There’s one question most potential candidates anticipate as part of a job interview: What’s your job salary history?
For women and minorities, this one question can dramatically affect their potential lifetime earnings compared to their white male counterparts in the same job doing the same work. Why? Because on average, women and minorities earn less than their white male counterparts. Places like New York City and California, are addressing this issue by banning employers from asking about a candidate’s salary history. If candidates are not constrained by how much they previously made, they are in a better position to self-advocate for an equitable salary. We maintain offices in these locations and obviously comply with the law. However, we decided to go one step further – doing away with the practice of asking for salary history at all the locations where we do business, not just where it’s required. Further, while Human Resources knows salary history for internal candidates, we do not share it with hiring managers when they are considering those candidates.
This is an example of how our keen focus on inclusion is prompting us to ask the tough questions to identify and address bias in our processes and systems in order to be more inclusive.
Our Keen Focus on Inclusion
Since 1970, we’ve been making homeownership and rental housing more accessible for families across the nation. Our leaders have a longstanding commitment to ensuring our workforce reflects the rich diversity of the people we serve. Welcoming and recognizing diversity is embedded in our DNA. We are a minority majority company and women make up nearly half of our organization. The conversation is no longer if diversity is a business imperative; we know it’s a right priority.
Establishing meaningful connections with people unlike yourself.
As we continue to evolve, we are more sharply focusing on inclusion, defined here as the intentional act of making people feel included. For us, inclusion itself is not a program; instead, it’s a mindset. On our journey to be more inclusive, we will address biased systems, ignite innovation through diverse perspectives and further embed a culture where people feel comfortable to be their authentic selves. We’re actively engaging the differences of our employees, suppliers and partners to further drive our mission of making home possible. We call it inclusive engagement.
An Inclusive Mindset Delivers Meaningful Results
Asking the right questions, interacting with a more open mind and working collaboratively to address some of our industry’s biggest challenges are all characteristics of inclusive engagement.
For example, one Freddie Mac employee, who is also an active employee resource group member, asked: Why don’t we know more about the housing insights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/gender expansive (LGBT) homeowners and renters? This question prompted her to partner with the PRIDE employee resource group and divisions such as Single-Family, Multifamily, Legal and Corporate Communications among others to commission a first-of-its-kind study to better understand the LGBT housing experience in the United States. The research found that members of the LGBT community are less likely to own a home, are more mobile, fear discrimination when buying a home and prioritize living in LGBT-safe neighborhoods.
As we think about our supplier partnerships, another employee asked: how can we better engage our diverse suppliers? The outcome was the launch of the Freddie Mac Vendor Academy. Our program targets minority-, women-, disabled-, veteran-, service-disabled veteran, and LGBT- owned businesses to help them learn more about how to do business with Freddie Mac and to grow their business with other companies as well. The results have been promising with nearly 40 percent of all Vendor Academy graduates earning contracts with us post-completion and graduation from the five-month program.
Engaging inclusively extends beyond our walls and permeates into our communities through our corporate community engagement program. An employee asked: How else can we help underserved communities realize their homeownership ambitions? Our community engagement team worked with Single-Family to leverage our CreditSmart® financial literacy education program and partnered with community organizations to share their knowledge with underserved communities.
Diversity will always remain a non-negotiable for us. Our employees, suppliers and partners must continue to reflect our customers and the world in which we live. Our broad goals are to maintain and, where possible, increase our diverse representation while simultaneously maximizing the inclusion of the diversity we have. As we continue our journey, we aim to leverage inclusive engagements to further challenge the status quo and create the next innovative solutions in service to the nation’s communities.