Welch LLP: 102 Years of Commitment to Evolving with the Times
Welch LLP at a Glance.
Established in Ottawa in 1918, Welch LLP is a Chartered Professional Accounting firm that provides a full range of accounting, assurance, tax, advisory, and specialty services. The firm offers private enterprises, government, and not-for-profit organizations industry specific services and knowledge with a relationship-driven approach to client service.
Welch is dedicated to taking concrete steps to better everyone’s work life and career aspirations at the firm. It believes that by making diversity and inclusion a priority in the workplace, it can foster an inclusive environment where people feel valued and make a positive difference for employees, clients, and the communities they belong to. Welch knows that fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not only a good thing to do, but the right thing to do.
Welch’s In-House Diversity and Inclusion Program
Welch LLP has a formalized Diversity and Inclusion program that includes an Advisory Board of staff and partners of diverse backgrounds. The goal for this program is to ensure that at all levels, the firm is an inclusive workplace and that this diversity is also reflected in the partnership group. The work of the Diversity and Inclusion program is guided by results from employee engagement surveys that help determine what needs to change, and to prioritize concerns pertinent to employees.
Welch has made a formal Diversity and Inclusion commitment to its employees and to the public. To hold leaders accountable, Diversity and Inclusion has been identified as the number one goal for the people pillar in the 5-year strategic plan 2020 to 2024. Firm partners have committed to: having open conversations with the staff and colleagues about diversity and inclusion practices; making a pledge to the ACT! ON for D&I initiative; and acting as career sponsors for women and those from diversity groups.
Welch has taken several steps to adjust policies and practices through the lens of the firm’s values and Diversity and Inclusion commitments. Most recently, Welch restructured its promotion committee and improved its selection process for promotion to mitigate unconscious bias in the process. While Welch is particularly committed to support women and staff from diverse backgrounds to access equal opportunity and be voices at the table, the fundamental principle of its Diversity and Inclusion Program is to create a more inclusive workplace throughout the firm at all levels.
Recruitment and Retention
Welch takes pride in its people. It has a recruitment committee comprised of staff of diverse backgrounds, who are dedicated to attracting, hiring, and retraining diverse talent to enable the firm to achieve the goals of its clients and employees, as well as to serve its diverse communities. Across offices, Welch has over 200 employees who collectively speak 20 languages. Since January 2019, Welch has successfully hired 10+ staff members who were born outside Canada.
To enhance immigrant recruitment, Welch participates in events and programming with Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO), World Skills Employment Centre, In-TAC’s Navigating the Canadian Workplace Program for Accounting Professionals, and in recruitment events hosted by CPA Ontario for Internationally Trained Accountants. Welch has also gained recognition with diverse student groups by sponsoring multiple events organized by the University of Ottawa’s Telfer International Business School and has hired immigrant candidates through an internal employee referral program.
Support for Employees
Welch supports immigrant employees in various ways. For example, if a newcomer employee is struggling with the English language, Welch will offer support both financially and by finding the appropriate resources to improve the employee’s language competency.
Since 2019, Welch has been offering unconscious bias training to all staff and partners as well as training on First Nation’s history and on systemic racism. Selected members on the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board have been participating in HIO’s Cross-Cultural Competency Training. This training helps to support Welch’s internal capacity to deliver the mandate of its Diversity and Inclusion program. Welch is working on developing diversity and inclusion training for everyone who joins the firm.
Welch continues to work alongside HIO to strengthen work related to diversity and inclusion. Welch plays an active role on the HIO Working Group. It participates in coaching events and has been introduced to qualified immigrants through these events. According to Jessica Zhang-Chapman, a Senior Manager at Welch who also chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, “HIO has had a high impact on our firm’s diversity and inclusion journey. We would be promoting diversity, including hiring immigrants, no matter what, but we might not be doing it as rigorously without HIO’s support. We truly appreciate the various resources and training that are provided to us by HIO. We found the HIO Working Group meetings to be a great platform for employers to share what worked and what didn’t work with respect to their own diversity and inclusion practices. Support groups are key to our learning, as many of us are still in the early stage of the journey.”