Diversifying talent through local partnership and outreach
Patagonia is in business to save our home planet, which is in peril. We recognize that the environmental crisis affects everyone, and it disproportionately affects people from marginalized communities. Our best chance to save our planet will require giving everyone a voice, regardless of race, socioeconomic status or background. Patagonia has prioritized advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the company, and in the process, has sought to engage individuals and communities who are historically underrepresented in the outdoor community, the environmental movement, and the company. The Innovation Lab was an opportunity for Patagonia to pilot a program to diversify its retail stores employees.
Through the Talent Rewire Innovation Lab, Patagonia designed a 10-week summer internship program in partnership with a community-based organization, which would involve recruiting and supporting a cohort of four interns in its DC store during the 2018 Summer with the intention of offering employment for the holiday hiring season. They found a strong partner in the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) largely due to strongly aligned mutually beneficial outcomes: Patagonia provided meaningful professional development opportunities for LAYC’s young people, and LAYC provided Patagonia a pool of skilled young people looking to continue their workforce development.
Additionally, to make their hiring process more inclusive of candidates from different backgrounds, Patagonia revised their interview questions to focus more on job skills such as willingness to learn and communication than specific experience in the outdoors with our product.”
Of the four LAYC youth who applied for the internship, 100 percent were accepted, all of which represents a higher interview-to-hire ratio than Patagonia’s traditional applicant pool. Furthermore, all four interns showed interest in staying on with Patagonia as employees. Given the success of the pilot, the outdoor retailer is considering whether and how to scale the program to additional cities.
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- Being a part of FSG’s Innovation Lab has been incredibly energizing for me personally and for my team. Our work with the Lab has given my team greater purpose and clarified how we can make our business goals around diversity and inclusion a reality.
Manager, HR - Talent Management Staffing
- The success of this program really was contingent upon a mutually beneficial partnership between both company and community. The relationship between Caterpillar and Peoria Public Schools was beneficial to both of us.
HR and People Consultant
- There are great organizations doing this amazing work of preparing young people who we would not otherwise reach in our hiring process. We realized that there is a huge opportunity to expand our network and diversify our workforce through these partnerships, and we don’t have to do this important work alone.
- For our pilot, it was important to start small. This allowed us to learn how to engage with and support our interns and our employees so the project would be successful. We developed the program in record speed and we did it with very strong partnerships, both internally and externally. Working with Talent Rewire and Grads of Life exposed us to a lot of great resources to help us with this process.
Talent Acquisition Leader
- We’re very excited to continue this earn-and-learn scholars program. Students in the program have remarked at how valuable the mentoring and professional working experience has been to them, and how the scholarship was beneficial to help pay for their studies. Our hope is to expose students to our unique workplace culture, support them in their education, and encourage others to consider a career in banking.
Senior vice president, Human Resources & Community Relations
ESL Federal Credit Union
- FSG helped us articulate the business value of our program while never asking us to compromise on heart or passion. They prove how industry requires both for success.