According to very popular research conducted by a Stanford and Harvard professor, David Pedulla, “What Works,” argues that the mojo for achieving diversity is no different from the steps necessary to achieve other business goals. In order to change behavior, firms must develop appropriate goals and metrics, share them with stakeholders, and embrace accountability for outcomes.
Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO, Catalyst shares, “Measurement is a critical component of creating an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion in workplaces that allow all employees to thrive. You cannot improve what you cannot measure.”
In fact, recently in September 2020, 56 organizations, including Accenture, Bank of America, Chevron, Deloitte, EY, Google, KPMG LLP, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, PwC, Uber, and Visa, have joined the Gender and Diversity KPI Alliance (GDKA) to support the adoption and use of a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure gender and diversity in their companies and organizations.
By collecting and analyzing data on diversity over time, comparing those numbers to the numbers at other organizations, and sharing them with key stakeholders, companies can increase accountability and transparency around diversity issues. These goals can further be made accessible to key internal and external stakeholders to promote accountability.
In this interview with Maneesh Menda, Head of Human Resources, NatWest Group India, we decipher how to lead KPI-led diversity agenda and get key stakeholders to inspect, measure, and explore the right efforts.
Q: As a business, what are NatWest D&I priorities and big rocks, and how does it align with the overall business goals of FY21-22?
At NatWest Group India, one of our main priorities is to become a more diverse and inclusive organization. Our purpose is to champion the potential of our colleagues, which we do by relentlessly breaking down barriers to make sure everyone can bring the best of themselves to work every day. While our plans continue to evolve, some of our priorities for India in FY21-22 will focus primarily on:
- Reinforcing our gender positive action plans that include Women Development Programs, Women Comeback Program, and Women in Technology initiative.
- Continuing to provide development support for our disabled colleagues. ASPIRE program and SAMBHAV are some of our main initiatives in this area.
- Maintaining inclusion focus for our LGBT, Ethnically Diverse, and Multi-Generations workforce.
Q: Measurement is a critical component of creating an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion in workplaces that allow all employees to thrive. What are your thoughts about it? How do you measure D&I efforts?
Over the last few years, the Financial Services industry has ensured good progress in shifting mindsets and adopting progressive policies and practices to mainstream Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). There is visible evidence that corroborates that leaders have moved away from looking at D&I simply as a box-checking exercise to making it a competitive advantage and driving real business outcomes. Tangible work across organizations can be seen where development programs clubbed with career opportunities are formalized and measured to ensure all underrepresented employee groups are represented fairly.
Numbers alone cannot tell the whole story. However, constantly measuring our progress in D&I is critical to ensure we reinforce what works well and change what doesn’t. Inclusion is all about giving our underrepresented employees a voice to share their thoughts and flexibility to work in comfort and making them feel belonged. Through our ‘positive action approach’ plan, we ensure that our people policies and processes are inclusive and accessible, right from how we attract and recruit to how we reward and engage colleagues. We are confident about this approach, and with time it will help us achieve a better balance of diversity throughout the organization, thereby, enabling us to champion the potential of our colleagues, customers and communities.
Q: If we delve deeper, what do you think are some dimensions that need to be measured and tracked to achieving a gender-balanced workplace?
I believe the best performing organizations are those that invest most in promoting diversity and inclusion in their workforce. At NatWest, we ensure that the Executive Team’s management performance goals also include inclusion goals. All our leaders ensure that they are active and visible D&I advocates and role models.
To achieve a diverse workforce, it is essential to measure the diversity of an organization’s existing and potential talent and have appropriate measures included in the talent attraction and recruitment strategies along with providing the right development tools and platform for progression opportunities.
Q: At NatWest, do you have any key performance indicators to evaluate diversity? Can you elaborate on these indicators?
We have a strong commitment to creating a more inclusive workplace that can help us deliver on our purpose of championing potential. We do this by relentlessly breaking down barriers to make sure everyone can bring the best of themselves to work every day through creating a culture where our people feel comfortable being their true selves, knowing we will support them.
- In 2018, we put in place targets to increase the number of employees from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in the most senior roles in the bank to 14% by 2025.
- We currently have 10% BAME representation amongst our UK senior leaders across the organization.
- We have c.1000 ethnicity allies and our Multicultural Network has c.5000 members.
Since the introduction of our gender targets in 2015, we have increased the proportion of women in our senior roles by 10%. 14 of our 15 business areas have 30% or more women in their top three leadership layers, thus, taking us to 39% on aggregate. In our pipeline (which looks across the top 4,000 jobs), we have 43% women, which will be an increase from 11% over the same timeframe. We are making progress, but we know we have more to do that can help us meet our ambition of having a fully gender-balanced workforce by 2030.
As in Q3 2020:
- 37% of our most senior roles are held by women – an increase of 8% since targets were introduced.
- NatWest Group Board has 36% female representation.
- NatWest Group Executive Management Team has 33% (6/18) female representation.
We’re a founding signatory to HMT’s Women in Finance Charter, a Times Top 50 Employer for Women (since 2005); rated in the top organizations in Bloomberg’s Global Gender-Equality Index (fourth year); and have an investor for our gender performance.
At NatWest Group, having women on the leadership table in the role of our Group CEO, CHRO, CMO, CFO, CTO, ensures we have the right tone from the top and a culture of inclusion running deep in the veins of the company.
Additionally, we are also gauging colleague sentiment on inclusion and reviewing and acting on feedback from Employee Led Networks and Inclusion Champions. Our colleague sentiment on inclusivity remains high at 90 points favorable, which is 17 points above the Financial Services Norm (FSN) and 13 points above the Global High Performing Norm (HPN).
Q: Accountability and Action are two important levers to create an impact. How are you leveraging this data to create trust, transparency, and accountability for your D&I efforts?
With a commitment at the Board level, we operate a formal Boardroom Inclusion Policy with several measurable objectives, targets, and ambitions, reflecting the Board’s ongoing commitment to inclusion and progression, which supports NatWest Group’s commitment to having a more ethnically diverse and gender-balanced workforce.
In India, disability inclusion forms a core part of our inclusion agenda and our focus is much beyond just hiring and accessibility. Our approach is focused on developing and upskilling our colleagues with disabilities to ensure they have successful careers. Aligned to our purpose of championing potential, we have worked in partnership with CII India Business Disability Network (IBDN) to develop “SAMBHAV” – a portal that serves as a networking platform for People with Disabilities (PWDs) and their carers. SAMBHAV brings together experts, volunteers, carers, and PWDs, enabling information exchange and learning through experience. We also run a targeted hiring program for transgender people, and for the last two years have been hiring from the community through this program. We were one of the first organizations to roll out various gender-neutral benefits and policies like insurance for same-sex partners.
D&I is critical to our strategy and a fundamental part of building a purpose-led organization, one that champions potential and helps people, families, and businesses to thrive. With this purpose in mind, our inclusion guidelines and plans apply to all our colleagues globally, ensuring that everyone feels included and valued, regardless of their background.