TD Bank (No. 19 on DiversityInc’s Top 50 List) announced this month that they are launching a new program with iRelaunch to help individuals who have taken career breaks re-enter the workplace at TD’s Commercial Bank. iRelaunch is a third-party program that helps companies recruit and retrain people who have been out of the traditional workforce for two or more years. The 16-week program is the first of its kind TD has used to attract diverse talent.
Applications are open and more information is available at https://jobs.td.com/en/career-relaunch-program/. The program will begin January 2020.
DiversityInc’s Olivia Riggio spoke to Chris Giamo, Head of Commercial Bank, TD Bank, about how the program works, who it will benefit and how TD fits into the broader landscape of companies looking past applicant career breaks to recruit diverse talent.
Olivia Riggio: Describe the career relaunch program and why it is important to TD Bank.
Chris Giamo: Diversity and Inclusion is obviously an important initiative for the bank as well as within the Commercial Bank, and we have created a group of individuals, a self-managed team with people from across all areas of our business and geographies within Commercial, to find ways that we can better align and improve our diversity and inclusion efforts. And, one thing that they came across as we were looking at our talent agenda, is that individuals who were in the workplace that had to leave for some reason … it was a little bit difficult for those individuals to re-enter the workforce. And organizations like iRelaunch have been successful in identifying that pool of talent that’s looking to re-enter the workforce. So, that’s how it really came about.
And I think the importance is kind of twofold. We’re constantly focused on our talent agenda. One, developing our own people with thoughtful development plans, but also how do we recruit top talent from the marketplace? And, this was one way that increases the talent pool where there could’ve been very talented individuals that have a big gap in the workforce, and this is a way that we can bring them back in, retrain … refine … reorient them to TD, to the banking industry, and hopefully long-term employment.
OR: As far as the iRelaunch program goes, what does it look like? What are some of the training and activities and other resources it offers?
CG: It would be, one, systems-oriented, with the systems that we use depending on what job family we’re talking about. There’d also be an orientation to TD and our culture and who we are as an organization, and also on-the-job mentoring and shadowing, so they can really understand what goes on day-to-day and get our colleague experience as well. And that, we think, is going to be an important component to ready any of these talented candidates for full-time employment.
OR: What’s your role in the program?
CG: I’m the Head of the Commercial Bank in the U.S. for TD Bank, so along those lines of my own goals and agenda, of our own talent agenda as well as diversity and inclusion, these roles would be within my broader organization. … In research and what we’ve found, a lot of the individuals looking to re-enter the workforce through these types of programs, a large percentage of them are women. So, that helps us with our goal to increase the amount of women we have in leadership.
OR: Like you said, career breaks most often affect women on maternity leave, but also people with disabilities, veterans and people reentering the workforce after prison time. Which of these populations do you see TD drawing from the most with this program?
CG: I think it’s too soon to say … Those are all possible pillars within diversity and inclusion that could attract qualified candidates for this program. We’re excited to roll this out for the first time for the bank and within my group.
OR: How does this program help you attract talent that is often overlooked in the industry? How does it help TD?
CG: I think if I were to look at traditional recruiting, anyone with a large gap in their resume, I would say, probably went to the bottom of the pile. This program solely focuses on people trying to re-enter with those gaps … It’s upfront and known that there’s going to be a gap, so the real focus is on what skills and experiences they previously had, and how it’s applicable to what our demands on talent are today … Partnering with an independent firm that is focused on this, are experts in it, is what’s going to be helpful.
What it means for us in the future, quite frankly, is if we’re going to increase our talent pool that we get to choose from … we will now have a larger more diverse talent pool to look at.
OR: What kind of unique points-of-view do workers who have stepped away from the workforce for a while offer?
CG: I’m sure that they bring perspectives and experiences that they had during that time off. They also probably will come in with a fresh set of eyes … not being wed to old ways of doing things if they were out for a number of years. This refinement or refreshing training in the initial 16 weeks of the program would bring them in. They probably have a lot of intellectual curiosity and willingness to engage in that. So, I think this program will bring not only some diversity, but diversity of thought and experiences to the role, and an openness and willingness to see where the industry has evolved from since they left the workforce.
OR: What kind of experience do you want applicants to have? Are you looking for people who are trying to enter this industry for the first time after working elsewhere in the past, or are you looking for people who have some experience in your industry and have just taken a break?
CG: I think that we would probably focus on people who have had banking or some level of financial services experience. And we’ll try and match what we think our longer-term demand of skill is to the pool of candidates. Meaning, if we think we definitely need more people in credit underwriting, let’s say, then maybe we would focus on people who had experiences in underwriting, and that could be at another financial services firm, an insurance company, or maybe somebody with a strong accounting background. So, I think it’ll be more deliberate as we’re going through and aligning what we think our needs would be with the pools of candidates that iRelaunch services.
OR: Other companies across various industries seem to be utilizing relaunch programs. We recently spoke to Mastercard, which is also using iRelaunch. How does TD fit into this growing trend, and is there anything new it brings to the table?
CG: I think what we bring is a unique culture. I think TD Bank is a great place to work. We promote a diverse and inclusive culture, and we’re a growth company, so we bring a lot to the table as an employer of choice that will be great for all these candidates. I’m glad that we’re an early adopter of this more formal program, and I think it’s going to be an exciting partnership for both of us.