How Bloomberg's GOAL program helps underrepresented employees rise

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Large companies continue to demonstrate an increased commitment to diversity, but data shows there is still a lot of work to do—especially at the management level.

In 2020, CNBC reported on a study that found 85% of top executive positions are held by white employees. Only 2% of top executive positions are held by Black employees and only 3% are held by Hispanic employees.

What’s more, in 2019, women made up only 21% of C-suite positions, according to a study from McKinsey.

At Bloomberg, we are committed to closing these gaps. We understand that when a company not only values diversity, but prioritizes it, everybody wins. We also acknowledge we have a lot of work to do, ourselves. With this in mind, Bloomberg recently launched its GOAL program, which focuses on the development, acceleration, and retention of Bloomberg employees from historically marginalized groups.

What is the GOAL program?

GOAL stands for Growth, Opportunity, Access and Leadership, and the GOAL programs aim to develop and accelerate underrepresented talent at Bloomberg. GOAL is designed to provide bespoke growth, exposure, and networking opportunities to the participants, as well as providing them with access to a Bloomberg mentor/sponsor and an external career coach. Throughout the program, participants also meet with senior managers, as well as with one another to offer peer support.

“The aim of these bespoke experiences is to elevate this group of high-performing, high-potential talent and provide them with growth opportunities,” said Sangita Clarke, Global Diversity Talent Specialist. “As well as working closely with the participants, we also work closely with senior managers and HR. The ultimate aim is to prepare and connect this group of talent to open opportunities across the enterprise.”

How does it work?

While the GOAL program is not designed as a guaranteed track to promotion, it does provide cohort members with the tools, skills, and exposure they need to grow and advance at work. It is split into two phases, Goal 1.0 and Goal 2.0. The former focuses on development and retention within an employee’s role, and the latter helps employees nurture the skills they need to move into roles at higher levels. Bloomberg mentors/sponsors are there to help program participants identify and overcome challenges they may face. They also provide feedback, guidance, and advocate for them across the company.

“It’s very important to build a relationship with your mentee where you’re able to have honest conversations,” said mentor Rakshita Saluja, News Executive Editor, Equality. “And you’re able to create a space where the mentee feels comfortable to actually share details about their lives and some of the obstacles they’re facing.”

Mentor Matt Brundage, Americas Head of Buy Side Enterprise Sales, agrees. “I’m always opposed to what I call ‘forced mentorship,’ mentorship programs that start at a professional level, but don’t bleed into the personal side of things. I think if you don’t start at a personal level, then you’re not really connecting with someone, and if you don’t really connect with someone, it’s hard to guide them without a personal connection.”

Success stories

So far, 149 employees have participated in Goal 2.0 programs. In 2020/2021 the three target groups are Black and Latinx employees in the Americas, ethnic minority employees in EMEA, and female Team Leaders globally. Of these 149 participants, 77 have now successfully completed the program, and 60% have had a management level increase or lateral move. For Goal 1.0 2020 cohorts, we have 100% retention of participants.

“I had an incredible mentor who was very engaged,” said Pamela Roux, Economics Search & Discovery Product Manager. “He played an instrumental role by helping me prioritize my career aspirations and guiding me to the next level in my career.”

Mario Parker, National Politics Team Leader, added, “There were several elements of the program that were very beneficial for me. One aspect, in particular, was the coaching and small-group sessions that allowed for an opportunity to reflect on my career and skills.” Parker said some of the best advice from his mentor was to not fear speaking up. He learned that his perspective is valid and deserves to be heard.

For JB Burd, BVAL Yield Curve Evaluator, the program was also a key confidence booster. “I moved from Global Data over to Enterprise Data. The Goal 2.0 program gave me confidence, so when this role did come up, I felt empowered to say, ‘Yes, I’m qualified. Yes, I can immediately add value and contribute to this product.’”

What’s next?

Bloomberg is committed to supporting and investing in these groups of talent over the coming years. We will also continue to launch new cohorts of Goal 1.0 and Goal 2.0 in 2022 and going forward.

In order to expand the GOAL program and its reach, Bloomberg launched a Goal Insights Series, a six-part series that gives underrepresented groups the opportunity to learn techniques that will support their career development and growth. The program launched successfully in the Americas in July 2021 and will be expanded globally in the coming months.

The Goal programs are part of a wider D&I strategy which looks to address representation of women and ethnic talent across the different levels of the organization.

Pamela Hutchinson, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, comments that, “We were very thoughtful about how we structured the GOAL Program. Targeted programs are not new, and many organizations have them, but they aren’t always successful. For us, ensuring that the participants’ managers were equally invested — by building their competence as inclusive leaders — was critical. Additionally, supporting them with tools, content, and regular drop-in sessions meant they were clear about the role they play in career progression. Without this investment in and activation of our managers, I don’t believe we would have had the same measurable impact.”