. We wanted to do something that would really make an everlasting impact, that it was part of our culture, not just written words. This was really going to be aligned and be inclusive of everyone within our firm.

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Wendy Hartman, President of Buckingham Strategic Wealth
Wendy Hartman, President of Buckingham Strategic Wealth

Wendy Hartman President of Buckingham Wealth Partners

The Solution

After interviewing around 20 companies, Wendy’s team came across Better Organizations by Design (BOxD) and knew right away it was a good fit. As Wendy said, “It felt like even though we hadn’t hired them yet, we were already brainstorming. And they opened up so many new thoughts to reach our goals.”

BWP realized they were embarking on a journey where there was a lot they didn’t know. Said Wendy, “BOxD helped us to think about our firm’s culture, our demographics, and all the areas of DEI. Really they helped us become change agents in our own industry.”

The BOxD consultants started with a discovery process that included a survey of all associates. They also formed focus groups of associates and interviewed the Board and executive leaders. BOxD lead the entire process internally and kept all feedback and information confidential. They created a safe space for these conversations, which can become emotionally charged. BOxD had the knowledge and experience to be an effective thought leader and coach. They helped BWP build trust with their associates through openness and transparency.

Some ways BOxD helped BWP include:

  • Outlining goals and measurable objectives.
  • Coaching Human Resources to incorporate DEI in recruitment efforts.
  • Creating clear promotion criteria for different roles.
  • Developing a template for performance management standards.
  • Identifying a consultant to perform compensation studies.
  • Training management on how to look at the organization through a DEI lens.

Possibly most importantly, BOxD would review internal communication, both written and video. The consultants provided BWP feedback to ensure all messaging was on point and would resonate with the goals and objectives. They kept the communications fluid and transparent as they brought the entire organization along. Wendy said, “Building trust was important when discussing sensitive topics and BOxD was instrumental in ensuring we were communicating with sensitivity while being transparent.”

The Results

BOxD helped BWP establish a DEI Council, which Wendy is very proud of. BOxD helped determine how to structure the Council. They also helped design the interview process to find the members.

Another great accomplishment was the creation of training called Foundations for Belonging. BOxD trained the Board and the executive leadership team. They also created a train-the-trainer program to ensure everyone in the organization receives the same high level of training.

BOxD also helped BWP form associate resource groups. These are groups with shared concerns, values, or ideals where the employees have a safe space to talk. As Wendy said, “Providing a more formalized place means our associates are able to share their ideas. They are able to see how they can also move change forward within Buckingham. We’ve got groups made up of associates throughout the entire geographies we span. They are able to have that safe place, share those best practices. Then also continue to educate themselves and think about how they can educate others on issues specific to the particular group.”

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We knew BOxD could become that partner for us to help build an effective DEI framework that would bring lasting change to our firm and impact the lives of our associates, our clients, and really build the legacy that would carry us forward.

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Wendy Hartman, President of Buckingham Strategic Wealth
Wendy Hartman, President of Buckingham Strategic Wealth

Wendy Hartman President of Buckingham Wealth Partners

“We came into this knowing what we wanted to do,” Wendy said. “But we came knowing we weren’t sure how to start, or where to go. BOxD was able to provide us with everything we needed to be successful and more.”

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