Bank of America took home the bronze award for 'Best Career Development Programme' at the Employee Experience Awards 2022, Singapore.
In this interview, we speak to the Bank of America Talent Acquisition Team (TA) who share how its strong emphasis on internal mobility, ensuring employees felt heard and valued, led to this win.
Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you take us through the highs and lows of your winning strategy – how important is it for the organisation to have the strategy recognised this year?
As a TA team, we have been working on refining this strategy for a few years now as we recognise that we need to retain our key talent and the internal mobility strategy was an important way for us to do so. In the beginning, it was challenging to get buy-in from hiring managers as this required a shift in mindset. There is always a fear of losing important members in one’s team and not having the right person to replace the headcount.
However, by developing consistent communication and keeping the conversations going, together with support from the leadership team, we were able to improve buy-in from managers and improve the overall internal mobility numbers and satisfaction scores.
Q Understanding and meeting your employees’ needs and expectations is never an easy feat. How did the organisation identify the business & employee needs, and craft the perfect solution?
At Bank of America, we are committed to making the organisation a great place to work. This means creating a positive and engaging experience not only with new hires but also with our existing employees. From past engagement surveys, we found that many employees in the region valued having their career goals achieved at the bank, having a great experience, and being heard and valued as they look for career opportunities internally. We also had data showing that a large proportion of employees who resigned for a new opportunity elsewhere did so without first exploring internal opportunities, as there was a lack of awareness on how to do so.
As such, we took steps to improve our internal mobility strategy by studying the best practices of other organisations and coupling that with feedback that we received from our TA team and employees.
Ensuring that the strategy works, is a key indicator in our regional career management strategy and a pillar of our people priorities. However, we are also conscious that there is no perfect solution given the ever-changing nature of recruitment. Therefore, we strive to continuously refine our strategy to meet our needs.
Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation, in terms of ROI, when it came to fruition? Share with us the benefits of having such a strategy in place.
One of the biggest objectives of our internal mobility strategy is to provide our employees and managers with an exceptional experience as employees move between roles internally. In order to build a strong foundation and a culture of internal mobility, we have a dedicated internal mobility team in the region that was set up to respond to employees within 48 hours about the status of their applications. They also provide support in terms of consultation for their next role, preparation for interviews, and ensuring that they receive feedback after all rounds of interviews. A calendar of events was set up to include career stories, road shows, and 1:1 drop-in sessions – to showcase the opportunities and benefits of internal mobility.
Q Could you offer some recommendations to your peers across industries – what advice or lessons would you have to guide them into implementing something similar for their own EX foundation?
Never has there been a time where it is imperative that an organisation be able to retain key talent. There are many ways to do so and before deciding on the best strategy, it would be best to first understand the reasons why employees are leaving the organisation. If the results show that there are other more pertinent factors that are causing the attrition, then it might be worthwhile to rectify those issues first.
Should the results show that employees are happy in general but are leaving to either pursue a different kind of opportunity or are not aware of the opportunities available internally, then it would be best to dive deeper and customise a strategy that will work for your organisation.
For example, if there is a lack of awareness in our organisation, we partnered with our internal communications team to increase awareness through stories and have clear call-to-actions that lead employees to the resources available. We also partnered with our HR business partners and employee networks to help drive home the message to all employees.
Q If you were to reflect, what is one thing you’ll do differently in executing this strategy?
We have partnered with other HR teams, such as talent & learning and our HR business partners in order to ensure the success of our internal mobility strategy. We have also looked outside of HR by partnering with our comms team and employee networks to ensure further outreach. The strategy was new and still being refined, and looking back, we could have showcased our successes externally at an earlier stage – which could have helped to attract new talent to the organisation.
For job-seekers who are looking to try out different roles or for new graduates who may not have decided exactly what they want to do – being able to join an organisation with a strong culture of internal mobility would be very attractive to them.
Q Looking ahead, how are you and your team going to take this winning strategy higher and further in the coming years? Give us a sneak peek to into your upcoming plans to grow the overall employee experience.
We have continuously sought to refine and improve our Internal Mobility strategy over the years by acting on feedback that we receive from employees and managers. Internal mobility does not only affect the employee but also, the hiring managers. They are important stakeholders as the issue of losing a key talent in their team can be sensitive and challenging. As such, we have made great strides in inculcating a culture of internal mobility in the organisation by helping them to understand that internal mobility is a win-win situation for all parties.
Undoubtedly, there would be managers who are new to the organisation or are newly promoted, and it would be important to continue engaging them and acting on feedback which is from their point of view, so that we can continue to improve on the process. Given that we are also a large organisation, we have seen some internal moves which have crossed domains or even geographical boundaries – and we need to continue to showcase these success stories as they can give inspiration for employees who are looking to do the same.
Q 10 years down the line, where do you see the future of HR?
The past couple of years have challenged HR to think and act differently as many employees had to work remotely. Therefore, as an HR function, we need to be agile and be able to respond quickly to the changing work environment. It is important to still be accessible to all employees and to be able to engage a workforce who may not always be in the office.
We will need to rely on big data and analytics to help us make informed decisions about what matters to our employees and we need to innovate and develop creative solutions that will resonate with our employees, helping them to come to the realization that they do not need to leave the organisation in order to fulfil their goals.
Photo / Taken at Employee Experience Awards 2022, Singapore [ Pictured: Bank of America's talent acquisition team]