Where Barclays has Led, Others are Following
Where Barclays has Led, Others are Following
Mark McLane is Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at Barclays. Mark oversees the delivery of Barclays’ industry leading, global D&I strategy.
How did you get involved in D&I?
During my early career at Whirlpool, I was asked to explore if and how D&I initiatives for colleagues could be married up with our commercial strategy. I soon realised the two were intrinsically linked - what we were doing internally for D&I could be replicated for our customers, bringing real commercial benefit. When colleagues and customers make a deeper, human connection with a brand, we remain ‘front of mind’ and a trusted choice. These early lessons have remained with me throughout my career.
Tell us about D&I at Barclays?
Barclays launched its global D&I strategy five years ago and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. We have a long, proud history of firsts. And we are always willing to take a chance and be innovative, in a measured way, to deliver the best results for colleagues and customers. Barclays’ innovative spirit and ‘first market’ desire is part of a long legacy of recognising the vital role that D&I plays in our business.
What have been your proudest achievements?
There are lots of initiatives that I’m proud of, notably:
‘This is me’
Barclays’ internal ‘This is Me’ mental health and wellness campaign is in its third year. We have seen improved awareness and resources having a positive impact on the retention of colleagues returning to work after a mental health related absence. Earlier this year we also launched the ‘This is me in the City’ campaign. This is a partnership with the Lord Mayor of London to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace and to raise awareness of wellbeing. These initiatives have effected a significant change in the way mental health is talked about within Barclays and the wider sector.
HeForShe and International Women’s Day
Barclays is one of 10 corporate organisations (and the only financial services institution) to be invited by the UN to be a HeForShe ‘IMPACT 10x10x10 Champion’. HeForShe’s goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women's rights, by encouraging them to take action against negative inequalities faced by women and girls. During our two years of celebrating HeForShe at Barclays, during International Women’s Day, we have collected an impressive 5000+ colleague commitments and held keynote events in New York, London, Singapore, and Johannesburg. HeForShe aligns with work we are doing to bolster female leadership within the bank and our senior leaders including Jes Staley (CEO) and John McFarlane (Chairman) are both HeForShe Champions.
Barclays’ Spectrum network focuses on supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people within Barclays and is open to all employees who are interested in supporting the LGBT community. Our internal ‘Spectrum Allies’ campaign has raised awareness of the crucial role of allies (non LGBT employees) in challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and educating others on the importance of equality. The number of allies has risen from 500 to 6500+ in the last year with the issuance of our Spectrum Allies lanyards during International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia celebrations.
What has been the wider impact of Barclays’ approach to D&I?
The work we are doing in the D&I space is having a positive impact on the wider sector. Sitting at a roundtable event recently, a competitor thanked me for making “his conversations for a D&I business case so much easier” as he could point to what Barclays had done.
Barclays was the first bank to feature a same sex couple in our advertising and now a number of our competitors are doing the same. We were also the first to feature a transgender colleague and the inaugural sponsors of Pink Dot in Singapore (a non-profit organisation working on LGBT rights). Within our Investment Bank we leveraged gender in business development opportunities via our Women in Leadership Index; this was the first investment product of its kind.
What’s next for Barclays D&I?
I am delighted that we have been recognised externally for our commitments to D&I.
Being a global business I often find when we make progress in one area of the world, a law will change in another. This is a perpetual challenge for us and it means our work is constantly evolving.
What advice would you give to a business shaping their D&I approach?
Having a clear strategy and delivery model will help drive success. Being consistent in what you’re trying to achieve and having the buy-in from everyone in the business is fundamental. We have not wavered from the strategy we set out five years ago. We want to be the bank of choice for colleagues and customers by placing D&I at the heart of everything we do.