This company is leading the pack in attracting, retaining female talent

At Bank of America, women make up about 45 percent of the management team. The company is also raising its minimum wage in 2020 from $17 to $20 an hour.
Know Your Value founder and "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.
Know Your Value founder and "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.Anthony Scutro

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By Renee Morad

To shine light on a company that’s great for women, in addition to attracting and retaining incredible female talent, Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski sat down with chairman and CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan.

At Bank of America, women make up about 45 percent of the management team and 40 percent of the top three levels of the company, according to its Human Capital Management Report, which takes a look at the company’s diverse and inclusive work culture. There are six women on Bank of America’s board of directors—which makes the financial institution one of only five companies of any size with that many women.

Following a push to hire thousands of employees from low- to moderate-income communities, the company is also raising its minimum raise. By the first quarter of 2020, the minimum wage will be $20 per hour, up from $17 per hour.

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“The way we make this happen and make sure we work with women and people of color is to be looking at all the promotions and all the changes. Every one of my managers across all the units has an obligation to continue to make progress with the goals in their unit, and it’s measured every business review with me, every quarter,” Moynihan said. “They have to describe—even if it’s four levels away from them—why they aren’t making progress to increase the women as a percentage of managers.”

To help women rise up in the ranks and stay with the company for a long time, Bank of America asks all employees every year how they feel in an employee survey. The women are more satisfied in the company than the men, Moynihan said. Part of this process includes asking employees what they need. Employees often say they need mentorship, in addition to community and development programs to become strong leaders. They also want strong benefits.

Bank of America’s family leave is 16 weeks. “We expect everybody to take this leave whether you adopt, whether you’re a same-sex couple, whether you’re a male and female, we expect everybody to take this leave from the top of the house down,” Moynihan said.

“We have strong benefits for elder care, which—the way society works—often falls on the female,” Moynihan also mentioned.

Brzezinski and Moynihan also discussed the importance of employees speaking up and asking for what they need. Moynihan mentioned that Bank of America asks society the question, “What would you like the power to do?” in their advertising. The bank also asks this question internally among their employees.

“The idea is to ask the question. The power is in the question,” Moynihan said. “It is incumbent upon the person to answer the question.”