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Winning Secrets: How Bank of America's D&I programme actively creates opportunities for non-traditional candidates

Winning Secrets: How Bank of America's D&I programme actively creates opportunities for non-traditional candidates

Bank of America was recently awarded the bronze accolade for the Best Diversity & Inclusion Strategy category in the Asia Recruitment Awards 2020, Singapore virtual ceremony. Their entry was recognised by the judges for the policies implemented to ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce.

To help peel the layers of their innovative and successful D&I strategy, Vice President of Talent Acquisition, Bank of America, Charu Malik Dass shares the team’s mission, vision and goals for D&I, including an exclusive preview of the company's Return to Work programme.

Responsible growth is at the core of everything we do at Bank of America. Our employees are our most valuable resource, and one of the most important aspects of responsible growth is attracting and retaining exceptional talent.

It starts with how we recruit new teammates to our company, and extends to the many ways we support employees’ professional development, career growth and engagement once they’re here.

Our Board and its committees have a key role in the oversight of our culture by holding management accountable for maintaining high ethical standards. Additionally, CEO Brian Moynihan has chaired the Global Diversity & Inclusion Council — the chief governing body for our diversity and inclusion strategy— for over a decade.

At Bank of America, we take immense pride in the fact that we are a diverse and inclusive company, and believe that our commitment to diversity and inclusion helps make our company a great place to work. With that view, we are constantly looking for new ways to further increase diversity in our workforce.

Our Return to Work programme is part of the bank’s commitment to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace by actively creating opportunities for non-traditional candidates. Through the programme, the bank can directly reach candidates who have been impacted by significant life events and provide support in the moments that matter most, not only because it’s the right thing to do but because its core to sustainable and responsible growth.

This employment-focused programme started in 2015 with a focus on roles in Singapore and Hong Kong, in partnership with our internal women advocacy groups, as a way to target experienced professionals who had taken an extended break from their careers.

Our analysis showed that while women were more impacted by career breaks, a significant number of men had also taken time out of their careers for family or other reasons. Hence our programme targeted both men and women.

Most professionals on a career break do have significant experience and relevant skills but are often overlooked for active opportunities due to the perceived gap in their resumes and that’s where we wanted our programme to be different.

We are very proud of the fact that our programme is unique due to the following reasons:

  • Open to both male and female candidates – focused on both diversity and inclusion rather than just gender diversity.
  • Returnees are hired into genuine open roles – full-time or contract depending on what suits their circumstances.
  • Detailed onboarding plan to help them re-integrate back into the workforce.

In subsequent years, we have expanded the programme across Asia Pacific, made sourcing for returnees mainstream by using all sourcing channels available, and have been able to hire 48 team mates through the programme.

Key highlights of the programme include:

  • 19% of all our hires are male.
  • 75% of all Return to Work hires are still with the Bank.
  • 90% increase in hiring from 2018 to 2019.

The programme also helps drive strong retention rates and many of our original Return to Work hires are now advocates and sponsors of the programme, serving on panel sessions, attending external marketing events and supporting new Return to Work joiners. In addition, a number of the Return to Work joiners have since taken internal mobility opportunities into new roles or have been promoted to more senior levels.

At Bank of America, we recognise that not everyone has a linear career path. By actively sourcing talent which have had different life experiences, we gain greater competitive advantage by having teammates with diverse backgrounds.

Advocacy work around the program highlights awareness of the importance of fostering an environment for returnees to succeed and thrive, challenges traditional gender stereotypes at work and at home, and builds understanding of the attitudes of how returnees are perceived when returning to the workforce after a career break.

At Bank of America, we firmly believe that diversity in talent leads to diversity in thoughts and perspectives, which ultimately helps create higher performing teams.

Photo / Provided

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