Rebecca Patterson, Director of Investment Research, recently joined a panel discussion on diversity in the asset management industry hosted by The Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) and Scotiabank. The panel covered best practices for approaching diversity in the workplace, how to set clear goals and measure progress through time and how to foster inclusive environments in the midst of a global pandemic.
Rebecca stressed the importance of embedding D&I into the foundation of a company through leadership that recognizes the value of diverse and inclusive workplaces and puts those beliefs into action. She explained how Bridgewater’s approach to diversity and inclusion mirrors the firm’s approach to any other aspect of its business — striving to make decisions in a systematic way that compounds knowledge and learns from mistakes through time. Similarly, Bridgewater’s approach to D&I includes both quantitative and qualitative metrics to help set priorities, determine what success looks like, and maintain a clear picture of the path to achieving them, she explained.
The group also discussed the current pandemic and the implications for D&I. Like many firms, Bridgewater is experimenting with different modes for human connection in a virtual world, and the challenges for inclusion such an environment presents. In particular, Rebecca described how the evolution of Bridgewater’s benefits program has played a key role in fostering a more inclusive environment during the pandemic, noting the enhancement of the firm's sick day and parental leave policies, which have encouraged employees to prioritize their mental health and spend more time with their families.
The panel agreed that for many companies across the asset management space, the pandemic has proven to be a stress test for commitments to D&I. Rebecca closed out the conversation by looking beyond the immediate remote work climate and encouraged everyone to be intentional about making time to informally engage with teammates over the long-term, something she practices and finds particularly helpful for enhancing employees’ sense of belonging.
A link to the full panel is here: https://wsw.com/webcast/bns4/panel5/1790355