While we’ve always been a mission-driven organization that’s supportive of associates and dedicated to creating an awesome work environment, we knew we needed to do more. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council was already in the process of forming the Better Together Program when Covid-19 hit and then social justice movements were sparked in 2020.
It was a tremendous honor when Forbes recently published an article, Meet America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2021, and Nelnet made the list of the top 500 – coming in at 368. Partnering with market research company Statista, Forbes anonymously surveyed more than 50,000 American workers at businesses employing 1,000 people or more. Employees rated their employers on age, gender, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation equality, as well as general diversity. Finalists were those who received the most recommendations and also had the most diverse boards and executive ranks, as well as proactive diversity and inclusion initiatives.
While we’re honored to have made the list, from the inside looking out, we know we’re just getting started. With Better Together, our goal is to provide opportunities for all associates and help them develop cultural competence in all areas of business and personal interactions. We believe in celebrating diversity, promoting inclusivity, and ensuring equity. These are part of our core values and purpose.
In a recent blog post, we talked about initiatives already in place, such as the Nelnet Mentorship Program, Training Courses, weekly DEI Spotlights in the Nelnet Communications newsletter, and Small Group Conversations. These initiatives put insightful conversation and learning to the forefront for associates – and we’re also forming dedicated Associate Resource Groups to help associates with similar interests to grow their professional network and give back to our business areas and communities.
There will be more on the horizon. We know that the steps we’re taking now as an organization will help us better serve our associates, make Nelnet an even better place to work in the future, and help us to be a better leader in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.