The Dark Side of Wells Fargo’s ‘Diversity’ Efforts

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In a well-intentioned initiative gone awry, current and former Wells Fargo employees have come forward with details of how the bank has conducted its diversity and inclusion efforts: fake interviews

Joe Bruno, a former executive at Wells Fargo, is one of seven individuals who have spoken out about a disturbing system in which they were instructed by immediate bosses or HR executives to conduct interviews for “different‘candidates — which the bank defined as women and people of color — for positions that had already been filled.

Those who spoke up were instructed to conduct the interviews, were aware of the practice or helped to arrange it. The practice seemed to be a means of documenting diversity efforts on paper, rather than carrying them out in practice.

Bruno, who has since been fired from the bank, told… The New York Times that he shared his concerns about the system with his superiors, declaring the practice “inappropriate, morally wrong, ethically wrong.”

Wells Fargo claims that Bruno’s resignation was due to his taking revenge on a colleague, but begs the former director to be different, believing his resignation was a direct result of signaling the diversity initiative to allow fake interviews .

Raschelle Burton, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo, said: “To the extent that individual employees engage in the behavior described by The New York Timeswe will not tolerate it,” in a statement

Burton said that while she was aware of the informal policy, it was implemented in an earlier era that current executives have nothing to do with.

Related: Read Elizabeth Warren’s Epic Smackdown of Wells Fargo CEO

In 2020, Wells Fargo CEO Charles W. Scharf promised to expand inclusion efforts, but he added that the bank struggled to meet diversity targets because there was not enough qualified minority talent. he later apologized for the statement that angered workers and outsiders alike — after it went public.

According to to Burton, 77% of those hired at Wells Fargo in 2020 were not white men, and 81% of those hired in 2021 were not white men, but she did not disclose how many of the roles exceeded $100,000 per pay year – and previously reiterates claims by current and former employees that minority candidates were hired for low-paid positions and interviewed for positions that had already been filled.

Wells Fargo’s disturbing system shows what can go wrong when well-intentioned initiatives are not transparent, creating avenues to bypass the initiative, rather than carry it out as intended.

Three current employees said they’ve had or remembered fake job interviews just this year.

Related: Wells Fargo Drift Lower After Q2 Earnings

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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