Why is HSBC interested in diversity and inclusion?
HSBC’s customers are hugely diverse. We operate in about 70 markets ranging from fast-growing countries with young populations to more developed economies with ageing ones. Our purpose is to connect our customers to opportunities. We can fulfil that purpose most effectively if we truly understand them. And the best way of doing that is by reflecting the communities we serve.
There are few businesses with a workforce as diverse as ours. We employ about a quarter of a million people who speak a total of more than 100 languages and work across a global network covering five continents.
What do you want to achieve?
When people meet a new colleague or team member we want them to be asking how they can help and work together in a way that lets everyone do their best for the bank, embracing whatever background they come from.
A successful working culture welcomes a wide range of views and opinions. It is comfortable with people who think and express themselves differently. A company where people are confident to ask questions and raise ideas is more likely to try new things, find great solutions, adapt and innovate — and do better business as a result.
We want everyone to feel they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential at HSBC
So what are the biggest opportunities?
There is certainly room for further progress in making sure we have balanced representation of different groups in our leadership and business areas. And it’s equally important for us to consider how we bring more diversity of thought to the table. But if you join a new team, you don’t want your new colleagues to be defining you by what diversity boxes you tick. I am a woman, I’m a parent, I’m a certain age, but that doesn’t sum up who I am, what I can do and the value that I can bring. We want everyone to feel they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential at HSBC.
HSBC has seven global employee networks focusing on age, gender, race/ethnicity, working families, sexual orientation, disability and faith, which are doing great work all over the world to connect colleagues, share experiences and help us provide a really supportive environment for our employees.
What’s your top priority?
I would like to see people everywhere in HSBC making the most of all the ways that diversity is good for business. Encouraging the right mindset is essential for us to make the kind of progress we’re looking for to increase the number of women in senior roles, for example, and to make sure that we’re doing our best for our customers from all walks of life.
What have you learned from other organisations?
In my experience, companies that see diversity and inclusion simply as an HR exercise or an add-on are missing out on opportunities. Those that weave the principles of inclusion all the way through how they do business see the biggest benefits. That’s how we can shine, too.