At Verus, we embraced diversity long before it became an HR program or a PR move in response to public demands for increased social awareness. We did not set out with a mission statement to hire people that would allow us to create a diverse workforce. Rather, in being singularly focused on hiring the best talent, we have assembled a team of employees that create a good cultural fit because they share skill sets and the motivation to learn and truly contribute to the organi-zation. As it just so happens, they reflect the best of our diverse society.
Here is a snapshot of who Verus is. Our founders themselves come from diverse backgrounds. With 120 employees on staff:
- 73% of our workforce is female; women comprise 50% of our management team
- 49% of our team are millennials; 32% are Gen X, and 19% are baby boomers
- 59% of employees are white; 18% are black; 16% are Asian; 5% are Hispanic, and 2% are other ethnicities
- Among our staff, we speak 21 different languages.
As a result, we have taken steps to not only support the needs of our diverse talent pool, but maximize its potential in a number of ways.
We celebrate our differences. We take every opportunity to celebrate each other’s holidays and cultures regularly, whether through employee appreciation events, paid holidays or incorporating traditions from distinct cultures into the organization’s “social calendar.” A few company favorites include celebrating Diwali, an annual “Islands Lunch” to cele-brate the cultures and food from various islands of the world and a year-end party inclusive of all holidays of the season.
We welcome everyone’s contributions. A diverse workforce feels welcomed and accepted, which directly affects how comfortable and empowered employees feel when presenting ideas and addressing challenges—and they are invit-ed to present new ideas or solutions to problems. Verus employees feel a sense of inclusion, which drives employee engagement at all levels.
For example, through an initiative called the Verus Café, employees are encouraged to research and build support for their proposed ideas with each other before bringing them to management for review. Ergonomic workstations, bring-your-dog-to-work days and a game room are just a few ideas from the Café.
Our firm accommodates different learning styles. Verus has implemented a learning management system to meet the divergent needs of how people learn new technology and acquire new skills. From training videos to robust, hands-on training programs, our management team knows how important it is to our professional development to allow people of varying ages, backgrounds, and cultures learn in a setting that is best suited to them. Our team is comprised of visual, auditory, kinesthetic and reading/writing learners, as well as those who learn best from a combination of styles. Verus’ training department aims to suit all learning styles and learners with varied backgrounds to best optimize employee growth and development.
And Verus and its clients have benefitted in the process.
We have built a better rapport with claimants. Verus recognizes the diversity of the claimants we serve. Our diverse employee base speaks the same languages of claimants from diverse backgrounds and is better able to relate to and understand their context. As a result, the firm is better able to earn a claimant’s trust so that they can communicate more comfortably about their story to us – something especially important in cases involving abuse. This, in turn, has allowed them to obtain more of the information necessary for the litigation to progress.
Our company’s diverse skills and abilities help us better meet business challenges. Successful corporate leaders understand that a diverse team brings a unique perspective to the workplace, a client matter, or a business problem.
Companies want to do business with us. Verus has built a positive corporate reputation that companies want to align with.
And, as the face of the mass tort bar continues to change to include more people of color, women, and younger attorneys, we believe those firms that embrace diversity will want to work with partners that share their values to more effectively compete in this landscape.
We attract and retain top talent. Verus has grown aggressively in the last year and has not only been able to successfully attract top talent in a competitive market (staff has grown by more than 26% in 2020), our tenure rate is note-worthy, too, at an average of five years at the end of 2020. They know firsthand that for companies that prioritize cultural inclusivity, prospective employees from myriad backgrounds will seek out and want to stay and grow with the organization.
By seeking out the best talent, Verus’ workforce naturally reflects the diverse nature of our world, which underscores exactly why creating an inclusionary environment can come more easily to those businesses that are both open minded and keenly focused on the business success it brings.
Lori Todaro is the chief resource officer at Verus LLC, a Princeton-based litigation support services firm serving mass tort and class action attorneys nationwide.