The Wells Fargo D&I Champions Recognition Program was established 11 years ago as a way to recognize team members for the work that they were doing to further the diversity and inclusion agenda at Wells Fargo. Since then, it has grown to recognize six individuals and six groups annually, receiving as many as 250 nominations in a single year. The D&I Champions Recognition Program has become a cornerstone of the D&I team’s efforts to help team members understand what leading inclusively looks like, and to reinforce the behaviors the company would want to see.
To ensure this, the eligibility criteria aligns to the three Wells Fargo D&I pillars:
This alignment reinforces the significance of the work the D&I team is doing, the goals it is working to achieve, and reinforces the overall vision the team is moving the company toward.
How the D&I Champions Recognition Program Works
The nomination period runs each year from July 1 – September 30. All Wells Fargo team members, including team members outside the U.S., are eligible to be nominated, regardless of their role. Nominations must be based on work from July of the prior year through June of the current year. Past nominees and recipients are eligible, but only new work qualifies.
To be considered, the nominee’s effort must meet all of the following criteria:
Once the nominations are received at the end of September, the submissions are sent out to each line of business to review and narrow down their submissions to six nominees, three groups and three individuals, one representing each of the pillars. Each line of business can decide who is on the selection committee but they are all using the same criteria.
The final selection committee is an enterprise-wide team made up of internal D&I consultants, past award recipients and business leaders. Using the rating system, they choose the final 12 recipients.
The D&I Champions receive:
To amplify the work of these champions, senior leaders are copied on the email communications about the recipients to help inform and raise the visibility of those champions to their senior leaders. In addition, the D&I team hosts a call featuring the 12 recipients/groups with senior leaders.
Consistent, Multichannel Communication is a Key to the Success of the Program
A few years into the program, there was a significant shift in the process to align the program with the three pillars of D&I at Wells Fargo. In addition, the team changed the nomination process to be more equitable across the lines of business. In the past, the larger the line of business, the more nominations that line of business was able to submit. The team changed the process so that each line of business submits the same number of nominations. Additionally, D&I consultants embedded in each line of business were leveraged to ensure consistent communications.
During the nomination period there are multiple communications. The team starts with a kick off call with key partners from TMNs and lines of business to walk through the program, process timeline and what a good nomination looks like. There are multiple posts on the Wells Fargo employee intranet site, and the program has a dedicated website where regular updates are posted. Additionally, information about the program is published in the monthly TMN newsletter.
Lines of business or TMNs can set up one-on-one meetings with the D&I Champion Program team to talk through the selection process.
Working with Corporate Communications has been essential to connect and share the information across lines of business. This has further engaged senior leaders to send out communications about the program as well.
Collaboration: The D&I Champions Recognition Program would not be as successful if it were not for the collaboration and engagement across multiple functions at Wells Fargo, including Corporate Communications, internal D&I consultants, HR, senior business leaders and the Wells Fargo Foundation.
A Little Competition Isn’t a Bad Thing: It is something that people truly look forward to and team members are disappointed when they are not selected for an award. This makes the team relentless and consistent around program communications to ensure they are being as transparent as possible. In addition, when a line of business’s efforts are not acknowledged, it sparks conversations to think about how they can do things differently to be recognized as a best practice the following year.