When we talk about diversity, the first thing that comes to our mind is gender diversity. But that is not the only type of diversity. There are different facets of diversity in the corporate world. Bringing together different perspectives from different backgrounds and walks of life, no matter who they are and where they come from, is diversity.
Realising this, Wells Fargo has taken a few steps to widen the scope of its diversity agenda. The Company has announced the second addition of its Veterans’ Team Member Network (VTMN), where the company is set to give employment opportunities to veterans, ex-army officers and retired officers.
Through this programme, it wishes to bridge the gap between an army man and the corporate world.
People in the armed forces come with a very different set of skills of people management and tackling difficult situations. These can be very handy in the corporate setup as well, as they can be used in different roles.
According to Partha Panda, head-strategic initiatives, Wells Fargo EGS, India, who also handles the VTMN initiative, the programme focuses on how to expand the veterans’ community in the Company and how to generate employment for them.
“Being a Navy veteran myself, the opportunity to imbibe corporate norms and interact with diverse cultures made the transition to corporate life more exciting for me. The commitment to excel and the integrity brought about by the veterans makes them stand out. Often, we do not correlate military experiences with corporate life. At Wells Fargo, the programme is very effective as we support veterans by helping them understand their capabilities and strengths. We assist them to figure out the role that will suit them best and then help them grow in that field,” says Panda.
At Wells Fargo, there is a veterans’ network or group, which gives a lot of referrals through which the hiring of veterans takes place. Apart from that, commissioned army officers are sent to the IIMs of the country from where campus hiring is done by the company.
“There is a huge lack of awareness regarding the skillsets of veterans in the corporate. We want to bring together this community and create unique success stories through our veteran programme”
For non-commissioned officers, the Company is working with government bodies, such as Director General Resettlement (DGR) of the Army, Commodore Bureau of Sailors (CABS) of the Navy, and the Air Force Record Office (AFRO) of the Air Force, which focus on reintegration of veterans.
As per Panda, while hiring veterans in the company, they consider the core skills and functional domain expertise, which are required for the job. Also, the members of the veterans’ network also provide suggestions to the hiring managers as to what roles the veterans can fit into.
“There is a stereotype thinking that veterans are only fit for profiles, such as security and facilities. But now, the defence forces are also equipping people with skills, such as risk management, IT and analytics, which can be used in the corporate world,” mentions Panda.
Wells Fargo gives veterans an opportunity to work in risk management, IT, supply chain, HR, communications, analytics, information security and infrastructure, in addition to security and facilities.
The idea of including veterans in the company was ignited by Panda, when he came to know that the Company’s US headquarters was aiming to induct 20,000 army people in the Company by the end of this year. He felt that the same should be tried in India.
“I broached this idea with the leadership team at Wells Fargo. The MD approved and the leadership team also supported it,” shares Panda.
While onboarding veterans, it is important to guide them through the ways of the corporate world. For this, the Company has a buddy programme, where a buddy is assigned to the new hire.
Regular training programmes are also offered to ensure a smooth transition for the veterans.
Wells Fargo has joined hands with other banking and financial companies, such as Goldman Sachs to boost the agenda of veteran hiring.
“There is a huge lack of awareness regarding the skillsets of veterans in the corporate. We want to bring together this community and create unique success stories through our veteran programme,” concludes Panda.