Wells Fargo's Jerry Quinn on Veteran Recruitment Strategies

"We have a high touch approach with leadership positions that includes relationship building across the entire Wells Fargo footprint," says Quinn, Senior Vice President, Military Affairs Program Manager at Wells Fargo.

Jerry Quinn is the Senior Vice President, Military Affairs Program Manager at Wells Fargo. He oversees the development and execution of the enterprise-wide strategy for military members, veterans and their families. Additionally, Jerry is responsible for developing national relationships with the military and veteran community, including the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, national military and veteran service organizations, and support entities. He leads the company's internal and external strategy focused on financially empowering military members and veterans through career transition, housing initiatives and financial education.

Jerry has worked in the banking industry for more than 24 years, and is in his 29th year with the U.S. Army. During his fourteen-year career at Wells Fargo, Jerry was also a principal business relationship manager with Retail Banking in Colorado. Prior to that, Jerry held positions as Community Bank President and Correspondent Banking Officer. In uniform, Jerry serves with the 84th Training Command (Army Reserve) as a Brigade Operations Officer for mission command training and assessment for brigade and division staffs in strategy and planning. Past assignments have included army and brigade staff and company command assignments in the Middle East, Europe, Washington, D. C. and Panama.

A native to Colorado, Jerry attended Colorado State University, earning a bachelor's degree with dual emphasis in finance and real estate, as well as an MBA in organizational design and change management from the University of Colorado. He's also a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Banking.

He has served on the board of the Association of Military Banks of America since 2014 and continues to volunteer with veteran service organizations.

DI: How has being in this role and working with military initiatives impacted you on a personal level?

I am honored to serve Wells Fargo in my capacity. The company has provided me the opportunity to combine both of my professional careers: military service and banking. It has impacted me on a personal level because we have been able to tangibly affect the lives of military and veterans. As a life-long banker, I am personally proud to get to contribute in these ways to a community that I love.

DI: What are some programs that Wells Fargo offers military members (veterans, Guard and Reserve)?

Wells Fargo has more than 200 team members on military leave at any given time. The company offers active guard and reserves supplemental pay designed to make up the difference between their Wells Fargo pay and military base pay; medical, dental, vision, and long-term care coverage; and pay for work missed due to weekend drill and annual training. We are proud to support America's all volunteer force in this way. So much is asked of our reserve forces.

For those transitioning from military service, Wells Fargo offers Military Apprenticeships, a Veteran Employment Transition internship program, American Corporate Partners mentorships, and scholarships and emergency grants through Scholarship America. We currently have more than 8,300 team members who self-identify as being veterans.

DI: What kind of impact has the Veterans ERG had on Wells' military members? Can you detail a couple of examples?

Wells Fargo's Veteran Team Member Network (VTMN) has more than 8,000 members that accomplish a great deal on behalf of the company. Network members volunteer to rehabilitate veteran homes, participate in veteran recruiting events and strategy meetings, and coordinate Veterans Day parade activities, among many activities in and outside of the company.

DI: How have these programs allowed for Wells to address or meet business objectives?

The VTMN has consulted with the enterprise and helped us improve the way we interact with our military service members and veterans. They help us celebrate our military and veterans in our local communities, volunteer to rehabilitate veteran homes, support the Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) initiatives, and earn countless awards from the ESGR for their commitment to supporting our military.

DI: Are veterans recruited for leadership positions?

Veterans are recruited at all levels at Wells Fargo, including leadership roles. Through our Veteran Employment Transition program, we have been able to target roles that are more senior and identify senior noncommissioned and commissioned officers. Our Military Apprentice Program is expanding to focus on leadership positions. Finding the right level leadership role for high-ranking military talent can be a challenge. Wells Fargo has addressed this by working with military talent liaisons who help refer candidates. We have a high touch approach with leadership positions that includes relationship building across the entire Wells Fargo footprint.

DI: How can employers make the transition for veterans easier?

Civilians have a hard time understanding veteran resumes and veterans sometimes have a hard time translating their skills and abilities into civilian terms. Employers can help veterans translate their transferrable skills, such as leadership, discipline and teamwork. They can offer special resources to ensure veterans know jobs that they may qualify for using these skills. As employers, we can learn some of these unique elements of the military career and learn how to better identify the abilities that veteran talent brings to our company.

Insights into Effective Diverse Candidate Slates and Goal Setting

BASF implemented a robust diverse candidate slate initiative a few years ago and yielded positive results. In this webinar, the company outlines the problem it is trying to solve, its strategy in doing so and tactical actions it took.

BASF implemented a robust diverse candidate slate initiative a few years ago and yielded positive results. In this webinar, the company outlines the problem it is trying to solve, its strategy in doing so and tactical actions it took. The company also provides insights into lessons learned.

01:54 – BASF Introduction and Background
07:15 – The Problem BASF is Trying to Solve
13:34 – Where We Started in 2016: Talent & Diversity Challenge
17:05 – Roles and Responsibilities
19:32 – Tactical Actions
21:19 – Lessons Learned
23:12 – Accelerants for Change
28:29 – Early Indicators of Success
29:54 – Solution Oriented Structure, Segregation of Strategy & Delivery
32:13 – Talent Advisors are the Eyes and Ears
34:50 – Leadership Commitment and Business Specific Actions
36:29 – Key Learnings
40:28 – Q&A

3 Case Studies on Leveraging ERGs for Talent Management

AT&T, Dell and Toyota Motor North America discuss how they utilize their resource groups for workforce skills transformation, increasing employee engagement and productivity and recruitment.

True

AT&T, Dell and Toyota Motor North America are three companies leading the way in evolving their resource groups and leveraging them in innovative ways, for business results.

In this panel discussion from the 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 Learning Sessions, the three companies discuss how they utilize their resource groups for workforce skills transformation, increasing employee engagement and productivity and recruitment.

Panelists:

• Janice King, Executive Director – Workforce Diversity, AT&T

• Erin Kitchen, VP of Global Diversity & Inclusion, Dell

• Adrienne Trimble, General Manager, D&I, Social Innovation Division, Toyota Motor North America

• Moderator: Shane Nelson, VP, Major Accounts, DiversityInc

BASF's Diverse Candidate Slate Initiative

BASF's Chief Diversity Officer Pat Rossman shared with DiversityInc the company's diverse candidate slate initiative.

True

By Shane Nelson

On May 20, 2016, I delivered a benchmarking debrief to BASF’s diversity council at its North American headquarters in Florham Park, NJ. It was a month removed from the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 event, in which it was announced that BASF ranked No. 24 on the Top 50, moving up four spots from the previous year. There was a lot of momentum and Chief Diversity Officer Pat Rossman wanted it to continue, so she didn’t waste time in scheduling the debrief. It was a very good meeting and I learned about BASF’s diverse candidate slate initiative.

Eighty-seven percent of companies that participated in the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 survey required diverse candidate slates for openings. That is up from 69 percent in 2011. However, the best companies for talent management distinguish themselves from the rest by requiring a high percentage of candidates to be diverse. BASF is one of those companies, and they took another step to raise the bar. I followed up with Rossman to discuss in more detail.

The Need for a Robust Diverse Candidate Slate

On the surface, BASF wants its internal talent composition to reflect the external talent market availability in North America. Rossman explained, “We believe that diverse perspectives, different ways of thinking, help us anticipate and meet market needs in new ways. They help us look at problems differently, and help make BASF more innovative and a stronger partner for our customers.” Rossman considers the leveraging of different backgrounds and perspectives a business advantage.

And that is precisely the catalyst for implementing a diverse candidate slate. Rossman describes the company’s diverse candidate slates as aspirational goals to reflect the diverse mix of the talent market in the region “Our aspirational goal is that half of the people that are interviewed for a role, or at least half, are diverse and reflect some measure of gender diversity, racial, ethnic diversity,” explained Rossman. “We’re also looking for people who bring different market perspectives to our organization.”

That’s a very good start — but, according to Rossman, it’s still not enough: “Our aspirational goals are twofold: 50 percent of the people interviewed for roles are diverse, and 50 percent of the people doing the interviewing are diverse.” Do both sides of the equation matter? BASF agrees that they do. Rossman pointed out, “Both sides matter because we’re also looking to have people who reflect different perspectives listen for the different kinds of potential and competencies and talents that people bring to our organization. We want to make sure that we’re reflecting a perspective that takes all of those differences into account and understand how we can leverage difference as a strong business advantage, and part of building a great place to work.”

The world’s leading chemical company, whose motto is "We Create Chemistry," sought to create chemistry in its recruitment process. By looking at both sides of the equation, the company ensures that it shrinks the aperture that potential diverse candidates might fall through.

The company’s goal is all about hiring the best talent for the role. In order to do so, explained Rossman, “you must look through as many different angles as you can to determine who is the best talent for the role.”

“When you have different perspectives reflected in the interview team, you’re asking a different level of questions, you’re probing different experience levels, and that’s all very, very helpful.”

Rossman outlined another benefit of the initiative. She explained, “What we also find is, we’re also reflecting out to the external market (the candidate community) that we’re looking to build a diverse and inclusive work environment. That is very important to us.”

She agrees that brand awareness is a critical component of BASF’s diversity strategy. “One of the things that we’re trying to do is really establish that BASF is a place where great people can do great work. And so we’re trying to see how we can improve our brand as a great place to work, and one of the ways we’re doing this too is through the interview experience.”

“We’ve actually received some recognition with outstanding candidate experience awards, and that’s the kind of verification we appreciate. If you join BASF or if you work with us as a collaborator, an innovation partner, a customer, a competitor, we want to make sure it’s a positive experience. We’re finding that this new approach for interviewing is very positive across a number of levels.”

Success in Adjusting Job Requirements

BASF initially found that some of its good intentions were not giving it the results it was looking for. In particular, the company found that it was very rigid in its requirements for jobs. Rossman explained, “We were being so deliberate, we had 10 or 12 specific requirements for a job. We found that we were screening out a lot of great talent because we were being so literal and so deliberate.” Rossman continued, “we were finding that while we might have 10 or 12 very specific requirements, the industry best practice was five or six that are much more competency-directed, looking at leadership potential. It was not as detailed as 20 years’ experience in radiant flooring technology, or something like that.”

“We changed the way we posted and described our jobs, so that they showed much more of the higher-level competencies and traits and skills that lead to someone being very successful at BASF. By doing that, we broadened the talent pool from which we select.”

The change was especially needed and very much welcomed in the chemical manufacturing industry. Rossman elaborated, “We draw quite a bit from an engineering population, and engineering is a great example of a type of job that’s really a problem-solving job, people who are innately curious, who love solving problems, who love looking at customer challenges in new ways. But some of the language that we were using to describe those jobs was not reflecting the excitement that they bring.

So our efforts to change the way we positioned some of our roles were truly additive, because it allowed us to reach out to a much broader population and to attract great talent from all backgrounds, and that has been a positive change that has come about through this effort to look more deliberately at all aspects of our hiring process. By being more intentional in how we described our roles at a higher level, and less literal and less focused on finite, very detailed aspects of it, we found that we attracted a broader spectrum of great talent, and that is one of the positive successes of this effort that we are engaged in.”

Helping Hiring Managers

The initiative has also widened the lenses of the company’s hiring managers. Rossman explained that human nature is that as hiring managers we all tend to feel a comfort level with ourselves and therefore tend to write the job description in a way that is very reflective of the incumbent that we have or had. “This is true across industry, that there is a comfort level with the people who are most like us. And this was one of the drivers, the encouraging drivers, of our effort to broaden the pool of talent that we interviewed. We want to help our hiring managers see that there is great talent out there in the North American market that may come from all different backgrounds and experience levels, and as we get to know people, you go deeper than the résumé.”

“So, I think it one of the challenges across industry is when you’re looking through résumés, you tend to look at résumés to say who reminds you most of yourself at an earlier stage in your career or who went to the same school, who comes from the same part of the country. This is human nature; there’s a comfort level. So I think things like what we are doing, in saying that half of the people that you’re interviewing have to bring some element of diversity and difference, half of the people doing the interviewing have to be diverse, are the circuit breakers that help us truly find the best mix of talent, and go beyond our comfort zone and help us ask questions about the fit for a role.”

Boeing's Commitment to Recruiting and Developing Veterans

Leo A. Brooks, Jr., vice president, defense, space & security government operations for The Boeing Company, shared with DiversityInc how Boeing is not only recruiting veterans but also investing in their career advancement.

True

Leo A. Brooks, Jr., vice president, defense, space & security government operations for The Boeing Company (one of DiversityInc's 25 Noteworthy Companies), shared with DiversityInc how Boeing is not only recruiting veterans but also investing in their career advancement.

Leo A. Brooks, Jr.

Vice President, Defense, Space & Security

Government Operations

The Boeing Company

In this capacity, Brooks serves as the company’s senior corporate liaison with the Pentagon, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.

Brooks joined the company in August 2006 after serving in the United States Army for 27 distinguished years and retiring as a brigadier general. He commanded units in virtually every echelon of the Army including an Airborne Brigade in the famed 82nd Airborne Division, Deputy Commanding General of 1st Armored Division in Germany and Commandant of Cadets at the United States Military Academy. His last assignment prior to retiring was Vice Director of the Army Staff, Office of the Chief of Staff, in the Pentagon. In that capacity, he was the principal deputy to the Director of the Army Staff, responsible for integrating, coordinating and synchronizing the efforts of the Army staff to support Army and Combatant Commands in the global war on terrorism.

  1. Why is your company focused on recruiting veterans? Describe your veterans recruitment/outreach initiatives.

Veterans create value in our company by demonstrating leadership, integrity and a collaborative problem-solving approach. During their service in the Armed Forces, veterans protected freedom and lived the tenets of discipline, excellence and precision. Boeing has a long-standing commitment to supporting men and women in uniform and military families by employing approximately 21,000 veterans who are continuing their mission with Boeing. We also engage in advocacy on behalf of veteran priorities and support a variety of military and veteran-specific programs and non-profit organizations.

Veterans are a critical part of Boeing’s workforce strategy because our business demands that we maintain an active, diverse and skilled pipeline of talent. Our company continues to expand its product line and services to meet emerging customer needs, and veterans offer valuable perspectives in that pursuit.

In an effort to attract veterans to apply for positions within our company, we attend targeted career fairs, visit military installation transition classes and centers and build partnerships with veterans service organizations and government agencies that support veteran hiring. Boeing is proud to donate millions of dollars annually in funding and volunteer hours to support veterans and their families in the communities where we live and work.

  1. Are veterans recruited for leadership positions? If so, have you had success in this area?

Boeing has a long tradition of aerospace leadership and innovation, and we’re always on the lookout for top talent, especially from the veteran community. Veterans offer a unique skillset forged by high-pressure environments, mission-oriented teamwork and an uncommon sense of duty. These are qualities any employer would be lucky to have, and our veteran employees display them in spades.

Veteran leaders bring the values, skills and perspectives cultivated through their military experience to their roles at Boeing. For that reason we have a number of veterans in leadership positions guiding Boeing into our second century. In my case, I have been with the company for 10 years, following 27 years in the U.S. Army. Boeing invested in my transition from the military to corporate leadership positions with education, developmental experiences and mentoring. I am proud of the fact that Boeing recognizes we always have more work to do — to not only recruit veterans into our employment ranks, but to also ensure these individuals are serving in leadership positions across the company.

  1. Once veterans are hired, do you have programs in place to retain and develop them?

Developing our people is as important to us as delivering quality products and services to our customers. Whether it's taking on a new assignment or volunteering our skills in communities around the world, Boeing employees strive to never stop learning. Boeing has invested more than $1 billion in our employees’ college tuition, books and fees through our industry-leading tuition assistance initiative — the Learning Together Program. Full-time and part-time team members have the opportunity to participate, regardless of what stage they are at in their career, after just one year of company service. Employees can pursue degree programs, professional certificates and individual courses in strategic fields of study at more than 270 quality colleges and universities.

Our employees also have a unique opportunity to broaden and deepen their leadership capabilities at our center of excellence. Each year, thousands of current and future leaders from across our company travel to the Boeing Leadership Center from around the world so they can sharpen their skills, network with colleagues based around the globe and better position themselves to greet the challenges and opportunities our second century will bring.

Finally, we take employee mentoring very seriously at Boeing as our people grow in their careers with the company. Employees are paired with more senior leaders — sometimes from different parts of the business — to help develop their knowledge and understanding of the enterprise.

  1. What challenge(s) has the company faced in recruiting or retaining veterans, and how has it overcome those challenges?

Competition for veterans has increased across our industry and throughout the business community generally. We continue to actively engage at targeted career fairs and visit military installation transition classes and centers to ensure that the unique career opportunities available at Boeing are communicated to active military, veterans and their families.

We actively take part in surveys and other career-building initiatives from the military to enhance the visibility of our opportunities for veterans.

We are also working hard to align our job descriptions with the specialized skills and abilities veterans can offer. At Boeing, we know how the service and sacrifices of military veterans can translate into the skills we need reflected in our workforce.

Boeing’s military skills translator tool is one example of how we work to help transitioning service members understand how their military skills, civilian skills and formal education transform into Boeing career potential.

  1. Do you have a veterans resource group? If so, can you describe how it has helped the company address or meet business objectives?

Yes, we have active Boeing Employees Veterans Associations (BEVA) and Veteran Task Force organizations across the enterprise. These groups work to enhance company and employee understanding of the issues unique to the military and veterans population, as well as create a welcoming community for all employees, highlighting the integrity and leadership attributes of military Veterans.

Externally, BEVA members actively support local service members, military family members and veterans through community service. These employees also play a vital role in our efforts to attract and retain veterans at Boeing. Finally, these BEVA groups offer a forum where employees that are veterans and military family members can nurture, encourage, mentor and support each other in their personal and professional development.

Women in Tech: Why so few & What to do

ADP's chief diversity and corporate social responsibility Rita Mitjans offers insights on why there's a women in tech dearth and strategies to address the problem.

True

ADP's chief diversity and corporate social responsibility Rita Mitjans offers insights on why there's a women in tech dearth and strategies to address the problem.

 

By Eve Tahmincioglu

The Women-in-Tech Imperative: Mitjans makes a case for why it's so important to get more women in technology, including everything from the design perspective they offer to making the workplace more diverse.

Recruiting Women in Tech: Mitjans offers her strategies for recruiting more women into technical jobs.

The Talent Imperative for Disability Inclusion

10 Tips for building a successful “machine” for recruiting and advancing people with disabilities.

True

10 Tips for building a successful “machine” for recruiting and advancing people with disabilities.

By Eve Tahmincioglu

Bonnie St. John at PwC event
Photo Credit: Robert Tannenbaum

"Disability is the greatest equal opportunity group; anyone can join, at any time in your life."

This quote came from Bonnie St. John, an Olympic medalist who had her leg amputated at age five and a speaker at PwC’s disability inclusion in the workplace gathering earlier this week. (PricewaterhouseCoopers is No. 5 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.)

The event, titled “The Inclusion Project: Ability Reveals Itself,” brought together diversity and inclusion leaders from a broad range of companies who came to hear about how to improve their efforts recruiting, retaining and advancing people with disabilities.

Many in attendance agreed that D&I efforts regarding those with disabilities often lag behind initiatives for women and minorities. However, the main takeaway from the event was that a lack of focus on this group means organizations are missing out on top talent.

PwC has seen its efforts in this area bolster its talent hunt.

Mike Fenlon
Photo Credit: Robert Tannenbaum

First driven by regulatory and compliance requirements, the firm formed an advisory council a few years ago, Mike Fenlon, PwC’s chief people officer, explained. “Over the years, though, it's transformed. And I would say at the heart of it today, it's really a talent story.”

It’s a large talent pool, according to a host of data shared at the event:

  • People with disabilities represent the largest untapped workforce in the world: 15 percent of the world’s population has a disability (over 1 billion people).
  • In the United States, 1 in 5 people identify with having a disability. These 54 million people make up the largest diverse group in the U.S., surpassing Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans, as well as Generation X and teens.

Given all of this information, the focus of #PwCAbility was to boost awareness of the role blind spots can play when it comes to people with disabilities. This plays out, Fenlon noted, “not just in ourselves personally but in our firms, in our organizations.”

Here are the top 10 best practices from the event speakers so you can take on the challenge:

  • Don’t compartmentalize people with disabilities.

Whether it’s an employee resource group meeting for Black, LGBT or veteran employees, there can be people with disabilities in those different groups — and disability means different things to different people, maintained St. John.

“People of color, we have health disparities that give us a different relationship with disability. Often our caregiver networks are not there as much as we'd like,” she said.

As leaders, she continued, we have to think about “how are we leading people through these intersections? Are we getting champions in each of the different areas?”

  • Recognize the skills potential.

It’s all about resiliency, said St. John. “When you walk into a world or roll into a world that isn't designed for you, for the way everything is the way you need it,” she explained, “you have to be more creative, you have to have more perseverance, you have to be innovative and self‑starting, take initiative. We're talking about accessing a pool of people that have exactly the kind of skill we need the most.”

Brad Hopton
Photo: Robert Tannenbaum

Brad Hopton, a PwC tax partner who champions the firm’s ERGs around disability inclusion, saw this group as “creative problem solvers,” and the goal became convincing leadership that it was imperative to tap this group of constituents to solve problems at PwC.

“Our mission statement is, all around, solving important complex problems for our clients and society,” he said. The firm’s leaders “quickly got on board” with this message, Hopton said.

  • Be ready to recruit but also to retain.

Pay attention to organizational readiness, advised Nadine Vogel, CEO, Springboard Consulting, who moderated the panel.

“If you go out tomorrow and start recruiting and you don't have an accommodations process in place, or your website for recruiting people is not accessible to folks who are blind or have some other disability it's going to fall apart,” she said. “So the journey is also understanding the steps that you have to take, and the order in which you have to take them. That's really, really important.”

And all the panelists agreed getting the word out about what an organization's inclusiveness using the tools of the day, including social media, is key. Indeed, PwC made a concerted effort to get attendees at the event to share the discussion on social via #PwCAbility, and included a dedicated screen for tweets in real time during the day.

  • Start organically.

PwC started out with a small group, primarily of parents with children with disabilities that shared their experiences and articles, and it blossomed from there.

“All of a sudden Atlanta called us and said, ‘Can we participate?’” recalled Hopton. “And then Chicago and San Francisco came on board. It began to grow. But very grassroots, very organically.”

  • Make a concerted talent effort.

Once the organizational readiness was in place, PwC turned its attention to tapping the disability talent pool.

The firm formed a strategy council, essentially a steering committee with a group of leaders within PwC geared towards setting forth that strategy. “We branched into two ERGs, disability inclusion ERGs,” Hopton said, “and we got really, really focused in on talent, and getting access to the talent on campus, and getting access to that talent through our experience recruiting champs.”

The steering committee is made up of Hopton, Fenlon, PwC’s Chief Diversity Officer Maria Castañón Moats and other leaders.

  • Don’t reinvent the recruiting wheel.

Employers should look at where they get their talent today, suggested Susan Lang, president and CEO of Lime Connect Inc.

Susan Lang and Jack Chen
Photo Credit: Robert Tannenbaum

“Do you get it from certain schools? Do you get it from certain places?” she asked. “Focus your efforts there. And craft your message around disability; build your brand. Make sure that people who are — let's say people today are Googling and following PwC on Twitter, look at what they're seeing.”

And be more targeted. PwC has 175 priority schools the firm targets for recruiting but decided to focus on only 30 to discuss disability inclusion so it was more manageable, Hopton said.

“We went to those schools and explained what we're doing, talked to the career placement office,” he explained.

  • Focus on onboarding.

“The onboarding experience and getting is absolutely critical,” Hopton stressed. “How do you start them off on the right experience, the right user experience from day one? We do at PwC a lot of awareness training. That awareness training is for people with disabilities but then also for the teams.”

And Lang added you must “make it very clear if someone has an accommodation need that there's a specific person to go to, and you want to help them find whatever it is they need to be successful.”

  • Encourage self-identification.

Hopton said his team pushed very hard to get demographic questions added to PwC’s annual employee survey. “We've used that survey as a means to again open up the dialogue,” he said.

The firm also works with an external organization, teaming up with an organization that provides candidates who have self‑identified, including a number of interns who self identified. “We trained them about PwC. We train their teams about their particular area, being more inclusive. It really is a recipe for success.”

  • Employees can lead the way.

Jack Chen, product counsel at Google Inc., who is visually impaired and was also a panelist at the event, said he collaborated with close friends at Google who also had disabilities and took their message to the top.

“We took our message that we wanted to make Google the best place for people to work with disabilities to the very top,” he explained. “We shared our vision and shared some very concrete ways that we felt we're missing the bar. Got them on board, got them fired up.”

  • Maintain community outreach.

Beyond implementing awareness campaigns, mentoring programs, etc., “the most meaningful component of the disability journey has been supporting the volunteer and charitable efforts,” said Jon Defeo, a PwC tax partner in New York.

To that end, PwC sponsors Pursuit Ride, a 3,500-mile cross-country bike ride to raise money for The Center in Houston, which provides groundbreaking programs for people with disabilities, he said.

Related Content:

DiversityInc’s Top 9 Companies for People with Disabilities list. See why these employers are the best of the best when it comes to recruiting and advancing this group.

Upcoming Webinar featuring PwC’s Brad Hopton titled Retention and Advancement of People with DisabilitiesDisability is the greatest equal opportunity group; anyone can join, at any time in your life.

 

Diverse Tech Talent Not Banging Down Your Door?

Companies that want to attract and retain women and minorities for technical positions need to focus on branding and unconscious bias.

True

Companies that want to attract and retain women and minorities for technical positions need to focus on branding and unconscious bias.

By Kaitlyn D’Onofrio

A recent study released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded a long-held belief regarding the tech industry: it still lags in diversity, for both gender and race.

The gender gap for executives remains persistent, with 80 percent of high tech executives being men and just 20 percent women.

This comes despite another study showing that eighth-grade girls outperform their male peers when it comes to technology and engineering.

So how can companies do their part to effectively recruit and retain this still underrepresented talent — and potentially apply it to recruiting all underrepresented groups? Below we offer best practices culled from recent panel discussions at DiversityInc’s Top 50 event earlier this year.

Here’s a video of a recent panel titled Recruiting Strategies for Women in Technical Roles:

These five best practices will boost your organizations efforts:

  1. Be authentic in presenting your company brand. When recruiting talent, potential candidates should see and hear an inclusive message, one that is actually part of your company culture.

Companies “have to be speaking from the same voice” when it comes to messaging and branding, explained Kaley Gagnon, executive director, College Recruiting, AT&T (No. 4 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity).

The inclusive message a company sends to customers, she continued, has to jibe with what it’s sending to employees and what those employees experience when they come to work for you.

Rita Mitjans, chief diversity & corporate social responsibility officer, ADP (No. 21 on the list) agreed.

“I think it’s about authenticity and about making sure that your brand, in fact, reflects not just the story we want to tell, but the reality of the situation,” she said. She also said that leaders in different locations may not all act the same way, so it’s important to hold leaders accountable to living up to the company’s brand.

“Your employment brand is your front door,” said Michael L. Cox, senior vice president of talent acquisition, Comcast NBCUniversal (No. 29). “That lets people know if they’re going to be welcome into your home, welcome into your company.”

  1. What’s worked in the past may not work now. Companies have different needs than they used to, and in turn, recruiting strategies may need to be modified. With such a focus on technology in nearly all industries today, it is crucial that all companies know how to recruit for technical positions.

Cox pointed to methods of nontraditional recruiting, outlined by Patti Lee, senior vice president, human resources, chief diversity officer, Wyndham Worldwide (No. 27).

According to Cox, “Everyone in this room is responsible for recruiting diverse talent to our organizations, and we play a role in it every day.”

One way to recruit is through strategic partnerships.

ADP, Mitjans said, uses partnerships as a key element in developing ADP’s pipeline. And when developing partnerships, it’s important to make an active relationship.

“It’s not just writing a check, it’s engaging with them at their conferences and events, it’s showcasing your people at those conferences, and leveraging their membership base for help,” Mitjans shared. ADP has recently partnered with the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and Women in Techology International (WITI).

  1. Be aware of unconscious bias; use data to see if it’s going on in your company. Lissiah Hundley, diversity & inclusion strategist, Cox Enterprises, discussed unconscious bias at the Top 50 learning session in her presentation, and the panelists all agreed how important it is to address that subject.

View Hundley’s full talk here.

According to Cox, this bias “exists whether we know it or not.”

“To dissuade that, we make sure the tone starts at the top,” Cox shared. For instance, if a leadership meeting contains no women, it is up to the men in the room to be a voice for the women. However, he noted, it is also vital that the women make sure the men know what their voice is.

Gagley emphasized the importance of having “courageous conversations” to address these uncomfortable topics. She said she had recently met a 19-year-old college student who was hesitant to ask her professors or peers about maternity leave “because the men don’t understand as much.”

“I said, ‘Then we need to have that conversation,’” Gagley recalled, “and being able to be open and courageous about those questions can really drive that forward.”

Mitjans called data the “catalyst” for having these conversations. She suggested looking at “patterns” in data on hiring, promotions and succession planning.

“At the very least, you should have equal representation in your succession planning for gender, as an example,” she continued. “And if it’s not there, then you should start asking questions why, and start digging deeper as to why.”

When backed with data, she said, people are less likely to feel defensive about the results because the facts are there.

  1. Always carry a voice for underrepresented groups, even when they aren’t in the room. In relation to unconscious bias, make sure someone in the room speaks on behalf of underrepresented employees. If these employees are confident their best interests are in mind even when they are not in the room to assert them personally, this reflects trust within the company.

Cox, Mitjans and Gagnon all spoke about the LGBT community, but the advice they gave could be applied to the recruitment and retention of all underrepresented groups, including women.

Cox spoke about LGBT, specifically transgender, employees, and stressed how important it is at Comcast NBCUniversal that “when that voice isn’t at the table, [we make] sure that we carry that voice.”

ADP leverages PRIDE, the company’s LGBT Employee Resource Group (ERG), for help on how to best recruit and communicate with LGBT candidates, Mitjans shared.

Gagnon said that “being supportive and listening … and continuing to adapt our policies accordingly” is also crucial.

  1. Create diverse opportunities for your employees. Gagnon stressed that at AT&T, one belief is, “You come for the work, you stay for the people.”

A company that has a diverse customer or client base leads to a need for diverse employees to connect with them. This in turn develops chances for workers to express their uniqueness through creating different projects and taking on different tasks.

By having these opportunities, a big company can feel like a small company, Gagnon explained, and may function like a family or community. But it all starts with having a diverse workforce because the opportunities come from a combination of what the company has to offer the employee and what unique skills the employee brings to the job.

Gagnon also suggested exposing employees to mentoring circles. This provides the opportunity for employees to advance their careers with the help of those who have already been in their shoes.

Résumé Review Revamp Boosts Diversity Hiring

Three strategies that made a Wyndham legal chief a diversity leader.

True

Three strategies that made a Wyndham legal chief a diversity leader.

By Moses Frenck

Paul Cash, general counsel of Wyndham Destination Network (WDN), had an opportunity to try a new approach when it came time to hire for and define a new role.

The existing team at the WDN — a unit of Wyndham Worldwide (No. 27 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity) — was diverse in many aspects but, Cash recalled, more work could be done.

“The goal is to hire the best possible candidate for the job, but we also need to consider diversity of thought,” said Cash, who oversees a team of 40 lawyers around the world and decided to make diversity an active component of the recruiting process at WDN.

“While we were diverse in many dimensions, we said to ourselves, ‘We can do better. Let’s make diversity an active component of the recruiting process,’” he explained.

To do that he initiated a three-pronged approach:

  • Résumé Review Revamp. A new process to review résumés was instituted and involved the whole legal team, including Cash, screening every single résumé that came in. “We wanted to make sure that we were all aligned in how we were looking at the résumés and not sort of rigidly discarding a résumé because the person didn’t go to the right law school,” he explained. “We wanted to look for diversity of thought and candidates that more holistically represented good additions to the team.”

  • Enlist Diverse Interviewers. It was important to have the right interviewers as well. “We all interview differently,” Cash noted. “We all have a different approach. We thought if we have a diverse group of interviewers that we’ll look at the candidates all differently, we’ll get the best picture and that will produce the best balanced slate of candidates at the end of the day. We’ll also hopefully eliminate, or at least minimize, unconscious bias — the tendency to hire yourself.”

  • Diverse Job Sites. Cash decided to look beyond just the typical legal job boards to post the role and found non-traditional places, such as the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s job site.

The approach was successful and Cash now leads not only a diverse team, but a team composed of the best people in their roles.

Cash is passionate about diversity 
and inclusion, in large part due to his personal connection. “I met my amazing wife, who’s Colombian American, in Germany, of all places, and I’ve heard her stories of when she was a kid, the discrimination that she and her family faced, and that’s certainly given me a new lens through which I can look at diversity.”

He also has two children, each with unique medical needs, including a 17-year-old son with autism. “When I think of my kids — and really all of our kids — my dream is for them to find a workplace, an employer, that will truly accept them, embrace them, develop, advance them, really give them fair opportunity,” he said.

Indeed, his passion for diversity has made an impact on Wyndham. Today, he is described by his colleagues as a dedicated diversity leader because his approach to recruiting and identifying top talent has created a legal department that is one of the most diverse functions within the company, according to Wyndham Worldwide Chief Diversity Officer Patricia Lee.

“When you look at hiring today the workplace is evolving so quickly,” Cash said. “The diversity segment of the workforce is growing; it’s perhaps the fastest growing segment.”

Wyndham’s 'Try and Train' Strategy

Finding great and diverse employees among a contingent workforce

True

By Sheryl Estrada

There’s no such thing as temporary talent at Wyndham Worldwide due to its “try and train” approach to recruiting.

While some companies use contingency workforces to cover business peaks or fill in for full-time employees, Wyndham -- No. 27 on DiversityInc’s 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity -- sees this pool of workers as fertile hiring ground, especially when it comes to finding diverse talent.

The company hires diverse and talented contractors with the intent of bringing them aboard as full-time employees, if he or she is a fit for the company, said Patty Lee, senior vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer at Wyndham.

“At Wyndham, we look to do the things others are not; we get involved at a grass roots level,” she said at a DiversityInc Top 50 event learning session on Tuesday titled “Innovative Nontraditional Recruiting Strategies.” “And then we measure our successes, one person at a time.”

A strategic partnership with a workforce solutions management company has affected Wyndham’s overall recruitment efforts, which has made for a diverse pool of candidates. A program was also implemented that spends money with more sub contractors, which are smaller firms that provide their services to Wyndham’s direct supplier.

“We focus on Asian, LGBT, women and veterans workers, and have partnered with more than 15 tier two firms to bring that talent into our organization,” Lee said.

The result:

In 2015, Wyndham spent $27 million in contract labor and part-time expenses. Out of the 370 people obtained as contractors, 134 were converted to full time employees, a 36 percent conversion rate.

So far, Lee said, Wyndham’s partnership with ZeroChaos, a contingency workforce provider, has been effective, but acknowledged hiring an outside firm to assist in recruitment can be tricky.

She offered the following advice:

  1. Choose your partner well. Make sure they align with your core values and can deliver results.
  2. Once you have a partnership, managing relationships is essential. Don’t let the partnership manage you.
  3. If you’re in a partnership that’s not working, get out of it. "When it’s not working, it’s time to say ‘goodbye’ and go your separate ways."

As a brand Wyndham’s mission is to “welcome people to experience world and travel the way they want to,” she maintained, so it takes hiring the best and most diverse talent, seriously.

The company holds hiring managers accountable, and doesn’t hesitate to dismiss those who don’t facilitate Wyndham’s recruitment perspective.

This approach, she admitted, “is the one people usually question the most,” Lee said. “And, it’s quite simple. If our leaders and hiring managers do not subscribe to hiring the best talent, from a diverse slate of candidates, they’re generally not a fit for Wyndham. And we bounce them.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

POPULAR WEBINARS

Career Advice on Handling Unconscious Bias

Executives from TD Bank and Monsanto collaborate to help us understand what unconscious bias is, how and why it exists, and how to address it from both an individual and organizational standpoint. The webinar concludes with almost 20 minutes of Q&A.

True

How Executive Diversity Councils Yield Talent Results

Sodexo's Rolddy Leyva, VP, Global Diversity & Inclusion, talks about how his company's Diversity Leadership Council sets strategic priorities & performance expectations for D&I at the U.S. regional level and drives accountability for progress.

True

The Differences Between Mentoring and Sponsorship

Randy Cobb, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Southern Company and Matthew Hanzlik, Program Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Nielsen talk about the differences between mentoring and sponsoring and give insights into how their companies leverage each.