Fifth Third Bank sets example for workplace diversity & inclusion

By: Sylvia Stahl, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Establishing a diverse and inclusive workplace is no easy feat – but it’s one Fifth Third Bank has welcomed with open arms.

“At Fifth Third Bank, we strive to be the One Bank people – all people – must value and trust. We are an intentionally inclusive, diverse and thriving community where we strive to create an environment where each person feels valued, respected and understood,” said Vice President, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Stephanie Smith. “We are able to bring our authentic selves and our best thinking into the workplace to fully leverage the power of both our diversity and our commonality at work and in the communities in which we are located.”

Fifth Third Bank knows that to establish a specific type of workplace culture, beginning from within is the place to start. Under the leadership of CEO Greg Carmichael, Fifth Third has established various programs within its diversity and inclusive mission. From its Fifth Third’s Women in Leadership program, to supporting their active duty military employees, Fifth Third works hard to develop a more diverse workplace.

“At Fifth Third, our support for inclusion and diversity starts with our CEO, Greg Carmichael. He was among the leading group of CEOs who signed the CEO Act!on for Diversity and Inclusion initiative,” states Smith. “Whether it’s Fifth Third’s Women in Leadership program that supports our high potential women leaders; our updated military leave policy to support our active duty military employees; our multicultural recruitment strategy that establishes relationships with multiple colleges to hire and retain the best and brightest diverse students; Project SEARCH that supports individuals with disabilities so they can gain the necessary skills for competitive employment- these efforts have all been accomplished through collaboration. Of course there is trial and error and we want that. That makes us better in the long run.”

Continuing from within, Fifth Third employees bear witness to the organizations commitment to supporting a more inclusive workplace with their employees’ viewpoint survey and their inclusion and diversity strategy. Through its employee viewpoint survey, Fifth Third is able to leverage the perspectives of their employees to gain better outcomes. The bank tracks specific questions related to inclusion and diversity, to ensure consistent engagement and confirm that they’re headed in the right direction. Fifth Third Bank’s Inclusion and Diversity strategy also directly aligns with its $32 Billion Community Commitment, with significant investments being made in small diverse businesses and efforts that drive economic inclusion. As a result of these efforts, Fifth Third has received many Top Workplace awards and other recognitions throughout the Bank’s 10-state footprint.

“Currently, 43% of the 75 million Millennials in the U.S. identify as African American, Hispanic or Asian and if a brand doesn’t have a multicultural strategy, it doesn’t have a growth strategy,” continues Smith. “The decisions we make around inclusion and diversity are impacting how our employees show up at work, how they interact with our customers and how they deliver in our communities. Inclusion and diversity is about how we treat one another and improving our ability to hear, see and support one another is the most important part of my job and the best part.”

In 2019, Fifth Third Bank received the Premier Health Workplace Diversity award, presented by the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. This award recognizes organizations and companies dedicated to serving their communities, with diversity and inclusion at the forefront of their mission. For employees Fifth Third Bank, it means their hard work has paid off.

“Fifth Third is honored to have received the Premier Health Workplace Diversity award. This type of recognition says that we are headed in the right direction and supports how we want to show up in the marketplace. Receiving the Premier Health Workplace Diversity award also motivates us to keep pushing forward on the conversation on inclusion and diversity,” said Smith. “Reach out to your peers and colleagues for help and advice. Inclusion and diversity is a conversation that we can all share.”