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Radius Employee Network Leaders Summit

Category: Industry News, diversity, LGBT, barclays, diversity jobs, global, network summit

Image of Radius Employee Network Leaders Summit: Fostering Global Collaboration

Friday 13th January saw Radius’ Employee Network Leaders Summit, hosted by Barclays. The event centred on Fostering Global Collaboration and consisted of an interesting Panel discussion, a number of workshops and the sharing of best practices between attending companies, which included representatives from SkyPwC, BAE Systems and Allegis Global Solutions.

From their origin in 1960s America, Employee Network groups have hugely progressed to become well-known and a priority for many organisations. Our facilitator for the day, Andi Keeling, opened her Introduction with a brief history of the term. Andi Keeling is an expert on Talent Management and Inclusive Leadership with an emphasis on Gender Diversity and LGBT, she draws on her 30 years’ worth of knowledge and experience to now act as a leadership development consultant.

Andi emphasised the meaning of “collaboration” which is simply listed as “two or more people working together towards shared goals”. Shared goals was metaphorically underlined and stressed – maybe even italicised – to highlight the importance of this term in global collaboration. It would prove to be a buzz word throughout the day.

After Andi’s introduction, it was time for an informative panel discussion with three company representatives. First to be introduced was James Allan, Head of Corporation Banking, FX, Barclays Corporate and International, who is co-chair of host Barclays’ LGBT Employee Network Spectrum in the UK/Europe. James plays a key role in driving inclusion at Barclays and was recognised in the FT 2016 OUTStanding Top 50 LGBT Leaders list.

PwC’s Anne Hurst, Diversity & Inclusion and Employee Wellbeing Specialist, was second to be announced. Anne has significant experience in Diversity and Inclusion with a specific interested in data analytics, using the power of data to influence change. She oversees the Faith and Women’s network groups at PwC and has led their equal pay reviews for over 5 years. She was also instrumental in the first publication of PwC’s gender pay gap in 2014.

Finally, Daniel Docherty, Business Performance Manager, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was introduced. Daniel is a vice president and Business Support Manager with Global Real Estate Services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, he serves as the EMEA lead for their LGBT Employee Network and he co-leads the company’s Global LGBT Ally programme. He was named a Top LGBT Future Leader in FT’s OUTStanding list in both 2015 and 2016. He sits on Radius’ Network Leaders Council, Interbank LGBT Forum, OUT Leadership Committee and the OutNext Alumni.

The panel discussion was centred around the question: Global Collaboration – What does it mean?

Andi opened the questions by asking: “Global means something different to different companies and organisations, what does it mean to you?”

PwC’s Anne Hurst was first to pose an answer stating that PwC is not a global company, but more a network of companies where there are certain global policies but these are adapted to the locale of their offices. The have a 2+1 scheme in which they have two global focuses (gender equality and valuing difference) plus one extra determined by the needs of that particular business. Therefore, every company has two global shared goals and one other, which is tailored to their individual culture.

James, however, does not consider Barclays to be a global company, stating that it is “international at best”. To him, global indicates that a company is operating in all markets, which Barclays is not. He would only consider Barclays to be global if they operated the same in every country. Barclays has “two lines”, Britain and America, whose D&I strategy is delivered from the board. There are five diversity pillars for all companies within the Barclays network with a focus on adapting these policies for individual audiences. This provides consistency and structure over the whole brand, whilst also taking into consideration individual variations.

Daniel chipped in with the first mention of the term “Glocal”: think globally but act locally. Each organisation within Bank of America Merrill Lynch had their own networks and policies, therefore a global playbook was created to standardise these goals, whilst also allowing flexibility for each organisation. These policies are therefore decided globally but interpreted locally to best achieve their global goals.

Andi continued the questioning in which the importance of networks having a global focus and the way these organisations have been adapted for global collaboration was discussed. The significance of employers working with their network groups to determine the right language to be used and correct practice was highlighted by Daniel. Whilst, James emphasised the value of Ally groups and how they can be used to reach a global audience through campaigns. He mentioned a scheme that Barclays had implemented to ‘get the message out there’ about their LGBT group Spectrum, the campaign included a ranking system, which instilled competitiveness in allies and expanded the campaign reach. Plus, Anne mentioned the significance of building upon existing employee networks, which can then be developed and rolled out globally.

Questions were then opened up to the room. Jane Shaw from NBCUniversal International began by asking “How involved are senior leaders?”

All panel members disclosed that their senior management are very involved with their network groups with CEOs and Executive boards leading networks or being sponsors who meet for updates and oversee the workings of the groups.

Upon a raise of hands around the room, not one person said that they were unsupported by leadership. Sue Baines, Barclays co-chair of Spectrum commented, “It is vital that you have the support of leadership when setting up a network group,” and their continued support thereafter.

Daniel made a clear point that, when you have them you should use them, take key issues to senior leaders and don’t be afraid to ask.

The discussion then turned to Allies and how they can be useful with a question from Mark Tittle from Sky.

Daniel shared an interesting scheme that Bank of America Merrill Lynch implement. Their Gen. 3 Ally programme consists of a levelled continuum in which allies move up the rankings by completing certain tasks. This includes attending events, sharing their stories and showing their support of LGBT people in every way they can.

Barclays have a similar ranking system to Bank of America Merrill Lynch in which allies can share their experiences and view other’s progress. But the key message is contribution rather than achieving a goal, they want to encourage people to get involved and support them as much as possible.

Anne talked about a wonderful idea in which branded magnets sit over people’s names to create awareness of network causes and show their support. This idea was later returned to in our discussion of best practices, with one organisation using an email signature including a tag line to show support of such causes.

The next question came from Leo Zhao from British Airways, who wanted to know how to best engage LGBT employees and gain their support. James’ simple answer was Pride: “people love Pride”. He encouraged everyone to promote it and support it in whatever way they can, quoting social media as a fantastic (and very popular) tool to achieve this.

Anne felt that food was another great way to engage people in your cause from her experience of running a Diwali celebration, which immediately sold out. She went on to highlight that you have to do a range of things which are of interest to everyone so that you can attract a variety of people, and even collaborate between network groups to achieve greater turn-out.

Andi suggested getting a known speaker to talk at your event and achieve great publicity, whether it be the company CEO or an external figure. To which Daniel added that Bank of America Merrill Lynch host a speaker series, which are a ‘get to know you’ session offering breakfast or lunch. It also helps to run off the back of global or national events, such as World AIDs Day or Mental Health Week, to promote what you are doing.

This conversation led onto the discussion of navigating countries where LGBT is illegal. The main consensus being that offices in other countries act as an embassy where global values are followed. Anne mentioned the use of an online platform, which offers a safe and supportive environment for LGBT employees overseas.

Sue Baines, Barclays co-chair of Spectrum, added that a company “has to be brave”. Barclays actively supports Pride and does so all over the world, highlighting its solidarity with the LGBT community. This conveys to an employee that Barclays will provide them with a safe and accepting environment.

Amy Stanning from Barclays, built on this by asking: “Do you consider your networks campaigning organisations – if so, does it create tension?”

Daniel and Anne responded that they are not campaigners, but will fund and support those who are. If a network would like to sponsor a campaign, they will then budget that in as they do not have the resources or education in order to campaign themselves.

Amy then highlighted the work of Barclays in their active support of Pride stating that, “I think for me, to be consistent with the values of the company, you have to show your involvement”. She emphasised her belief that there are many ways a company can actively support a cause, such as Channel 4’s support of trangender people and trangender children by standing with Mermaids UK during the controversy raised last year.

The audience’s questions were then rounded off with one last discussion posed by Ben Blair from Allegis Global Solutions, who asked whether there were problems encountered in supporting Pride in other countries.

Daniel answered the query by stating that they would never put any of their staff in danger but if there were large enough numbers then they would support any employees wishing to march for Pride. Bank of America Merrill Lynch have created a global brand in support of Pride with offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan most recently wrapping their employees in pink to show support. Anne also suggested the value of smaller offices joining with others to support Pride together and create a larger presence.

It was then time for a quick coffee break before the workshop sessions began.

Stay tuned for more in our next article with some tips and best practises from the workshop sessions.

To find out more about Radius Business, please click here.

VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email info@vercida.com for more information.

We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email info@vercida.com for more information.

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