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Diversity is central to our success as a Society

Diversity is central to our success as a Society

"Have you ever felt different from everyone else in the room?"

In this short film, our People & Culture leader Jane Hanson explains why she's passionate about diversity and inclusion.
Joe Garner Full Shot Cropped Resized (2)
Joe Garner, CEO

Why is diversity important to you Joe?

‘As a mutual organisation, we are guided by a social purpose which we interpret as ‘building society, nationwide’. A key element of fulfilling this purpose is employing a mix of people that reflect the wider communities that we serve.
Achieving this ambition takes sustained effort and focus but the benefits of building a truly inclusive and diverse organisation where all our employees can thrive are transformational.’

Sara 1600X572[1]

Diversity is central to our success as a Society

The 'See Me Too' project features a wide cross-section of Nationwide people from diverse backgrounds talking about working in Swindon. Their films and stories will be exhibited and kept as an historic record. 

Sara, Head of Historical Archives

Embracing diversity, celebrating differences, being inclusive. So you can be you.

People united

Nationwide's eight Employee Network Groups (ENGs) are open to all employees, including those who share similar characteristics or life experiences and who want to connect with others. The aims of the ENGs are to provide peer support, to work collaboratively with the business to help deliver our Inclusion and Diversity strategy and to act as a collective employee voice.

They're for everyone, wherever you work, whatever your role and regardless of whether you share the primary characteristics of the group or not, and are a great way to get involved in our I&D agenda.

Don't look for a label, just ask me my name

Labels are for tins not people. At Nationwide, we want you to be you.

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Logos Proud

Supporting LGBTQ+ colleagues

Logos Gender Network

Re-balancing opportunities for men and women

Logos Disability

Making work work for everyone

Logos Fab

We are what we believe

Logos Race Together

Taking action for racial equality

And for those with more than one 'job'

Logos Working Carers (1)

Supporting carers who have careers

Logos Working Families

Work life: home life: one life. Helping you thrive

Logos Veterans And Reservists

Integrating military service with our mutual Society

Autism Awareness (2) Web

Living with autism

During April’s Autism Awareness month, our disability network (Enable) arranged activities to promote understanding of living with autism. These included an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session with three Nationwide leaders sharing their experience of raising children with autism and how this has changed their own way of thinking.

Phil, our Head of Strategy Pricing and Performance, spoke about how his son struggled with school but moving to a college has helped improve his confidence. “Being in an environment that gave him more freedom and being treated like an individual has worked for him. There are still challenges but he has made huge leaps in his personal confidence. It’s about finding the right environment and finding the ability to thrive.”

All the speakers agreed that raising autistic children has made them think more of the needs of individuals at work. James, our Chief Credit Officer, spoke about how he is now aware that something that seems insignificant, like hot desking, can cause sensory overload to an autistic person to the detriment of them being able to do a good job.

“As a big employer we should have awareness of those things.”

The key to this for one participant was for managers to listen to what people need so they can best support their colleagues who are autistic or who have autistic family members. At Nationwide, we want to treat everyone as an individual so it’s not about policies but open, trusting conversations and finding solutions that fit each persons’ needs.  

By being more inclusive and diverse we can better reflect the communities we work in across the UK and give our employees the opportunity to flourish.

Anna Whitehouse 1

Flex Appeal

A webinar with Anna Whitehouse, aka Mother Pukka, was one of the activities our Gender Equality employee network arranged to mark International Women’s Day this year.

Anna is a journalist, blogger and driving force for flexible working. She started Flex Appeal in 2015, a year after the 2014 law giving every employee in the UK with more than six months in their job the right to request flexible working. Nearly nine million UK workers said they wanted to work flexibly but didn’t have the option.*

“I saw that for parents especially, average commuting times and limited nursery hours, were making it nigh on impossible for two parents to work 9-5 in the office”.

“Open the flood gates because people are drowning behind them.”

In her words, Flex Appeal campaigns “for employers to offer flexible working to all staff. It might be compressed hours, homeworking, flexitime, smarter shift patterns or any other variation, but hundreds of studies have shown flex improves access to work, reduces stress and improves our physical and mental health. And it’s good for employers, because it raises productivity, improves loyalty and can cut costs.”

Working from home was certainly boosted up the flex agenda at Nationwide in March 2020 when, overnight, almost 10,000 colleagues left our offices for a ‘two-day’ homeworking trial which has yet to end. A timely investment in late 2019 giving colleagues new laptops enabled with MS Teams proved pivotal in making this a success.

Of necessity, old attitudes about control and presenteeism were swept aside. But Anna is keen to point out that enforced home working is not the same as flexible working and that the debate is ongoing.

In November 2020, Flex Appeal published a report, Forever Flex, sponsored by Robert McAlpine investigating next generation working and what flexible working looks like post-Covid crisis.

Its recommendations include employers being open and honest, and not making assumptions on behalf of colleagues.

“Ongoing two-way communication is critical. Talk honestly and openly, and try to share vulnerabilities. Listening is even more important. Where’s the rub in your day? What one small thing would improve your working life?

“A flexible approach still needs boundaries. Do you need people to work core hours? Are there certain service levels that must be met? Should people communicate in specific ways? Tell them. Make expectations crystal clear.”

The key Anna says is to “Recruit the right people, trust them and empower them”.

At Nationwide, we want you to be able to work in a way that suits you. Early in 2021, nearly 9,000 colleagues completed our 'Future of Work' survey so their ideas and needs could shape how we move forwards. If you’re considering us as your next employer, do talk to us about what flexibility helps you do your best work.

 

*'A flexible future for Britain' report by Timewise

Time for change

"Ever since the police killing of George Floyd highlighted the lack of racial justice in so many countries, Nationwide’s Race Together network has re-doubled their efforts to bring long overdue change to the business", says co-chair Aisha Lewis.

Nationwide sent a clear message about the Society's commitment to equality by taking part in Channel 4's Black and Proud film. Aisha herself appeared in the two-minute TV ad featuring employees from Nationwide, the NHS, Virgin Media and other big-name brands talking about what Black History Month means to them and their hopes for the future.

Watch it now, and find out more below about the actions we're taking to bring about change.

A two-way dialogue

“Back in the summer, we asked the organisation to stand up to this problem and confirm silence is not an option, because we’ve been sat for too many years saying nothing and that’s why nothing’s changed,” Aisha says.

“So across a day and a half, we produced a video with 500 colleagues coming forward from all walks of life to hold up a Silence Is Not An Option card to show allyship to those that needed it the most at that time.”
The video, alongside a number of intranet articles, became the Society’s most liked and commented upon intranet post when it was launched and was later screened at an event for the Society’s top 1,000 leaders."

Then during Black History Month in October, the network ensured posters were on display in every branch across the UK and involved 5,000 colleagues in celebrating Black achievement.

The network has also helped launch a new reciprocal mentoring programme involving 80 of the Society’s most senior leaders, including Chief Executive Officer Joe Garner.

“It’s a two-way dialogue,” Aisha says.

“The idea is to help retain and progress Black and Asian talent through the organisation and at the same time help educate and support our leaders on issues they need to be consciously competent about to benefit the organisation for the way forward.”