How TRSS is meeting employee priorities on culture and inclusion

As workers have revaluated their priorities and changed jobs to better align with them, organizations have been forced to innovate ways to appeal to and retain talent. While flexibility and compensation are important, few wants hold more weight among talent than DE&I-embedded culture and implemented inclusivity initiatives. 

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A recent Workhuman survey found 72 percent of employees say DE&I is important to their staying at their current organization. Yet while the Society of Human Resource Management’s DEI Metrics 2021 report cites DE&I as a strategic opportunity among 65 percent of organizations, 67 percent admit their company is only somewhat successful at creating a workplace that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

One area employer, Thomson Reuters Special Services (TRSS), can attest to the importance of these commitments and the ancillary effects on retention and referrals.

“We frequently discuss employee resource groups (ERGs), culture, and values and really ‘workshop’ during an employee’s first months to ensure everyone understands each other and why we do what we do,” shared HR Leader Kiera Craig. “This sense of community and pride is one reason we have so many referrals from employees and even our clients. And that’s the best affirmation from an HR standpoint that we’re making a difference.”

As the company has grown (to 300+ employees), so have its benefits. Beyond standard benefits, TRSS provides adoption support services, volunteer days, caregiver time off, increased bereavement leave, and maternity and paternity leave that includes foster parents and domestic partners. One of the more recent additions are company-wide designated mental health days, which originated in 2020.

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“As the year tested all of us in many ways, we understood, more than ever, the importance of providing individuals with the time to practice mindfulness and focus on mental health,” said Kiera Craig. “It began with one day to coincide with October’s World Mental Health Day, and it was then extended to twice a year. It’s a benefit that will likely continue here.”

Mental health days are just one of several progressive efforts. The company also has several organically grown ERGs.

“Women’s Leadership Forum was created in 2018. Since then, we’ve grown several ERGs that focus on different employee groups and interests, including Veterans and Working Parents groups, TRSS Pride, and Grasping Race and You (GRAY), our DE&I race and relations group” shared Jude Massaad of Special Programs at TRSS. “GRAY provides a safe space for open dialogue on cultures, which naturally aligns with TRSS’s desire to have a strong and welcoming work culture. GRAY has reimagined DE&I in the workplace by incorporating a diverse lens that focuses on intersectionality and collaborating with other ERGs at the company on overlapping issues.”

However, as is often the case, it isn’t simply having an initiative that matters: It’s the intent and heart of it. At TRSS, the heart is strong, with the organization estimating over 75% of employees participating in ERG in some capacity. This high adoption may stem from the fact that all ERGs are employee-driven, rather than something created at an HR level.

“All groups started from employee passions,” said Analyst Manager Kim Thornton. “After creating the Women’s Leadership Forum, the leadership team opened a company-wide dialogue inviting all employees to create a group based on a trait or passion. Four additional groups launched soon after.”

This kind of grassroots approach is unique, and another element that contributes to the diverse, inclusive culture at TRSS.

“When I joined the company, a big ethos from the top down was ‘Lead From Where You Stand.’ That’s permeated our culture and DNA,” shared Finance Director Kevin Loftus. “When I saw the ERGs launch, I wasn’t surprised because I saw that ethos being lived out. Everyone stood them up on their own, and it completely made sense. People have ideas, and here, they’re put into action.”

This positive culture in which everyone’s ideas matter and everyone is encouraged to be involved has helped TRSS to consistently achieve a 90-95 percent retention rate.

“You can visibly see the commitment TRSS has towards investing in its people. It’s a company that stresses innovation and the power of creative minds. It’s forward-leaning, open to learning, accepting, and appreciative of diversity and what it brings to the table. This directly ties to our core values of Care, Character, Collaboration, and Trust, where our employees connect and collaborate constantly and have always done so,” said Massaad.

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Also in-line with those values are formal and informal mentorship opportunities, formalized reviews paired with continuous performance discussions, and an open-door policy. To support work/life balance, employees are encouraged to work with their managers to develop schedules and their work location, including remote, in-person, or hybrid.

For more information about TRSS or current career opportunities, please visit

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