Moss Adams and Forum W: The Efforts of Bringing Gender Equity in the Leadership Track

Women are gradually owning their chance to gain their dream goal rather than dropping off the job. This manifests outstandingly through the Moss Adams' project named Forum W. Dive in to uncover their unique trajectory & the hidden gem along the way!
Moss Adams female staff in a leadership workshop
Courtesy: Moss Adams
By | 11 min read

Founded in 1913, Moss Adam has more than 100 years in supplying accounting, tax, and consulting services. Throughout a protracted time, the largest Seattle-based firm has faced many genuine issues but for one changing culture core, Moss Adams is now known to be ranked in the top accounting firms list of the Accounting Today 2019 report. The firm has shared the same problems with all the others company- female employee’s dropout rate is getting higher and higher. When male and female graduators have the same roles and start at the same time, the male one is always getting the higher level, meanwhile, woman is still struggling to stand out and get the place they deserve.

What Is about the Feminist Movements and Why It Is the Most Inquisitive Topic

Women’s rights revolution has become viral since the 19th century, and it is still going on up to now. Women has taken back many rights they are supposed to have but they still have to deal with many disadvantages in their life, education, and career path. Thus, woman employees who tries to overcome the drawbacks normally get no support from either the company or the society. But nowadays, increased woman influential female leaders have stated that they will not give up and make an enormous impact on the world economy. Nevertheless, it still be a long road for the woman to get employee support.

From Insight to Action

Women have always been considered as the under responsiveness for prominent levels and have the highest turnover rate in any kind of occupation. Women in the partnership need to manage not only the working-time but also the family-responsibility. Being in various roles such as a mother, a wife, and a worker at the same time, typically pull women off their career. Without any especial support or assistant, an enormous number of women would choose to drop-off their jobs, and many find it difficult for them to be as the leader role rather than men due to the lack of training and specific knowledge updating. Apprehending the obstacle, Moss Adams has run the women-centric career development program called Forum W since 2009.

Moss Adams staff collaborate on event planning
Courtesy: Moss Adams

“There is no question regarding the benefit for organizations to have a more even representation of women, particularly in leadership roles,” said Jen Wyne, executive director of Human Resources at Moss Adams. “The gender balance of the entire business world is shifting, and women are increasingly the leaders and owners of the organizations we serve. It is up to us to reflect that diversity.”

With this unique cultural phenomenon, Moss Adams has been listed in the top 20 essential companies for woman. Besides being recorded by the world, Moss Adams’s effort also brings massive value to the firm-self. At this time, the firm has reported to have 34,000 hires which 24 percent are women – higher rate than the industry average.

Stated in the Forum W 2018 report, Moss Adams’ implementation has claimed to aim at implementing programming, developing activities, and helping women build their networks as well as building an extensive environment which both genders can thrive along.

Employees’ engagement can be raised as well through this forum. Since 2009 – the Forum W deployment year- to now, Moss Adams has successfully gain more 30 percent of employee satisfaction comparing to the time before 2009.

So, what can we learn from Moss Adams’s cultural implementation? Let’s continue reading to find out more about this worth-learning project.

Culture Is the Goal

A positive culture is the most essential base for the dedication amongst the employees. When your staff feel that they have worked in place of a promising future, they will invest more time and more value in your organization’s benefit. If their hard-working process is recognized and rewarded, they will push and fill in more effort. Creating an equality culture is considered the most crucial step to be taken by the manager.

When you realize the importance of culture, that is when your company swiftly and proudly changes. Moss Adams has been determined to create an equal operational condition as the firm’s legacy.

Winning Roadmap to Empower Lasting Cultural Transformation

When Moss Adams began Forum W, they created a specific three-step roadmap to achieve the goal:

Step #1: Define which disturbances must be made to create lasting cultural change

Changing is necessary for cultural advancement even when there are some unpredictable cases occurring. Even though, you need to clarify the goal your company is approaching, and sort carefully out which parts should be changed and how to change. Will the improvement that the firm obtain be valuable for the future generation? The answer is yes for Moss Adams case. They pointed out one of the biggest complexes of whole industries and they are being looked up to by the other firms now. So, it can happen the same to your business. But be careful to pick up the roadmap or you will face culture conflict.

Step #2: Set realistic short-term goals for cultural change

Moss Adams staff celebrate at the headquarter
Courtesy: Moss Adams

Everything is difficult at first, especially when you are trying to change the core of the whole company. But remember to have faith and determine to carry out the changing process. Remember to be realistic and take a small step forward. You should not expect to see changes immediately but instead focus on the short-term results.

Step #3: Create resources, programs, and policies to address how to grow and develop

To be sure that your culture core is set, a new term of programs and policies needs to be updated as well. Inputting the right mindset section will show more than just smooth planning. A specific path for your employees to walk through must be taken from the worthwhile resources. Moss Adams’ projects bring on many training and educating programs specifically for their female employees, which is one the most impacted reason influencing on their human resources.

5 Key Elements to Beautifully “Blend” Diversity & Inclusion into Workplace

How did Moss Adams’ Forum W become such a ‘big hit’? Following 5 Key Elements to set up a new viewpoint of how to change diversity in your working environment.

Element #1: Understand your employees

The first step to act is the connection between the firm and the staff. General companies merely target in the benefit for itself that sometime neglect the worker resources’ needs. Moss Adams holds many regularly meetings for the female employees with their superiors. The agenda will merely focus on listening to the staff’s obstacles, their career goal and current experience with the firm. Consequently, the firm will have a clearer work road that can help overcome the barrier.

Dan Cheyney, a partner of Moss Adams said: “It’s critical our women know that we’ll support them along the way—we’ll believe in them, we’ll invest in their development, and we’ll be their advocate.”

Element #2: Build strong networking

Joan Taylor- the senior manager of Moss Adams shares her thoughts about one of the Forum W programs- The GroWth. She said: “The GroWth program gave me an opportunity to connect with other women peers who, in some way or another, can relate with my career path. I have the support system, and can be part of a support system, to navigate through unique challenges we face as women professionals.” In addition, she shared that the networking and camaraderie have boosted her confidence and given her a better viewpoint that she would hardly find elsewhere.

Moss Adams’ networking has been tied up gradually since they have gotten more social events for the staff. A coffee morning, a lunch together, a teamwork trip can help to boost up their social impact and open many honest relations. It helps to make women feel more involved in the firm.

Element #3: Provide family-friendly policies

Moss Adams has successfully set up a long-lasting working culture by having many staff-beneficial changes in the commitment policy. They offered a flexible working-time and scheduling appointment for both male and female staffs.

Noni Lalone, the 15-year partner of Moss Adams, has applauded Forum W for letting her get a chance to balance her life and work. She now can spend only 4 days at work and still can contact her clients at home. She points up the state that women should not give their dream when it comes to time-consuming. Lalone suggested working at home and taking care of family at work is a bright solution for those mother-workers. This adjustable policy not only brings satisfaction to your employees but also boosts their productivity. It raises the commitment to the firm higher than you expect.

Element #4: Encourage advancement

Besides providing employees with suitable working conditions, the firm must conduct the career encouragement to women. Moss Adams has set the motivational goal for each woman and claim to help them achieve it. By that way, the employees’ feeling turn to be positive in the workplace. Moss Adams also provides many projects and workshops that to persuade their female employees about the success career path as well as offer them to join in various training events. Through this program, the firm inspire and motivate women to become leaders, expand their networks, and strengthen their leadership skills.

Moss Adams staff collaborate and have fun
Courtesy: Moss Adams

“We work very hard to make sure everyone is given the same opportunity—it is something that is extremely important to us.” Chris Schmidt, Chairman and CEO claimed. Moss Adams has pushed many investments in the project to find the best way to lift their employees up. Catching up with staff’s desire, GroWth Series, Getting Real Workshop, Path to Success Series and many more other events has been held.

Mentoring the staff by connecting them with the other successful ladies is one of the best moves that have been made by Moss Adams.

Element #5: Training session is necessary

There are more than just a few responsibilities on woman that causes a job barrier. Furthermore, for some reason, woman have been faced to the challenge of getting ready for the business, which create a nervous perspective on everything they are approaching. This is a result of gender discrimination for centuries. Changing this mindset must be complicated but possible.

The most effective way is to show your employees that they are qualified for any tasks. Moss Adams provides at least 110 events and workshops focusing on mentoring, training skills, and updating news along with connecting staff.

The Bottom Lines

Women employee satisfaction is now one of the most viral topics that many entrepreneurs worry about. Regarding helping improve the workplace experience, Moss Adams has invested efforts in bringing benefits to women which turn to put the massive impact on the world. It brings out an inspiration about an equal world where everyone has the same opportunities and the same chances to accomplish.

  • About: Stella Le
    Stella is an out-going and enthusiastic person who loves to try new things. When it comes to work, Stella uses her researching ability and  adaptable skills in learning new knowledge…