Blog Featured Blogs The Landscape of the Future: How Navy Federal Incorporates Digital Learning and STEM into Company Culture

The Landscape of the Future: How Navy Federal Incorporates Digital Learning and STEM into Company Culture

As the U.S. becomes more inclusive, workplaces are following suit. The companies that have a more diverse workforce enable enhanced internal and external benefits. 

In fact, according to a recent study conducted by BuiltIn, by 2044, groups formerly seen as minorities will reach majority status. This study also concluded that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee, and 43% of various boards noticed higher profits.

What’s more, racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to perform better. This article will explore how you can use these five tips to create an inclusive workplace for all employees and show that your business values diversity.

In a recent interview with Britton Bloch, Vice President, Talent Acquisition Strategy & Recruiting, we learned about the Navy Federal Credit Union’s mission and impact. Read further to learn more about their commitment to Women in STEM. 

Q: The landscape around women in STEM has changed dramatically over the past decade. However, some strides still need to be made. What is Navy Federal doing to progress inclusion and diversity? 

A: We have a multi-pronged recruiting strategy that incorporates Diversity and Inclusion. Navy Federal already has a unique culture with a mission to attract and retain top tech talent, but now we are incorporating culture adds.

We see how we can evolve our culture through our diverse talent and create exceptional member experiences through diverse talents, skills, and experiences — bringing innovation to its peak. 

We’ve expanded our outreach to HBCU’s and underrepresented communities by:

  • Activating school agnostic programmatic efforts
  • Deepening our outreach to underrepresented communities
  • Elevating our focus on skill-based hiring

All while continuing to engage and nurture our long-standing, loyal school partnerships, like the University of West Florida. 

Q: How much has the industry changed since you’ve joined?

Employees now have higher expectations on where they work and how they work than ever before. As we move forward post-pandemic, we are implementing a Hybrid model for more flexibility to meet employees’ expectations and ensure that we come together for the moments that matter – celebrations, collaboration, communication, learning, onboarding.

With a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, our elevated focus on people Leadership in addition to operational leadership, and providing more flexibility in where employees work, being that at home or in the office.

We are incorporating behaviors into our culture that support a view of the whole person. This enables us to continue attracting top tech and data talent, including Gen Z. In doing so, we create a more inclusive and flexible environment that leverages the collective talent across the organization and cultivates deeper connections. Hence, employees feel understood and like they fully belong. 

Q: What opportunities exist at Navy Federal for career advancement for women that you might not find at other organizations? 

Our CHRO, Holly Kortright, and my direct leader, champions culture adds and whole-person leadership. Holly truly embodies and models the way for Elevating a culture of inclusiveness and belonging, an incredible springboard for career advancement for women. 

Holly’s thought leadership enables people leaders to create an environment that empowers women and encourages them to speak up and share their innovative ideas and approaches across the enterprise. Holly leverages our incredible culture at Navy Federal while adding dimensions that continue to make us an employer of choice.

Q: Why did Navy Federal choose to partner with Udacity to upskill their workforce?

 The Udacity partnership will help create talent pipelines (both internal and external) to fill critical roles, like cybersecurity, and elevate our priority programs, including  military affairs like supporting veteran communities and their transition. 

We have the opportunity to train our workforce for the careers of the future. We can close tech skills gaps so we can meet our digital transformation goals and accelerate innovation. Udacity’s Nanodegrees are project and skills-based programs that upskill our workforce in essential and emerging technologies. 

Q: Who was your champion at the company?

Ashley Prestwood, Assistant Manager, Learning & Development, introduced me to Udacity. I was invited to a  forum and appreciated the opportunity to learn about the Women in Stem program, the team’s progress, industry stats, and how Navy Federal can progress Women in Stem. Justin Sheehan has been a great communicator and ambassador for Udacity.

Q: What stands out about your learning experience with Udacity? 

 Navy Federal’s partnership with Udacity enables us to acquire talent. The technical skills gap has created a recruiting crisis. There’s a huge need for professionals in AI, data science, cloud computing, and other technical roles, but there are not nearly enough qualified candidates to fill them. You can show potential candidates that you’re committed to supporting them by encouraging the development of new skills, which enables tremendous success and career advancement.

Diversity and inclusion. Tech is still not as representative as it could be. To champion diversity and inclusion and make the tech field more representative of the communities Navy Federal serves, we need to take action. Retraining and teaching our teams inside and creating new opportunities – while pushing D&I efforts forward.

Level up the skills your workforce has today and learn how to harness tomorrow’s technology. 

Q: What feedback are you hearing from the women who participated in the Women in STEM Nanodegree program?

Navy Federal’s brand has truly elevated it to a tech-savvy organization that champions employee development. Participants feel that they have the opportunity to explore and upskill their skills. They are continuing their education and developing skills to expand their career growth. The Nanodegrees are comprehensive- equivalent to a college course. An opportunity for hands-on practice. Elevated skill improvement: Python, Pandas, SQL, GIT. Participants can pace their learning.

Participants have been excited to participate in  self-paced cohort style learning on highly relevant topics such as:    

  • · Data Science 
  • · Data Engineering
  • · Artificial Intelligence
  • · Product Management
  • · Azure Cloud Computing
  • · Predictive Business Analytics

Q: How has the pandemic affected your business and your approach to learning and development? Any observations on the Great Resignation?

Innovative external hiring is needed, but external hiring is only one part of the equation – we also need to ensure that we are developing and moving our talent.

We are delivering on our commitment. With us, you can thrive in your career, develop, and grow. We care about our team members and want to help them achieve their professional goals and the life they want to lead.

Our employees are the heartbeat of our organization. What’s important to them is essential to us, and that’s why we invest in and offer enriching learning opportunities.

We are intentional with aligning expertise and facilitating internal mobility to enable our enterprise strategies. Matching the capabilities and skills of our employees to critical roles: data and analytics roles, Technology and Information Security, Agile for positions that support our transition into an agile way of working.

Navy Federal University

We had 2,000 upskill/reskill engagements (Jan. 2020-July 2021)

Britton Bloch, Vice President, Talent Acquisition Strategy & Recruiting

Our new is an interactive learning platform with robust resources to support upskilling our employees at all skill levels across the enterprise. Over 20 Academies – learning resources and training content organized and managed by the business unit. Academy teams are empowered to create a layout that best features their specific content and is tailored to meet the needs of their particular learner audience. We have three types of academies: Learning & Development Academy – professional development resources, opportunities, and partnerships (like- tech development, leadership development, essential skills), Specialized Academies – explore unique topics and upskill in areas of strategic focus (like- Agile, Diversity & Inclusion, Enterprise Risk, Change Management, Automation Circle of Excellence E, Process Improvement), Business Unit Academies – business unit-specific content and learning paths (like- Contact Center, Digital, Savings & Membership)

Navy Federal University is our new Online Learning: We have reimagined our online learning for employees to create a one-stop-shop for all professional development needs. Whether it’s completing a quick eLearning, viewing a Linked-In Learning course, signing up for a workshop, or engaging with a business unit’s required content, it will all be available at Navy Federal University.

This will have a significant impact on our learning culture and our ability to remain scalable. Navy Federal University addresses the credit union’s needs with easy-to-use, transparent access to training and career pathing.

Q: There are so many opportunities for society to feel overwhelmed in today’s changing world. How do you practice wellness and stay focused on your core mission? 

We incorporate behaviors into our culture that support a view of the whole person- work-life harmonization and world-class benefits that support the entire person. Our employees’ well-being translates into exceptional member services- delivering on our mission.

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