Becoming a Destination Employer

SF Fed human resources and diversity leaders Teuila Hanson and Rita Aguilar talk about traits of a destination employer and how the SF Fed is changing to attract and retain new generations of workers (video, 5:17).

What makes the SF Fed a great place to work? Like other high-performing organizations, the SF Fed competes for talent to fill mission-critical roles. As part of our 2015 annual report, What We've Learned…and why it matters, we discuss our unique employee value proposition and mission that help us hire exceptional and diverse talent. We also discuss the challenges of attracting, developing, and retaining a contemporary workforce.


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John Williams:

People matter. For us to be the best at what we do, we need to focus on our people. To do that, we need to start with great experiences, compelling leaders, and opportunities to grow and be accountable for achieving great things. At the San Francisco Fed, we really need to have employees that are engaged and excited about our public mission and also thinking about new and creative ways to do our work. You talk to a lot of our employees. What do you think really motivates San Francisco Fed employees to come to work?

Teuila Hanson:

Our employees are absolutely motivated by the mission. It's really important to understand how our employees are experiencing the organization in a way that's motivating them to do their best work. That's what we want. We want our employees to do the best work, so we're successful, so that we are fulfilling the mission.

There are key components of the employee experience that, in HR, we take a look at. We want to make sure that we are filling each of these buckets. One of those buckets is meaningful work. Employees want to make sure that they're working on something that means something. It's going to contribute to a purpose that's meaningful to themselves and what we have to our nation.

Employees also want to make sure that they have a fantastic work environment. It usually means that it's a diverse and an inclusive environment where there's different perspectives and people with different backgrounds. They can be authentic at work, but they're also contributing to really great ideas and innovations.

Employees also want to work in an environment where they have great management: managers who are coaching; who are providing feedback; who are giving them positive feedback as well as constructive feedback; and managers who are invested in growth and development for employees. Employees also want trust and confidence in leadership. They want to make sure that their leaders are inspiring them, they're motivating them, and they're able to connect the dots between the purpose and mission of the organization and what it means to come to work.

John Williams:

We want to be a destination employer. What does that mean? What is a destination employer?

Teuila Hanson:

A destination employer means that it's the place to be and it could be for a number of reasons. Primarily it's that we have a competitive advantage so that when people see that our bank is hiring, we're number one on the list. We are able to recruit the very best talent and then once they're here, retain them. It doesn't mean that we need to have ping pong tables on every floor or that we need to have freebies for our organization but that we are looking at that right recipe, the right experience—which I mentioned—around meaningful work, trust in leadership, great management, an awesome work environment. If we're able to provide those elements to an employee, then we are the destination employer.

John Williams:

One of the fantastic things about the Twelfth Federal Reserve District is it's an amazingly diverse place in terms of culture, in terms of society. Of course, we need to have our workforce be as diverse as our District population. Now, we've made a lot of efforts towards getting greater diversity of thought, of experience, but quite honestly, we're not where I think we need to be. Rita, tell me about what you're doing around initiatives around diversity and inclusion.

Rita Aguilar:

John, addressing diversity goes hand-in-hand with creating an inclusive environment to make sure that we're attracting and retaining the best employees possible.

John Williams:

When people talk about diversity, they often think about it in kind of a narrow way, about, "Well, we want to have diversity across ethnic groups or racial groups or things," but I think we're trying to push for a broader definition of diversity about having diversity of thought. In addition to those, having diversity of thought, and really trying to tap into the diversity of experience of our folks and being more innovative and more creative. How do you think about some of those aspects?

Rita Aguilar:

I think when you look at our population here at the Bank, I think our conventional thinking is that we look pretty good. We're a pretty diverse workforce, but you're right. We're moving to that place of focusing on diversity of thought, diversity of the experiences and the backgrounds that people bring to the environment, and that help us be more innovative and creative. We're also focusing on our internal affinity groups. We're allowing them to contribute to the goals of the organization and to be the face of the organization as it relates to employee engagement.

Lastly, we can't forget our leaders. Our leaders play a very important role in that process and they are now part of our newly re-chartered Diversity Council. They provide that direct link from decision-making to our diversity and inclusion goals.

John Williams:

I think there's a lot of opportunities out there to get people to understand who we are and, hopefully, maybe some of those people will become interns or, later on, easily be leaders in our organization as well.


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The Future of Cash

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