The Talent Economy Podcast

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Prioritizing Education

Season 2, Ep. 10

The year 2020 offered innumerable lessons about our individual communities and even society as a whole. As we begin to wind down from a tumultuous year, many corporations are looking to their workforce to see what they can do to elevate them. In this episode, we speak with DJ Casto, Executive Vice President and CHRO of Synchrony, one of the nation’s premier consumer financial services companies, about the initiatives companies can take to help build up their employees. 

At Synchrony, Casto is responsible for engaging employees in the company’s strategic business imperatives and building people-led development programs that strengthen culture, drive business growth, and nurture the company’s talent as a competitive advantage. He began his career at PepsiCo in human resources field operations, advancing to lead labor and employee relations for the North American beverages business, where he managed union awareness strategies before advancing to the role of Senior Director of Global Organization Development. He holds a master’s degree in industrial relations and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University. Casto serves on the boards of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), buildOn, and West Virginia University MSIR Executive Alumni.

In this episode, Casto provides an in-depth look at Synchrony’s Education as an Equalizer program, and how important education is in creating an ecosystem for success. He also discusses how remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped the company align business goals, and how it has affected the way Synchrony employees work, including insight into the three different “hubs” the company has put into place—and what that means for the future of their working environment.

Some Questions Asked:

  • How did you arrive at your job with Synchrony?
  • What are the specific goals for the Education as an Equalizer initiative?
  • What are you doing to continue to instill Synchrony culture to those employees who are now 100% virtual?

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • About the implementation of Synchrony’s five-year, $50 million Education as an Equalizer initiative and how the concept came about. 
  • About Synchrony’s 100 Days of Wellness initiative and how the company is committed to helping its employees refuel after a difficult year. 
  • What the pandemic taught Synchrony about employees’ desire to work from home.

Links:


More Episodes

11/7/2022

Chegg: Taking On Employees’ Education Debt

Season 2, Ep. 38
Chegg is a connected platform enabling students to learn more in less time—and at reduced costs. The company offers discounted textbooks, online tutoring, and other student services, while providing diverse employee upskilling and development opportunities. Debra Thompson is Chegg’s Chief People Officer, infusing the brand’s culture of innovation, transparency, wellness, and work/life balance throughout the company. Previously, she served as Director of Compensation, Benefits, and HR Operations at Amyris and held directorial and managerial roles at RMS, CNET Networks, and Lucent Technologies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and personnel administration/industrial relations from California State University, East Bay.Some Questions Asked:What is Chegg’s approach to the upskilling, learning, and development of internal teams? 5:17What is the culture like at Chegg, and how do you maintain it? 11:53Can you tell us about Chegg’s partnership with the Tides Foundation? 21:54 In This Episode, You Will Learn:How Chegg offers learning opportunities for all employees, such as its Level Up initiative that includes seven different flagship management trainings, like giving and receiving feedback and behavioral interviewing, as well as its EDU for You program that gives staff money to pursue education in their personal fields of interest.That the culture at Chegg is built on openness, assumptions of positive intent from everyone, and optimal work/life balance—and that the company holds an annual culture, belonging, and diversity summit.How the brand’s philanthropic arm, Chegg.org, partners with groups to combat hunger, promote good health and well-being, deliver access to quality education and decent work opportunities, and reduce inequalities throughout the world. Links:Debra Thompson - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy podcast