The role of millennials in corporate America is one that’s often full of pros and cons, depending on the company. Though tech savvy and innovative, some executives worry about their company loyalty or alleged attitudes of entitlement. But TIAA, the leading retirement provider for academic and research professionals, sees millennials as part of their diversity and inclusion strategy. Listed on Black Enterprise‘s 2016Â Best Companies for Diversity report, TIAA’s values have proven to be a strong point for attracting and retaining millennials.
Black Enterprise caught up with Skip Spriggs, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, who provided valuable insight into how TIAA reaches the most ethnically diverse generation.
“I think that most organizations just talk about diversity in terms of ethnicity and gender. We use a much broader definition here at TIAA, and millennials certainly fit into that category,â€ he says. “We recognize that there is a direct correlation between our employee base and the clients that we serve. If we want to, from a business model perspective, make sure that we’re relevant to that customer base, it’s equally important that our employee base mirrors that.â€
Here are some ways TIAA includes millennials and ensures that African American employees get into senior management positions:
1. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
TIAA has eight employee resource groups that bring millennials on board and provide incentives for them to remain, including The Young Professionals or “Yo Pros”–an employee group dedicated to young professionals who are early in their career.
According to Spriggs, the group is very active in the millennial area, with social media recruiting and various volunteer events that recognize millennials’ desire for jobs that offer a purpose aligning with their own. “We feel that, because we’re in the business of providing for those people who serve others, it really resonates with millennials. [It’s] our value proposition, among making sure we [support the] financial well-being of our clients,â€ he says.
2. Senior Level Executive Sponsors
Each employee resource group has a senior level executive sponsor. Each senior level executive sponsor works with each employee resource group to make sure they have a business focused agenda, which is attached to a number of key performance indicators and metrics.
“So, when you think about millennial recruiting and bringing in senior level, African American talent, those are metrics that are on our dashboard. We monitor the representation of the people that we recruit very closely,â€ Spriggs says.
3. Mentoring Programs
TIAA has well-thought-out mentoring programs, through the women’s ERG, African American ERG, and the Hispanic ERG. Spriggs stresses that TIAA makes sure every employee has a development plan, regardless of ethnicity or gender. The mentoring groups are focused on making sure that once there is a development plan, the firm can make that plan actionable. “A lot of that is really having access to senior level people that look and sound like you,â€ he says.
“It is providing access to other senior leaders that can show their path. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy; if you already have a very diverse senior level team, thisÂ provides a forum for the next level of leaders coming through, giving them a clear path for how to get there. We’re so proud of that,â€ he continues.
Additionally, the firm conducts town halls and events–like their Lunch-and-Learn event–all geared toward ensuring that early and mid-level professionals can figure out how get from where they are, to where they want to be.