Diversity and Inclusion at Alexander Hall
by Managing Director, Dom Scott

At the 2019 Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) was mentioned more than any other issue, highlighting how the topic is at an all-time high as a business priority. However, the seemingly sudden increase of D&I activity can sometimes leave people feeling a bit left behind as they struggle to understand what it all means.

Culture Amp’s Workplace Diversity, Inclusion and Intersectionality 2019 report explains diversity in the workplace as being “the range of human differences within a company including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, identity, sexual orientation, age and social class.”

It goes on to explain that inclusion is “the act of making a person part of a group, when each member is afforded the same rights and opportunities.”

It has a direct impact on whether people feel a sense of belonging, feel heard, and feel safe to express themselves authentically.

The benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce are plentiful, but the three which resonate most with me are firstly that companies will employ more dynamic practises to attract and retain a wider range of talent; secondly, workforces will better reflect the communities they operate in, and lastly that companies will be more capable of positively engaging with a wider customer base.

Alexander Hall is a culture-driven business based on the values of hard work, integrity and collaboration. Employees are hired on their ability to express our values and our leaders are those who can best exemplify these values to others.

One major challenge for businesses within the Financial Services sector is attracting people from a wider pool of talent. To achieve this, we have introduced a number of initiatives to make our business more appealing to prospective candidates from beyond the standard recruitment channels:

  • I currently act as the executive chair of an internal group-wide network. This network was formed in order to help its members who are predominantly of African and Afro Caribbean descent share ideas, develop their skills and become better candidates for career opportunities. Events have included working with a range of high profile guests, as well as participation with organisations such as The Africa Centre in Southwark and the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton.
  • We also work closely with an LGBTQ+ network. Events have included representation at Pride marches, as well as arranging a variety of events, including talks and panel discussions.
  • We have set up an initiative called Inspire50 within Alexander Hall to attract and retain more female talent. Stephanie Daley – one of our Associate Directors – acts as Executive Chair. The programme of events allows members to have greater access to a roster of predominately-female business leaders from across Financial Services, with the view to learning from their career highs and lows.
  • Stephanie and I also represent Alexander Hall as part of the Women’s Executive Finance Forum – an external initiative within the mortgage and protection industry. This forum is set up to help its members develop skills and network with the view to strengthening their career prospects.
  • I work with the social mobility charity as part of a monthly programme. Their key aim is to help sixteen to twenty-five year-olds at the start of their careers develop the soft skills they need to perform well in interviews and assimilate into new business cultures if they are hired.

The success of D&I programmes are directly influenced by the passion and commitment invested by a leadership team. The best way for business leaders to make a difference is to ensure D&I is a key part of their company’s strategy and to personally participate in initiatives.

Doing so sends a strong message through the company, especially to more junior leaders, that everyone has to play their part to drive change. And, within Alexander Hall, our various D&I initiatives have certainly succeeded in generating those three benefits I mentioned earlier.

We are successfully attracting new team members from a wider pool of talent, thanks to our inclusive, progressive company culture and working environment. This in turn means that our workforce more accurately reflects the multicultural communities we work in, and is therefore better able to connect with a broader range of customers and provide the best possible service to each.

Exemplifying the values of diversity and inclusivity as a company means doing what is best for our own people, as well as for the people we provide a service to – a core value for us here at Alexander Hall, and one that always proves to be best for business as well.

Dom_Scott

Dom Scott

Managing Director

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