Banking on sexual orientation diversity

Written by
Changeboard Team

18 Jun 2013

18 Jun 2013 • by Changeboard Team

Lloyds approach to diversity

It is claimed that a diverse organisation is an organisation with motivated staff, inspired ideas, a greater breadth of creativity and a competitive advantage - all of which can contribute to a companys growth.

Hiring people with different backgrounds, experiences and views does more than simply tick boxes; it creates an engaging work environment and enables a company to reflect its customer base more accurately, allowing for a greater understanding of its customers individual and changing needs.

Achieving diversity within a business is only one part of the process; an inclusive environment that recognises and celebrates diversity is crucial, playing a vital role in improving both recruitment and retention within a business.

At Lloyds, we are committed to being a great place to work for all employees and this means creating a working environment where everybody feels included and, above all, able to be themselves.

With this in mind, the group has launched a network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. The Rainbow Network was set up by LGBT staff across the group and has quickly reached 800 members, making it one of the largest LGBT networks in the UK.

The network connects LGBT staff across the Lloyds Banking Group and is one of four new networks within the business that aims to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion. Rainbow will give our colleagues a collective voice, a safe space to air views and concerns, and will help us to design a better future one where we can foster diversity, offer mentoring, progression and networking opportunities. Other networks within the group have been created to recognise disability, race and gender issues.

The big idea

Following the integration of Lloyds TSB and HBOS in January 2009, existing LGBT groups from both parties met and began to formulate a vision. A steering committee was created to develop a strategy for the group. As the networks numbers rapidly increased, regional coordinators were nominated to introduce the network to the rest of the UK.

The official launch of the network took place in London in June 2010 with guest speakers Gareth Thomas, the Welsh international rugby star, Ben Summerskill, CEO of Stonewall, and Helen Weir, group executive director for retail and executive sponsor for the groups sexual orientation strategy. More than one hundred LGBT colleagues and heterosexual supporters from the group attended and employees were able to meet other members of staff with whom they could share their experiences.

Beyond the Rainbow Network

The launch of the Rainbow Network is a step in the right direction but we recognise that such an important project needs continued investment. As a business Lloyds has made a commitment to the projects success and longevity. Several colleagues have formed a taskforce to measure the networks progress and to establish ways to overcome Challenges facing us along the way.

As well as the creation of the network, the group will be: running a leadership development programme for LGBT colleagues; sponsoring global customer research on the LGBT market to identify any actions we should be taking: and supporting colleagues to take part in a number of regional Pride events. We are also actively reaching out to the LGBT community outside of the group through targeted advertising in mainstream and LGBT media. 

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion should go hand in hand but all too often dont. What we have established through working on this project is that there is a significant number of people within the business who are willing to work proactively to try and change this. Embracing this enthusiasm and ensuring that our commitment, as a major employer, is unflagging will ensure that we continue to make strides in the right direction.

About Gareth Thomas (see main picture)

Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas is one of the most iconic figures in world rugby. He is Wales' most capped player and 10th on the all time list, as well as Wales' highest try scorer and ninth highest in the world. He was captain of Wales' Grand Slam winning team in 2005, and also captained the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand that same year. He currently plays for Cardiff Blues.

Gareth has been at the centre of media attention since coming out as gay at the end of 2009, and is the first openly gay rugby player to come out while still playing competitively.