At Hancock Whitney, a focus on diversity and inclusion is rooted in every aspect of the business.
When the company is hiring new talent, steps are taken to make sure jobs are advertised on multiple websites to ensure a diverse slate of candidates. Hancock Whitney is poised to launch a corporate internship program in 2021 focusing on students from a broad range of colleges, universities and diverse student organizations, A community development team helps ensure Hancock Whitney offers opportunities to a diverse client base and all areas of the communities they serve.
“We have a broad array of initiatives and we are continuing to think about how to make those even better, deeper and broader and become even more engaged with our communities,” said Hancock Whitney Chief Operating Officer Shane Loper. “Having a diverse community as your client base is something that really makes the organization strong, just as having diverse associates makes us a stronger company.”
Tamela Seymour, Hancock Whitney’s talent acquisition director, said the company is proud to have established relationships with local colleges and universities as well as partnerships with employment websites focused on diversity recruitment. More recently, the attention has been on how to leverage those relationships and expand partnerships even further.
“Our focus now is on how we increase our diversity recruitment efforts,” Seymour said. “We’ve seen positive results and continue to explore ways we can get more intentional, creative and expand selection tools to further build on our diversity hiring."
To help enhance Hancock Whitney’s diversity work, the company created an associate-led internal diversity and inclusion council last year. In April, the company named Tamara Wyre as its first diversity and inclusion director.
“Our leadership looks to the council as an opportunity to build upon our diversity practices anchored in our three diversity pillars of communication, diversity education and inclusive experiences,” Wyre said. “Inclusion is fundamental to Hancock Whitney’s core value of Teamwork. It is our purpose to help people and make sure we are showing up in a way that is reflective of our values.”
Wyre said there are many benefits to having a diverse and inclusive workforce. For example, she noted that one study found that ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform their competitors. Seymour said there is also evidence that a diverse workforce enhances everyone’s daily experiences.
“When we’re successful in creating diverse teams that foster creativity, our associates are more engaged and dedicated to the team," Seymour said. “A diverse workforce allows us to make a difference in the communities we serve.”
In her work of fostering an inclusive culture, Wyre said she keeps in mind a popular saying among those who work in diversity, equity and inclusion: diversity means being invited to the party, inclusion means being asked to dance while belonging is dancing like ‘no one is watching’.
“We really want our associates to embrace this concept because we understand that if you cannot show up in your full humanity at work, something is being left on the table,” Wyre said. “We know our associates, our communities, our shareholders, and our society deserve more.”
Wyre said one new initiative is Courageous Conversations, where Hancock Whitney associates can discuss their feelings about diversity-related topics, giving their workforce an opportunity to listen, learn and show grace to each other. There has also been renewed focus on ensuring associates and leadership are intentional with words and actions to make sure they are consistently being inclusive to all.
“The response has been motivating,” Wyre said. “The common theme is that the associates are encouraged with the stance leadership has taken. They were energized and hopeful with the creation of the council and my new role. Those are all intentional actions to support the importance of what diversity and inclusion means to our organization, both now and in the future.”