Article: An inclusive workplace makes talent stay with you, says Khurshed Dordi of Deutsche Bank, India


An inclusive workplace makes talent stay with you, says Khurshed Dordi of Deutsche Bank, India

Diverse environments unleash innovation, minimise risk, and lead to better decisions in an organisation.
An inclusive workplace makes talent stay with you, says Khurshed Dordi of Deutsche Bank, India

Much has been spoken about diversity and inclusion being indispensable elements for productive and resilient workplaces. Although, a 2022 report on diversity and inclusion by the International Labour Organization (ILO), that focused on enterprises of all sizes in lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income economies, revealed that one-in-four people do not feel valued at work and those who do feel included are in more senior roles.

In view of this gap, People Matters interviewed Khurshed Dordi, MD & Group COO, Deutsche Bank, India to get his view on diversity and inclusion at his organisation and what measures organisations should take at large to improve diversity and inclusion.

How does your bank define diversity and inclusion, and what are the core principles guiding your approach?

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are the foundations on which Deutsche Bank's values are built and are a pre-requisite for our Global Hausbank ambitions. We aim to ensure that Deutsche Bank is a place where:

  • Our people feel a sense of belonging. Everyone feels welcomed, respected, listened to, treated fairly, and can contribute and grow. Our people have the support they need to create a fulfilling career that enriches their personal lives too.
  • High-performing teams have different skills, backgrounds, and experiences. We collaborate, encourage, and enable open dialogue and diversity of views. We have meaningful conversations to enable continuous learning to support our evolution.
  • Our leaders create a more equitable environment. It thrives on actionable feedback, empowers everyone to contribute their best work and succeed. Our leaders are committed to, and accountable for, shaping a culture that results in the improved diversity of our talent – especially in senior, decision-making and client-facing roles.

DE&I are also business imperatives. They are a natural part of how we engage with our people, clients, and society. We believe that diverse perspectives contribute to better, more sustainable solutions for our clients. And at Deutsche Bank our purpose is to enable economic growth and societal progress as the Global Hausbank comes to life.

How do you ensure that diverse perspectives are heard and valued within decision-making processes at your bank?

A diverse and inclusive workforce represents an enormous opportunity to improve decisions and thus business performance. Diverse environments unleash innovation, minimise risk, and lead to better decisions. But to create a more gender-balanced workforce, a strong tone from the top is essential to broaden understanding and change perceptions. At Deutsche Bank, many leaders are visible role models, and we hold our leaders accountable to create an environment of equity and inclusivity for all driven by a shared perspective. We set ourselves clear milestones, and by monitoring relevant metrics regularly, we quickly course correct where necessary. Not only do we encourage diverse views, but we focus on listening.

On their part, employees are expected to actively seek to create and join diverse teams, make equitable decisions with integrity, and collaborate inclusively. Our belief is everyone at the bank is responsible for contributing to DEI. Every leader, manager and the team member need to nurture an environment where every voice is heard, every idea or opinion is valued and respected, where every individual can bring their whole selves to work every day without fear of prejudice. By listening to our people, we learn what needs to be done to make a real difference. Employee surveys such as exit surveys and a specific senior women survey support us in getting a better understanding of our workforce’s needs and prioritise our initiatives.

Do you think organisations should offer training or education programs to promote awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion among employees? What steps have been taken by your bank on this?

Talent will only join and stay at an organisation that has an inclusive workplace and where there is a true sense of belonging. Hence, training employees and managers to be allies to their colleagues is extremely important in addition to the organisation-wide policies that are being created. Deutsche Bank engages staff by virtue of numerous initiatives and policies to create awareness and promote their growth and development within the organisation.

How does your bank attract and retain a diverse workforce? Are there any specific recruitment or retention strategies in place?

The journey of engaging and driving diversity extends across all life-cycle events of an employee in the organisation. Our efforts to attract diverse talent into the workforce are varied. We have multiple programs at grassroots levels to build talent pipelines that can cater to our hiring needs. The tracking of diverse hiring goes beyond gender and ethnicity at the bank. To this purpose, we review our hiring processes so that they are more equitable and inclusive, review exit surveys, and design interventions to retain diverse talent.

Starting with diversity-focused hiring drives, to investing in grooming and building talent at campus level, we also have focused programs for people on career break as they look to integrate back into the workforce via programs like Resume Your Resume. We aim to achieve a 35% diversity ratio of senior female leaders to senior male leaders by 2025 and therefore any senior nondiverse hiring goes through an exception approval process. Even while interviewing a potential candidate, we ensure a diverse interview panel to get equitable outcomes and ensure a more inclusive experience. We visit colleges, campuses, industry forums like FICCI, NASSCOM, CII to promote diversity and attract talent.

Broadly, to attract diverse talent, we look across all our avenues of hiring per channels of recruitment and experience levels.

How does your bank handle instances of bias or discrimination? What mechanisms are in place to address these issues effectively?

We, as an organisation, recognise that every individual is unique and ensure a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace, we have made it a priority to connect with and hire talent who have been under-represented or traditionally marginalised. We recognize that not everyone has the same starting point and so we (re)design systems and processes to ensure equitable access to all opportunities. The bank believes equity requires different interventions for members of some groups due to systemic barriers that are common in most workplaces. We limit bias at the application stage in a variety of manners, including online assessments that help us move away from traditional CV screening methods and promote data-driven decision-making in final selection through increased focus on realistic business and coding exercises and structured interviews. While we strive to ensure a diverse employee base, we have an equal emphasis on creating an inclusive culture and promoting a sense of belonging. Our leadership at Kompass encourages diverse views and a focus on listening and creating a psychologically safe workplace that fosters authenticity.

To promote diversity and inclusion as well as lower the instances of bias and unconscious bias we support multiple Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These ERGs have been organised voluntarily by our employees with different backgrounds, and experiences and from different business areas demonstrating diversity and inclusion each and every day. Our ERGs, through their interactions, activities, and cross-cultural relationships, help managers and staff alike overcome biases resulting in more informed and inclusive decisions. We also train our managers to challenge bias in the recruitment process as diverse, inclusive teams disrupt bias by bringing in new ideas from unique points of view.

Has your bank set any diversity and inclusion goals or targets? How do you hold yourself accountable for achieving these goals?

Based on the bank’s own strategy on diversity and inclusion, and in accordance with the German Gender quota legislation, in May 2021 the Management Board renewed its aspirational goals for the representation of women and committed to increasing diverse representation at all levels.

The Management Board also renewed the bank’s voluntary goals for the representation of women in leadership positions. As such we have reviewed our succession planning for leadership roles and put in place development plans for top female talent to ensure that we can develop more women into senior, client facing and decision-making roles.

By 2025 women should represent a minimum of 35% of Managing Director, Director and Vice President positions combined. The goals are part of the “Balanced Scorecard” assessing the Management Board and Group Management Committee and are designed to strengthen the pipeline of women at two levels below the Management Board.

Globally, Deutsche Bank achieved our targets for 2022 and are well positioned to achieve or surpass our 2025 goals. As well as making progress at the senior levels, the bank has also strengthened the proportion of women at entry levels to ensure sustainability and drive gender parity.

Our "35 by 25" ambition states that we will strengthen our efforts to drive gender diversity in our bank and work towards refreshed gender diversity goals. Specifically, we aim to have at least 35% women at Managing Director, Director, and Vice President population and at least 30% women in positions one and two levels below the Management Board by 2025 and we are well positioned to reach these Global ambitions. Actually, in the APAC region, we have already surpassed the 35% goal and currently lead the bank in gender diversity.

In early 2020, Deutsche Bank India led by Kaushik Shaparia joined the global Valuable 500 movement to include disability inclusion on the business leadership agenda. By joining the Valuable 500, Deutsche Bank has agreed to table disability on the board agenda and demonstrated firm commitment to action.

How has your bank incorporated diversity and inclusion into its overall corporate strategy? How do you see it contributing to the bank's long-term success?

Diversity Equity and Inclusion are powerful enablers of organisational success. Our efforts span across multiple themes in India – such as Gender, LGBTQI, Disability, Generational. As a global bank with strong roots in Europe, our workforce needs to reflect the diverse clients we serve and the communities we operate in. Improving diversity, equity, and inclusion is a journey and the responsibility of not just leaders, but everyone in the organisation. We ensure our people have the support they need to create a fulfilling career that enriches their personal lives. We follow a multi-dimensional approach, where we strive to:

  • advance gender diversity at all levels
  • support cultural diversity
  • nurture the dignity of the LGBTQI+ community
  • promote inclusion across generations
  • create an inclusive working environment for people with disabilities and neurological difference
  • foster an inclusive and supportive environment for people with caregiving responsibilities

While we strive to ensure a diverse employee base, we have an equal emphasis on creating an inclusive culture and promoting a sense of belonging.

As part of our ‘35 by 25’, we aim for 35% women in our top ranks by 2025, meaning women will represent at least 35% of our managing director, director, and vice president population.

A culture of good conduct is supported and people are encouraged to speak up when they feel there is an issue. We want individuals to feel confident to challenge behaviour that could represent conduct risk, raise concerns of ethical dilemmas they may come across in their daily work, and speak up on how we can do things better. Without a culture that insists on operating to the highest standards of integrity and conduct, we cannot build trust and reputation, which are the bedrock of a safe and robust organisation.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are not only the right thing to do, but are now widely understood to be business imperatives. Last and the most important factor, is talent will only join and stay at an organisation that has an inclusive culture and a workplace where they feel a sense of belonging.  

Read full story

Topics: Diversity, Employee Engagement, #DEIB

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?