Our people

Recognizing & rewarding performance

Every day we work together to help our customers, clients, colleagues and communities succeed by delivering the power of our company. Recognizing the efforts and rewarding the results of these interactions is a significant part of our culture at Bank of America – from the way we support our employees’ development and career goals through meaningful performance discussions, to how we compensate our teammates, to the culture and conduct practices we’ve established across the company.

Performance management

Through our performance management process, employees understand expectations for their role through ongoing dialogue with their manager. Employees have a performance plan that helps them focus on specific goals in their role with the company, including goals focused on supporting our culture.


Bank of America has a strong pay-for-performance governance framework that rewards long-term, sustainable results that are aligned with stockholder interests. We’re committed to paying our employees competitively based on what the role requires and how the individual performs. We also regularly benchmark our pay against other companies to promote competitiveness with comparable roles in our industry and markets.

There are a range of factors we consider in determining compensation, including job and skillset requirements and the available talent pool. Our pay for performance philosophy means our compensation is driven by a combination of company, line of business and individual performance. We encourage and reward long-term, sustainable performance.

Compensation plan review
We also have robust review processes as part of our governance framework to support the consistent application of our pay practices, including independent analysis by external firms. We’ve received feedback that the depth and rigor of our pay analysis are far ahead of other companies.

Minimum Wage Strategy
We’re committed to paying all of our employees competitive wages, and we invest considerable time in educating and supporting our managers to make sound pay decisions. In particular, we monitor the compensation of employees who are paid hourly to help align their wages with industry trends. We have been a leader in our industry in paying our hourly U.S. employees at a rate higher than federal, state and local minimum wage requirements for several years, and we have made regular increases during that period. In January 2017, we continued this investment and increased our minimum wage to $15 per hour— being one of the first financial services organizations in the U.S. to do so. This applies to all U.S. employees — including current teammates and new hires — and employees in many of our markets are above this minimum. We will continue to focus on this topic as we stay committed to paying competitive wages.

Since 2010, the average annual compensation increases for our U.S. employees have outpaced the average U.S. wage growth. Compensation for all but the highest 10 percent has grown at least twice the rate of the U.S. national average. For our employees who earn less than $100,000 per year, their compensation has risen at 3 to 4 times the rate of the U.S. national average, and this is before we layer in our investment in benefits.

In the spirit of shared success related to strong 2017 performance, we designed special one-time awards targeting approximately 90 percent of our employees. We paid the first phase of these awards in Dec. 2017. This included a one-time special cash award of $1,000 to U.S. employees earning $150,000 or less in total compensation. Other one-time awards followed in early 2018 for global employees and other designated teammates.

Compensation at Senior Levels
As part of our robust governance routines, heads of independent control functions and business lines meet with the Board of Directors’ Compensation and Benefits Committee individually to discuss their feedback on the pay-for-performance process, including how risk management and conduct matters were factored into compensation decisions. The company’s CEO and the CEO’s direct reports receive a portion of their total compensation as base salary and the remainder as variable, pay—a majority of which is delivered as deferred equity-based awards. This pay-for-performance structure, which emphasizes variable equity-based pay, helps motivate our executives to deliver sustained stockholder value and responsible growth. In addition, all of our variable pay awards are subject to claw-back policies.

Learn more about executive compensation in the 2018 Proxy Statement.


In addition to a core focus of connecting pay opportunities for employees to the performance of the individual, line of business and company, we promote a culture that appreciates and celebrates achievement year-round at all levels. This includes opportunities for teammate-to-teammate recognition, for managers and senior leaders to call out individuals and teams with point-based rewards and for managers and senior leaders to celebrate milestones for anniversaries and service to our company and legacy.

Culture and conduct

At Bank of America, our culture comes from how we run the company every day. At the heart of our Responsible Growth strategy is our commitment to “act responsibly”, which includes our commitments to ethical behavior, acting with integrity and complying with laws, rules, regulations and policies that reinforce such behavior. We drive our culture and related expectations for conduct throughout the employee lifecycle – from hiring, to onboarding, to training and development, to decisions on compensation and promotions. While there is no single culture metric, we analyze a variety of data sources to ensure we are living our values as a company.

Learn more on Our culture, Governance, and Risk management.

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