Wells Fargo has opted to reinstate a policy aimed at bringing in a more diverse workforce. The policy was suspended in June after reports emerged about interviews being held for positions that were already filled.
In 2020, Wells Fargo implemented a “diverse slate” policy that required half or more of the candidates being interviewed for open positions with a salary of $100,000 or more to be “diverse,” meaning non-white or female.
In May, The New York Times cited several current and former Wells Fargo employees claiming that the company told staff to interview Black and female candidates for jobs in the wealth management unit that had already been decided on for others. Following those reports, Wells Fargo suspended the policy.
Wells Fargo chief executive officer Charles Scharf told staff in a memo in June that the firm would pause the policy for several weeks so that executives have time to analyze and make changes, ensuring that “hiring managers, senior leaders and recruiters fully understand how the guidelines should work.”
On Monday, Wells Fargo said in a statement that it reinstated the policy after a six-week review of its diverse candidate slate hiring practices, combined with interviews with the firm’s recruiters and hiring managers.
“We are recommitting to our diverse candidate slate guidelines with changes that will help clarify and simplify the process and lead to a better experience for all candidates, internal and external. We began this exercise knowing that diverse candidate slates work, and that they are a common, good practice across multiple industries,” Bei Ling, Wells Fargo chief human resources officer, said in the statement.
“Wells Fargo has seen measurable increases in diverse representation over the past several years, and we believe that diverse candidate slate guidelines have been one of the many contributing factors. Our review helped us to identify opportunities where we can further improve how the guidelines are implemented.”
Wells Fargo said that it will continue with the 50% diverse candidate slate but expects that figure to “evolve as our diverse representation continues to improve.”
The company also said that it’s redefining which positions fall under the diverse slate policy based on job level rather than compensation.
Moreover, Wells Fargo plans to change its existing exception approval process, offer revised training for recruiters and managers on the diverse candidate slate approach and continuously monitor the guidelines’ “effectiveness of their contribution to our goal of increasing diverse representation,” according to the statement.
Wells Fargo always stood behind the diverse slate policy overall.
"The diverse slate guidelines we put in place are meant to increase diverse representation across the company and we can see meaningful results in our hiring data since 2020,” the company told FA-IQ in a statement back in June, as the firm was suspending the policy. “At the same time, it’s important that implementation of our guidelines is consistent."
In the statement released on Monday, Wells Fargo touted that the diverse slates “have had a noticeable impact in helping Wells Fargo increase diverse representation. Since 2020, there have been meaningful increases in gender, racial, and ethnic diversity for positions throughout the company.”
Namely, while the firm’s overall U.S. external hiring volume increased 17% in 2021 compared to 2020, it rose 27% when it came to “underrepresented racial and ethnic groups,” according to the firm.“This means that the pace of external diverse hiring was 10 percentage points higher than the pace of hiring overall from 2020 to 2021,” Wells said in its announcement. “Between 2020 and 2021, external hiring of women in the U.S. increased 23% – six percentage points higher than the pace of hiring overall.”
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo faces a criminal probe over the allegedly bogus job interviews.
In June, the Times reported that a newly created civil rights unit inside the criminal division of the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office launched a criminal investigation in response to the publication’s reports about the sham interview practice.
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