Training Top 125 Best Practice: TIAA’s Journey to Inclusion (JTI)

TIAA’s Journey to Inclusion program has been offered via facilitated classes, Webinars, and online self-paced learning, and focuses on four behaviors demonstrated by research and TIAA’s internal analysis to drive inclusion.

A provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural, and government fields, TIAA is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment that promotes the diversity of its people and values the inclusion of perspectives to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse global client base. TIAA’s enterprise Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategy focuses on three pillars:

  • Workforce: It attracts, develops, and retains a diverse workforce that represents and understands its client base. By embedding D&I into its programs and processes, TIAA better reflects the broad spectrum of its client base so it can more effectively respond to their interests and needs.
  • Workplace: TIAA fosters a culture that actively champions diversity and inclusion. It strives to help employees feel the impact of D&I by creating moments that matter to them, building an environment in which they can be authentically themselves. TIAA’s inclusive culture values the diverse backgrounds of employees focusing on employee engagement and a deeper connection to the business.
  • Marketplace: The organization prioritizes D&I as a key driver of business outcomes. It enhances its external brand by continuously benchmarking via external relationships, participating in award programs, engaging with diverse suppliers, and strongly observing compliance mandates.

Based on culture survey results and workforce trends, TIAA launched the Journey to Inclusion (JTI) program in 2015. Since its launch, the program has provided concrete inclusion tools for managers in everyday decision-making as to hiring, coaching, providing feedback, and developing diverse teams. 

Program Details

The overall program has been offered via facilitated classes, Webinars, and online self-paced learning, and focuses on four behaviors demonstrated by research and TIAA’s internal analysis to drive inclusion: 

1. Initiate: Being curious about those who are different from you. This behavior looks to overcome the “similarity attraction effect” by changing one’s mindset when it comes to differences and using curiosity to build deeper, stronger relationships.

2. Influence: Challenging stereotypes and focusing on fairness in decision-making. This behavior looks at how to overcome unconscious bias through cognitive tools, as well as by calling out potential bias and assumptions in others.

3. Invest: Looking for common ground and making others feel welcome. This behavior focuses on overcoming the “bystander effect”—what stops individuals from taking action in critical situations—through practice of appropriate ways of challenging behavior that excludes people who are different.

4. Inspire: Stepping in and speaking up when exclusion is occurring. This behavior mitigates in-group/out-group biases by increasing awareness and giving employees the skills to create a sense of belonging, even with a diverse group of people.

After each session, innovative activation tools are provided to participants to support their continued journey. 


JTI participation rates are: 

  • 63 percent individual contributor
  • 100 percent executive and senior leadership

While culture and behavior change is a longer-term endeavor, the JTI program has driven stronger 2017 culture survey scores among those who completed the training as compared to those who have not.

  • “Differing opinions are openly discussed in reaching decisions in my work team,” the percentage of employees responding favorable was 86 percent for trained employees vs. 76 percent for non-trained.
  • “My manager is curious about people different from him/her”—77 percent of employees whose manager completed training vs. 68 percent of employees whose manager had not.
  • “My manager steps in to address exclusion when it occurs”—74 percent of employees whose manager completed training vs. 70 percent of employees whose manager had not.
  • “My thoughts, ideas, input, and questions are valued”—82 percent of employees whose manager completed training vs. 77 percent of employees whose manager had not.

In addition, Employee Resource Group (ERG) membership has increased from 18 percent to 41 percent of the legacy TIAA workforce since 2015.

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