Our colleagues are key to our long-term success. Their continued dedication and hard work is what gives Vanquis Banking Group its unique character and culture, which enables us to deliver the best service to our customers. Providing an encouraging, supportive and inclusive workplace culture is therefore vital to the happiness of our colleagues and the sustainability of our business.
Improving female representation at senior management and director level is extremely important for the long-term sustainability of Vanquis Banking Group.
At Vanquis Banking Group we are committed to ensuring that our workforce is inclusive and diverse and reflects the broad diversity of the 1.7 million customers we serve and the communities where they live and work. A key element of this commitment is about ensuring that we deliver the targets we set by virtue of being a signatory of HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.
Vanquis Banking Group became a signatory to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, a government initiative to improve gender diversity in senior positions within the financial services sector, in March 2019.
We are committed to having 40% female representation in the Group’s senior management population by December 2024. At the time we signed up to the Charter in 2019, we had 30% female representation in our senior management population.
As of December 2022, we have 33% female representation in this population. We continue to believe we are on track to meet our overall target of having 40% female representation in the Group’s senior management population by December 2024.
Since our last Charter submission in 2021, we have continued to strengthen the talent pipeline that will enable us to work towards meeting our target, and deliver a more equal, inclusive and diverse workplace. This has included:
Ensuring gender balanced shortlists when we recruit for senior leadership roles across Vanquis Banking Group. We also work in partnership with the recruitment agencies we use to ensure they are clear on our expectations regarding our inclusion and diversity commitments.
Helping colleagues benefit from menopause support and guidance at work. This has seen Vanquis Banking Group deliver ‘Menopause in the Workplace’ sessions to a range of senior leaders and managers and continue to host events to challenge change behaviour/mindsets around, equality, diversity and inclusion.
Continuing to adopt hybrid working models and enabling colleagues to work with greater flexibly, ensuring they have the support they need. This has also provided a wider talent pool with less geographical barriers.
Continuing to support a company-wide a gender affinity group as part of our Vanquis Banking Group inclusion community which is sponsored by an executive. This group, along with other groups linked to Disability, Ethnicity, LGBTQ+ and Social Mobility support the delivery of a calendar of regular communications/events to raise awareness and promote inclusion and diversity and inclusion across the banking group.
Our inclusion and diversity strategy centres on creating and maintaining a fair, diverse and inclusive culture for our colleagues and other stakeholders. A key focus of this strategy is about achieving a better gender balance in our senior management population. Improving female representation at senior management and director level is extremely important for the long-term sustainability of our business.
Listed below are some of the actions Vanquis Banking Group has put in place to support achieving a better gender balance in our senior management:
Commitment: We're signed up to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, a government initiative to improve gender diversity in senior positions within the financial services sector, in March 2019.
Targets: On becoming a Charter signatory, we set ourselves a target to have 40% female representation in the Group’s senior management population by December 2024.
Education: Delivering unconscious bias training to a range of senior leaders and managers which focuses on ensuring that there is no bias in our colleague processes. We also launched a new piece of compulsory e-learning across our entire Group which aimed to underline our commitment to, and change behaviour/mindsets around, equality, diversity and inclusion.
Raising awareness: Through the ‘Be Yourself’ programme we have facilitated panel discussions and delivered regular vlogs and events to profile events such as International Women’s Day and National Inclusion Week.
Balanced shortlists: Ensuring that we strive for gender balanced shortlists as part of our recruitment approach for all senior leadership roles across the Banking Group. We work in partnership with the recruitment agencies we use to ensure they are clear on our expectations regarding our inclusion and diversity commitments. Robust challenge on shortlists has led to the recent appointments of Carley Eaton (Group Audit Director)., and Fiona Anderson (MD, Cards)
Job adverts: Updating and aligning all Equal Opportunities wording provided on job application processes, so that it encourages more females to apply for roles at all levels and in all disciplines across the Banking Group.
Strengthening our talent pipeline: Delivery of our Next Generation Women’s Leadership Programme to high potential women from across Vanquis Banking Group to help strengthen the female talent pipeline at the senior/middle management level.
Flexibility: Supporting our colleagues during the pandemic, enabling them to work flexibly and ensuring they have the support they need. This has included issuing regularly updated guidance on matters including remote and flexible working, and looking after colleagues physical and mental wellbeing. We are also introducing a Hybrid Working model that will mean greater flexibility for all colleagues and also provide a wider talent pool with fewer geographical barriers.
Inclusion Network: Establishing a gender affinity group as part of our group-wide inclusion community which is sponsored by two executives. This group, along with other groups linked to Disability, Ethnicity and LGBTQ+, will support the delivery of a calendar of regular communications/events to raise awareness and promote inclusion and diversity across the Banking Group.
Policies: We have continued to work to review and update our HR policies and processes that enable the Banking Group to consistently support the work to improve our gender diversity performance.
Peer Circles: We're running Peer Circles (run exclusively by colleagues) to encourage peer support for a range of issues. Some examples of the issues that have been covered in the session that have been delivered to date, which specifically support females, include; pregnancy, interview techniques, performance reviews and menopause support.
We continue to work to review and update our HR policies and processes that are enabling the Group’s businesses to consistently support the work to improve our gender diversity performance.
We're committed to supporting diversity and creating an open and inclusive culture where everyone feels valued. We also recognise that Vanquis Banking Group has a role to play in closing the gender pay gap across the financial services sector. You can read more about Gender Diversity at Vanquis Banking Group here.
Our ambition is to create a truly diverse workforce, one that reflects the broad diversity of our local communities and the customers we serve. That diversity comes through having a culture of inclusion and providing equal opportunity.”
Inclusion and Diversity Executive Sponsor
Reporting on pay gaps helps organisations like ours to better understand the size and causes of pay gaps and identify any issues that might need to be addressed.
Training and development
Making sure our colleagues undertake continued professional development (CPD) is an important contributor to the viability of our business. We place strong emphasis on supporting our customer-facing colleagues by equipping them with a broad range of skills so they’re well placed to support all customers, especially those in vulnerable situations. To support the training needs and personal development of our colleagues, we undertake performance appraisals throughout the course of the year which enable our teams to have regular conversations about the Group’s values, and individuals to discuss and document their personal objectives and career development plans.
Health and safety
Looking after the health, safety, and wellbeing of all our people, whether they are colleagues, contractors,
suppliers, or customers, working from home or in our offices, is always a high priority for us. The Group demonstrates its commitment by defining roles, allocating responsibilities, and delegating authorities, to facilitate effective H&S management.
During 2022, the People function health and safety team was restructured and re-aligned across the Group ensuring a greater alignment of strategic priorities and an emphasis on driving better colleague health, safety, wellbeing, and engagement.
Supporting colleague mental health and wellbeing
We recognise the importance of supporting colleagues' mental health and wellbeing. Now, more than ever, mental well-being is a key contributor to our colleagues’ health and safety, their social wellbeing and their ability to fulfil their potential at work.
By promoting the importance of and arranging targeted activities around maintaining good mental health, we are working to protect our colleagues while fostering an internal culture of resilience and openness.
Our Be Well activity throughout 2022 has been focused on exploring intersectionality across all areas
of wellbeing and inclusion and focusing on building financial wellbeing. Activities have driven awareness
of the tools and resources available to colleagues to help them make positive improvements to their
mental wellbeing and to ease financial stress. Now, more than ever, financial wellbeing is a key contributor
to our colleagues’ overall mental and physical health.
Working with our strategic partners, we have explored topics through webinars and internal communication, with colleagues sharing their experiences and experts offering guidance and
advice, or sign posting for further support.
In partnership with the Bank Workers Charity, we delivered a series of webinars exploring key topics around improving and maintaining mental wellbeing. These live sessions are open to all colleagues and are also recorded for subsequent viewing. Topics included:
- Social Wellbeing and Loneliness; Wellbeing Through the Lens of Inclusion and Diversity; and
- What Is Good Financial Wellbeing?
We participated in the Money and Pension Service’s Talk Money Week, to encourage colleagues to open
up about their finances and helping to remove the stigma of seeking financial and debt support.
Employee Assistance Programme
All colleagues and their families have access to free confidential mental health and wellbeing support, available 24/7 through our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
EAP features include:
- a dedicated helpline with calls answered by experienced in-house counsellors, and legal and financial specialists; and
- a smartphone app and personalised online wellbeing content, including videos, webinars, mini health checks and health coaching.
Working for a company that supports mental health is great. If your team isn’t mentally fit to do the job, then they can’t deliver 100%. I’m proud that Vanquis Banking Group has approached the mental health aspect of work.”
Mental Health First Aider