Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is an organisational approach taken to build diverse teams and promote a more inclusive workplace. This progressive change is a necessary requirement for the financial services sector due to the FCA’s focus on and commitment to improving D&I, and its supervision thereof.
But despite their best intentions, without proper understanding and oversight, senior management might struggle to drive D&I in the direction required. How can firms, and the stakeholders within, bring about and sustain effective, positive change?
1. Understand the current lack of diversity
A recent IDEX Consulting survey found that over 80% of financial services employees are White British. It’s important to note that being White British is not the issue, but rather the wholly underwhelming representation of different ethnicities.
To overcome this, firms need to recognise and understand their current employee landscape and take appropriate steps to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace, including:
Training to uncover where any unconscious bias may lie
Making D&I a part of your firm’s values and culture
Using tools to tweak the language of job adverts to make them more inclusive
2. Create visible change
Whilst there is a lot to be said for behind-the-scenes improvements and system optimisation, tangible changes can go a long way towards catalysing cultural shifts. Though feasibility will vary from company to company, several large firms have implemented numerous positive changes which include:
All gender toilets
Workplaces with wheelchair-friendly entrances, disabled toilets and other DDA compliant improvements
Hybrid or remote working
3. Welcome the LGBTQIA community
The financial services industry has been traditionally cisnormative, but this is changing. As a firm’s talent pool becomes more diverse, so does the importance of creating an inclusive office culture.
According to our survey of industry employees, only 1.7% of respondents identified as non-binary, so it is important that firms do all they can to make the LGBTQIA community feel welcome. This can be achieved by adding pronoun options to application forms, implementing LGBTQIA inclusion training, and creating non-gendered parental leave policies.
4. Consider undertaking a diversity and inclusion audit
An excellent way to understand the state of D&I in any workplace is by undertaking a diversity and inclusion audit. This is done through a structured assessment and gives CEOs and business owners D&I insight at every level of the business.
Similarly, it is beneficial to invest in training and other tools to ensure employees understand the importance of diversity and inclusion. Holding employees accountable for actions and behaviour can only be achieved when D&I is in focus. Successful change comes from the top down.
5. Work towards the benefits
Diversity and inclusivity can transform the culture of a workplace, providing employees with personal and professional insight to experiences, views and backgrounds different from their own. This in turn gives the firm:
Access a broader pool of talent
Improved engagement and trust
Different ways of thinking and making decisions
For more information on D&I, check our guide to Diversity & Inclusion in Financial Services.
Ready to build D&I into your recruitment process? Book a free consultation with our expert consultants.