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PLACING A GREATER EMPHASIS ON SKILLS IN HIRING AND ADVANCEMENT, IMPROVING EQUITY AND DIVERSITY IN EMPLOYMENT

Over 80 Business Roundtable member companies – and counting – are participating in a new multi-year targeted effort to reform companies’ hiring and talent management practices to emphasize the value of skills, rather than just degrees, and to improve equity, diversity and workplace culture. The new initiative will support efforts to address inequity in employment practices, including how people are hired and how they advance; and it will work toward eliminating unintentional bias that may prove to be a barrier to hiring and advancement.

Companies participating in this effort are implementing new recruitment and assessment strategies to better recognize and evaluate skills of all job seekers. They are also identifying upward career paths that employees can navigate by acquiring new and/or different skills along their career journey. And companies are developing and updating training programs to help employees gain the skills they need to advance.

COMPANY ACTIONS

Regarding the recruitment, hiring and promotion processes, some of the actions companies can take to address unintentional bias include:

  • Rewriting job descriptions to focus on the skills needed to succeed in the job.
  • Reviewing existing assessment tools and adopting new standard interview processes to screen candidates to determine the level of skills required to perform the job.
  • Developing and publishing transparent job advancement pathways for their current workforce that can be navigated by meeting specific training milestones and skill acquisitions.
  • Creating and using training modules that teach employees new skills needed to meet job advancement milestones. Training can be delivered through on-the-job experience (e.g., mentorships and apprenticeships), online learning platforms and/or partnerships with external education and training providers.
  • Recognizing and rewarding employees who complete credentials or certifications valued by the company.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The following principles guide the initiative, and companies recognize: 

  • Skills are as important as degrees or similar previously fixed requirements in hiring and promotion decisions.
  • Hiring practices should create opportunities for individuals from a wide array of backgrounds.
  • Employers should send clear demand signals regarding the skills needed in their workforce.
  • Upskilling and continuous learning are vital to helping employees obtain the experiences, skills, or certifications needed for professional growth.
  • Partnerships with relevant stakeholders are critical to building a skills-first approach that works for all.

MEMBER COMPANIES

Over 80 companies are part of this initiative, including:

Abbott

Accenture

ADP

The AES Corporation

Aflac Incorporated

Alliant Energy Corporation

Altec, Inc.

American Express Company

American Tower Corporation

Aon

Assurant, Inc.

AT&T Inc.

Bank of America Corporation

Baxter International Inc.

Bechtel Group, Inc.

Best Buy Co. Inc.

BorgWarner

CF Industries

Chevron Corporation

Cisco Systems, Inc.

Citigroup Inc.

Cummins Inc.

Cushman & Wakefield

CVS Health

Day & Zimmermann

Dell Technologies

Delta Air Lines

Dow

Duke Energy Corporation

DXC Technology

Eastman

Eaton

Edison International

EY

FedEx Corporation

Flex

Fiserv

Gap Inc.

General Dynamics Corporation

General Motors Company

Hearst

Humana

IBM Corporation

Interpublic Group

JPMorgan Chase

KeyCorp

Land O'Lakes, Inc.

Lockheed Martin Corporation

Mastercard

Mattel

McKinsey & Company

Medtronic, Inc.

MetLife, Inc.

Moody’s

Northrop Grumman Corporation

PepsiCo

Pfizer Inc.

Pitney Bowes Inc.

Principal

Progressive Insurance

PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited

SAP

SAS

Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.

State Farm

Steelcase Inc.

Synchrony

Target Corporation

Tractor Supply Co.

Union Pacific Corporation

United Airlines

Verisk Analytics

Verizon Communications

Visa, Inc.

Vistra Corp.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.

Walmart

Wells Fargo & Company

Western Union

Workday

World Wide Technology, Inc.

Xylem Inc.

Zebra Technologies

Zoetis 

COMPANY SPOTLIGHTS

Northrop Grumman Corporation

At Northrop Grumman, as part of its workforce planning, the company has developed six Technical Development Paths to document skill progression paths, critical competencies and development resources for employees in several critical skill areas. The Technical Development Paths are available to all employees and include specific skills needed from beginner to advanced levels as well as specialization areas aligned to Northrop Grumman’s business needs. The company is also developing skills-based profiles and rewriting job descriptions for select disciplines, and constructing skills-based interview questions to enable evaluation of candidates based on experiences, technical skills, certifications and education. To ensure the company continues to hire the best qualified candidates, Northrop Grumman is crafting behavioral interviewing guides to support consistent assessment of the diverse skills and experiences each candidate brings.  

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In the area of talent acquisition, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is committed to broadening the applicant pool for its job opportunities, enhancing its hiring process and expanding its commitment to building a diverse workforce. In pursuit of this goal, the company is evaluating degree requirements for roles (~75 percent of JPMC’s U.S. roles in 2018 did not require a college degree) and actively reducing barriers to licensing and employment for individuals with criminal backgrounds. As part of its Second Chance initiative, JPMC is partnering with non-profits, licensing bodies and other employers to support individuals’ reentry into the workforce. 

Walmart

Walmart Academies provide an immersive training program offered at local Walmart supercenters with courses in advanced retail skills and soft skills, like leadership, communication, motivation, and change management. Through skills training associates gain an increase in confidence and knowledge - which leads to greater job satisfaction, personal and professional growth and stability. Walmart Academies are providing additional marketable skills that help associates with the job they are in and prepare them for the next level job. 


Synchrony

Synchrony’s Skills Forward education programs address skill gaps critical to the future of its business (as well as the communities it serves). The company recently expanded its tuition reimbursement benefit to include support for non-degree options. Through its Synchrony Sponsored Certification Program, the company enhanced its tuition reimbursement (up to $20,000 per year) to include select non-degree programs. With this new offering, Synchrony provides all employees with the opportunity to pursue the acquisition of new skills the company deems critical to the future of work and its business. Synchrony will reimburse employees up to $9,000 per year for any courses or materials taken in pursuit of acquiring certifications and new skills. Employees are encouraged to add their newly acquired credentials to their internal worker profiles so the company can match them with in-demand jobs or quickly redeploy staff into critical roles as necessary.

Bank of America Corporation

Bank of America’s focus on responsible growth includes its efforts to attract, develop and retain diverse talent from around the world. The company hires from more than 350 universities to fill internship and full-time positions, including Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Campus hires are trained through the company’s world-class entry level training programs. Bank of America also works with nonprofit partners to help connect the company to candidates from low-and-moderate (LMI) neighborhoods. One example is the bank’s Pathways career program where participants are on-boarded through The Academy — a dedicated organization alongside the company’s learning and development function, that supports Consumer, Small Business, Merrill and Private Bank teammates — to encourage personal skill-based development and ongoing learning. Bank of America recently announced a $1 billion, four-year initiative to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity, with a particular focus on helping create opportunity for people and communities of color. The company is focused on these areas because systemic, long-term gaps have existed, and significant change is required for progress to occur and to be sustained. As part of this, the company has committed $25 million in support of jobs initiatives in Black and Hispanic-Latino communities to enhance up-skilling and reskilling for individuals through partnerships with Community Colleges, HBCUs, HSIs and major employers to target specific hiring needs in markets. The initiative includes philanthropic funding, enhanced career guidance, financial coaching, and a college-employer learning network. To learn more about all of Bank of America’s human capital management practices including the company’s progress and commitment to diversity and inclusion, please see its 2020 Human Capital Management Report.