Increasing inclusivity and diversity throughout our employee population is one of our strategic imperatives. Our employee-led Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group has been in place since 2013. Reporting to the CEO and regional Executive Committee, the Group champions best practice to ensure a workplace culture that reflects the diversity of our clients and employees. As a result, the following initiatives are now embedded:
- Education and training, including unconscious bias training for all hiring managers.
- Recruitment guidelines to ensure both male and female representation on candidate lists and advance more qualified women to the interview phase
- For senior hires, at least one woman must be part of the interview panel
- All recruitment, by gender, is reported to the regional Executive Committee each quarter
- Improved flexible working, maternity and paternity policies
- Active promotion of shared parental leave, encouraging male employees to take advantage of the opportunity
- Flexible working arrangements, for example best practice guidelines for working from home
- The ability to purchase additional holidays, supporting more flexible working
- Mentoring to support career progression for more junior and mid-level employees
- Support for and participation in industry-wide returners programmes
- Regular employee events with internal and external speakers to showcase successful, diverse role models.
Gender balance: our path to 50/50
Columbia Threadneedle signed the Women in Finance Charter (WIFC) in March 2016, becoming a founding signatory and the first asset manager to sign the Charter. Since then we have worked to implement changes that drive improved gender balance across our EMEA business. We actively measure gender balance initiatives and report to senior management on a regular basis to ensure we continue to make progress. We have a robust gender action plan based on four strategic pillars of our broader diversity and inclusion blueprint:
- Build inclusive leadership skills of employees through training and awareness.
- Strengthen our pipeline of female leaders with continued focus on development and engagement.
- Maintain focus on recruitment of female talent.
- Leverage community partnerships to engage internal and external stakeholders.
Our key gender data is presented in our KPI table and our annual WIFC progress reports and full gender pay gap reports can be found in the column on the left.
Smart Working is our approach to working flexibly across EMEA. Flexible working has been proven to boost well-being and morale, increase productivity and enhance job satisfaction and retention. Smart Working covers any type of working arrangement that gives some degree of flexibility on how long, where and when work is performed. Flexible working can vary in shape and form, from a formal contractual flexible working pattern to informal, infrequent working arrangements.
Smart Working can allow an individual to pursue a hobby or interest, enable time for school runs or nursery drop-offs, support the ability to care for elderly relatives or simply provide a different work/life balance. We believe employees who can work smartly will be less stressed, feel more valued and trusted by the company and will therefore be more inclined to stay and progress their careers with us over the long-term.
Black Employee Network
In 2019 our Black Employee Network (BEN) was launched. BEN EMEA is a community of Black professionals offering its members resources and strategies to enhance and promote personal and professional growth whilst contributing to our overall success. BEN is an open and inclusive network and its impact and success is dependent on the support and engagement of all employees. BEN has four pillars of focus with initiatives and events designed to deliver:
- Employee engagement and professional development – building business, leadership and networking skills.
- Business support – bringing greater support and awareness to business initiatives across the region.
- Community involvement – supporting and developing partnerships which support the Black community.
- Cultural awareness – building a community among network members and employees and raising awareness of Black culture in the UK.