What it takes to be an employee magnet

Ally Financial in Charlotte, N.C., has ramped up its diversity efforts since its CEO Jeff Brown joined the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge in June 2017. The pledge, which has been signed by 150 business leaders, includes a commitment to implementing and expanding unconscious bias education, creating an atmosphere where employees are comfortable sharing different perspectives and exploring best practices.

In July 2017, the digital bank launched eight employee resource groups, including ones for African American, female, veterans and Hispanic employees. That effort has led to employees finding mentors, getting career advice and having a chance to advocate for new benefits. For example, this year Ally is introducing expanded health care that covers fertility and adoption benefits to support LGTBQ employees and hearing aids and that has no limit for applied behavioral analysis therapy for treating autism.

It also has a range of recruitment efforts to attract employees of different backgrounds. One unique program is Moguls in the Making, a collaboration with rapper Big Sean and his foundation and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. It’s a competition that “aims to prepare and empower young black entrepreneurs,” said Reggie Willis, senior director of diversity and inclusion at Ally.

During a weeklong event in Detroit in March, teams of students from historically black colleges will develop business plans and pitch their ideas to a group of judges, including Big Sean. The winners will receive an internship at Ally.

“At Ally we take an expanded definition of diversity, focusing on all differences,” Willis said. “We recognize diversity of thought and ensuring a broad base of differences in our hiring practices is critical for us to meet the needs of our customers.”

Pictured: Rapper Big Sean, Andrea Brimmer, Ally’s chief marketing and public relations officer, and George Spencer, executive vice president of business development and innovation and entrepreneurship at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, discuss the Moguls in the Making competition.

By Jackie Stewart of American Banker