We recognized the need to develop a more diverse slate of talent to fill senior positions through our talent management processes. In addition, we identified a level gap in our development programming. We had entry level cohort-oriented development programs, and senior level programs, but were lacking any programs for our middle management and emerging talent.
We developed and launched a multi-module cohort experience for our middle management in 2014. This highly selective program is designed for diverse talent, primarily women and minorities, and is open to other diverse individuals as well – members of the LGBT+ community, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. Individuals are identified as candidates for the program through our talent review process. Participants must be considered high potential, have been with the bank for at least one year, and have expressed interest in growing their career. The program is limited to 50 participants per year.
The program consists of six, three-day modules over the span of 11 months. The content is designed to address many challenges facing diverse individuals in corporate America: lack of sponsorship, lack of visibility from Senior Management, differing styles, and exclusion from informal networks. Within the program, each participant has a senior level mentor who is also encouraged to act as a sponsor, and there are networking opportunities with other Senior Managers. The formal curriculum includes leadership development sessions focused on building skills such as leading others and communication, overviews of each of the divisions within the bank – coordinated by the participants. This gives the participants an opportunity to interact with senior management in a way they have not before, and share information with their cohort build connections. A key component of the program is the opportunity for the cohort to build their own informal network.
Through three completed cohorts of the program, we have had 127 people participate. Of those 127, 43 received a corporate title promotion, and 60 have taken on new responsibilities either during or after the conclusion of the program.
At M&T, we want to be the best place our employees ever work. We are intensely committed to providing all employees with an inclusive professional environment – an environment where individual differences are respected and valued and where all employees feel they belong. In making this pledge we are taking an important step forward to collaborate with other leading companies and engage in a richer dialogue to bring about tangible change -- the kind that can continue to move our company forward.