Box-ticking exercise | Wells Fargo accused of interviewing diverse candidates AFTER the roles were filled

Wells Fargo accused of interviewing diverse candidates AFTER the roles were filled

Wells Fargo has been accused of interviewing diverse candidates for positions that had already been filled, in a bid to boost their D&I statistics.

As reports the New York Times, former wealth management executive Joe Bruno alleges that the firm would frequently interview a candidate from an ethnic minority, to boost the company’s D&I data.

The firm was one of many that had pledged an increased commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020. Part of Wells Fargo’s plans was a formal policy that mandated at least one “diverse” candidate would have to be interviewed for any job vacancy paying more than $100,000 a year.

However, Bruno adds that often, the position being interviewed for had already been offered to someone else – rendering the pledge to diversity a simple box-ticking exercise.

After refusing to conduct the interviews, he complained to his bosses and describing the process as “inappropriate, morally wrong, ethically wrong”. Bruno says his concerns were dismissed, before he was subsequently fired in an apparent retaliatory move.

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But he is not the only one raising such claims. According to the publication, at least seven former Wells Fargo employees have spoken anonymously about being instructed by their boss or HR manager to interview diverse candidates — even though the decision had already been made to give the job to another candidate.

They claim that part of Wells Fargo’s motives was boosting its diversity image “in anticipation of possible regulatory audits”, the NYT said.

Raschelle Burton, a Wells Fargo spokesperson, told the national newspaper: “To the extent that individual employees are engaging in the behavior as described by The New York Times, we do not tolerate it.”

The impact of diversity

The allegations against Wells Fargo paint a sorry picture of how desperately some firms want to appear diverse, without putting in the leg work.

But the effort to truly diversify the workforce is more than worth it, as statistics show.

Data from McKinsey shows that corporations identified as more diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. Furthermore, diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions according to People Management, while Deloitte finds that 74% of millennial employees believe their organization is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion, and 47% actively look for diversity and inclusion when sizing up potential employers.

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