“Employee Networks are Culture Carriers”

WeAreOpen is thrilled to collaborate with BlackRock, a leader in fostering Employee Resource Group (ERG) initiatives. We are honored to feature an interview with Bea Juvancz, MD at BlackRock, who shares valuable insights into their successful ERG initiatives and the importance of such programs in creating inclusive workplace environments.

BlackRock has made a public commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Can you discuss how this commitment translates into actionable strategies and initiatives?

BlackRock’s DEI practices are grounded in our business needs as a global firm. One of our core beliefs is that a diverse workforce with an inclusive and connected culture is a commercial imperative and indispensable to our success. BlackRock prioritizes creating a work environment where all employees can thrive. Ultimately, a dynamic, inclusive organization allows us to attract and retain the best people around the world and to stay ahead of where our clients are going. We believe that diversity of thought, experiences, and backgrounds, in all its forms, help BlackRock build stronger and better teams, avoid group think, and solve tough problems, today and in the future.

We developed our core principle of “One BlackRock” to empower our employees to work towards the same collective goals. In June 2020, BlackRock set the foundation for a Global DEI strategy for the firm that would set in motion a series of commitments to drive meaningful and measurable change for BlackRock and support the communities in which we operate. BlackRock’s three-pillar strategy is aligned with our business priorities and long-term objectives:

I. Our talent and culture. We attract, develop,and retain top talent by cultivating an inclusive work environment where everyone has fair access to opportunities and feels seen, heard, valued, and respected.
II. Our activities to support interested clients. We expand investment choices and business partnership opportunities by maintaining a network of diverse brokers, managers, and suppliers to meet the needs of interested clients, consistent
with our fiduciary duty.
III. Our impact on underserved communities. We contribute to the long-term success of underserved communities and help more and more people experience financial well-being through our BlackRock philanthropy and employee-led volunteer efforts.

Bea Juvancz, Head of BlackRock Budapest

BlackRock’s commitment to understanding its employees’ experience involves intently listening to its people. The collective voice of BlackRock employees helps shape and improve the employee experience at the firm. As part of its efforts to provide a more inclusive culture, BlackRock deploys a number of strategies to gauge employee sentiment across engagement, enablement, cultural connectivity, and well-being. BlackRock also analyzes Employee Opinion Survey results against our Inclusion Index, which measures favorable sentiment related to fairness, psychological safety, belonging, and trust. The firm continues to enhance our practices to improve the experience for all employees.

Could you provide an overview of the structure and purpose of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) within BlackRock’s Budapest office?

What is the primary objective of having ERGs in place? Our global networks are dynamic communities built on shared experiences, intersectionality, and allyship. We have experienced a significant increase in our network membership with over 90% of our employees participating in at least one network. Our network leaders and members are culture carriers for the firm, and our network offer employees and allies the opportunity to enhance and shape our culture. Employee networks are sponsored by senior leaders and are proudly designed and run by employees, for employees. Today, we have 18 employee, professional, an impact networks which come together in a fo- rum called Mosaic. Mosaic is the network of networks that works across the many populations and groups within the firm to focus on shared interests. It is open to all employees as a forum to share best practices, showcase comradery, and reinforce our One BlackRock principle. The networks play a vital role in supporting our strategic objectives by providing platforms for professional development, community build- ing, cultural initiatives, and driving inclusion in our office.

Download our ERG Toolkit to Create Successful Employee Communities

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Daniel Waliduda introduces Out and Allies Network at BlackRock

How does leadership at BlackRock demonstrate their support for ERGs in Budapest and in what ways do ERGs collaborate with local leadership to advance DEI objectives and drive meaningful change?

Leadership at BlackRock demonstrates their support for the networks in the Budapest office through various means, playing a pivotal role in fostering the success of these groups. For instance, leaders actively participate in network activities, providing visibility and credibility to the initiatives, which is crucial for the integration and impact of these groups within the firm. Moreover, networks have executive sponsors, leaders at BlackRock, who offer guidance to networks. This leadership support is a testament to BlackRock’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment where diverse perspectives are valued and leveraged for the firm’s success.

In the Budapest office, the monthly Mosaic forum serves as a strategic platform for our networks to convene. During these meetings, network leads and members discuss their strategies and plans, explore common interests, and seek opportunities for collaboration across networks. This forum is essential for fostering a cohesive approach to DEI initiatives and ensuring that all networks are aligned with BlackRock’s DEI efforts. The Mosaic meetings are not only a place for strategy alignment but also a space for sharing best practices and learning from each other’s experiences. All network leads are well-informed about DEI strategic initiatives and integrate these principles into their annual plans. By doing so, BlackRock’s Budapest office demonstrates a proactive and structured approach to advancing DEI, with Mosaic playing a central role in this endeavor. The forum’s monthly meetings are pivotal in maintaining momentum, ensuring shared responsibility, and supporting inclusion within the organization.

WeAreOpen's ERG workshop at Blackrock

Can you discuss any notable examples of collaboration between ERGs within BlackRock’s Budapest office, or perhaps collaboration between ERGs across different locations?

All Networks in Budapest have links to their Regional and Global Network leaders and work together at the Network level on one side. Besides this, our local networks add local value to the office while aligning with DEI and Office strategy. For example, the Neurodiversity panels, organized this year, are a testament to the collaborative spirit within BlackRock’s Budapest office. They serve as a platform for discussing and understanding the spectrum of neurodiversity, promoting inclusion, and fostering a supportive environment for all employees. The collaboration between Families & Allies at BlackRock (FAB) and Ability & Allies Network (ABN) in hosting these panels demonstrates the shared interests and commitment to collaboration. The panels also provide an opportunity for employees to engage in meaningful conversations, share experiences, and learn from one another. This collaborative effort not only enhances the understanding of neurodiversity but also strengthens the networks’ impact on the office culture and employee engagement. Such initiatives are part of a broader strategy to ensure that all Budapest-based networks are connected to their Regional and Global Network leads. This connection facilitates the sharing of best practices, resources, and strategic alignment across different levels of the organization. The success of these panels and other network collaborations within the Budapest office is indicative of the proactive approach BlackRock takes in fostering employee participation and engagement.

Download our ERG Toolkit to Create Successful Employee Communities

ERG workshop by WeAreOpen
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What challenges have you encountered in managing and supporting ERGs within the Budapest office, and what lessons have been learned from addressing these challenges?

Our networks, while global in membership, need to ensure their offerings resonate locally.

Looking towards the future, what is the outlook for ERGs within BlackRock’s Budapest office? Are there any new initiatives or areas of focus hat you’re particularly excited about?

The outlook for networks within BlackRock’s Budapest office is promising, with a strong commitment to building an inclusive and connected culture. Our philosophy of working as One BlackRock is central to our strategy, which is evident through various strategic initiatives we undertake, and multitude of networks that are present in the Budapest office. As we move forward, we will continue to enhance our networks. A recent example we are proud of is the Women in Tech (WIT) community which launched earlier this year with the goal to help BLK women find a tech cohort, share knowledge and grow careers. In fact, the idea for WIT has been the brainchild of the Budapest and Serbia BLK offices.

In summary, the future for networks at BlackRock’s Budapest office is focused on strategic initiatives with an emphasis on talent development, leadership, and social impact. We are particularly enthusiastic about the potential impact of this toolkit with WeAreOpen, which will further our efforts in creating an inclusive and connected work environment.

Download our ERG Toolkit to Create Successful Employee Communities

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