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Share Companies too often signal that training is remedial. The diversity manager at a national beverage company told us that the top brass uses it to deal with problem groups.
Managers tend to resent that implication and resist the message. Hiring tests. When we interviewed the new HR director at a West Coast food company, he said he found that white managers were making only strangers—most of them minorities—take supervisor tests and hiring white friends without testing them. Investment banks and consulting firms build tests into their job interviews, asking people to solve math and scenario-based problems on the spot.
While studying this practice, Kellogg professor Lauren Rivera played a fly on the wall during hiring meetings at one firm. She found that the team paid little attention when white men blew the math test but close attention when women and blacks did. Because decision makers deliberately or not cherry-picked results, the testing amplified bias rather than quashed it. Managers made only strangers—most of them minorities—take tests and hired white friends without testing them.
There are significant declines among white and Asian-American women—groups with high levels of education, which typically score well on standard managerial tests. Performance ratings. Companies sued for discrimination often claim that their performance rating systems prevent biased treatment. But studies show that raters tend to lowball women and minorities in performance reviews. And some managers give everyone high marks to avoid hassles with employees or to keep their options open when handing out promotions.
Grievance procedures. This last tactic is meant to identify and rehabilitate biased managers. About half of midsize and large firms have systems through which employees can challenge pay, promotion, and termination decisions. But many managers—rather than change their own behavior or address discrimination by others—try to get even with or belittle employees who complain.
Thomas IBM expanded minority markets dramatically by promoting diversity in its own workforce. The result: a virtuous circle of growth and progress. We see this a lot in our interviews. Still, most employers feel they need some sort of system to intercept complaints, if only because judges like them. Tools for Getting Managers on Board If these popular solutions backfire, then what can employers do instead to promote diversity? They apply three basic principles: engage managers in solving the problem, expose them to people from different groups, and encourage social accountability for change.
So, if you prompt them to act in ways that support a particular view, their opinions shift toward that view. When managers actively help boost diversity in their companies, something similar happens: They begin to think of themselves as diversity champions. Diversity Programs That Get Results Take college recruitment programs targeting women and minorities.
Our interviews suggest that managers willingly participate when invited. Managers who make college visits say they take their charge seriously.
They are determined to come back with strong candidates from underrepresented groups—female engineers, for instance, or African-American management trainees. Cognitive dissonance soon kicks in—and managers who were wishy-washy about diversity become converts. The effects are striking. Mentoring is another way to engage managers and chip away at their biases.
While white men tend to find mentors on their own, women and minorities more often need help from formal programs. Once organizations try them out, though, the upside becomes clear. With guidance from a court-appointed external task force, executives in the North America group got involved in recruitment and mentoring initiatives for professionals and middle managers, working specifically toward measurable goals for minorities. Even top leaders helped to recruit and mentor, and talent-sourcing partners were required to broaden their recruitment efforts.
These changes brought important gains. This began a virtuous cycle. Today, Coke looks like a different company. Evidence that contact between groups can lessen bias first came to light in an unplanned experiment on the European front during World War II.
The U. High casualties left General Dwight Eisenhower understaffed, and he asked for black volunteers for combat duty. When Harvard sociologist Samuel Stouffer, on leave at the War Department, surveyed troops on their racial attitudes, he found that whites whose companies had been joined by black platoons showed dramatically lower racial animus and greater willingness to work alongside blacks than those whose companies remained segregated.
Stouffer concluded that whites fighting alongside blacks came to see them as soldiers like themselves first and foremost. This article also appears in:.Over a space of four months this year, mobile banking customers logged into their accounts 1 billion timesmade more than 30 million mobile bill payments, and nearly 11 million person-to-person P2P transfers. Performance ratings. Even top leaders helped to recruit and mentor, and talent-sourcing partners were required to broaden their recruitment efforts. Grievance procedures. This last tactic is meant to identify and rehabilitate biased my hr tools bank of america. And some managers give everyone high marks to avoid hassles with employees or to keep their options open when handing out promotions.