In an increasingly multicultural society, we can only truly become Best Bank for Customers if our workforce accurately reflects the ethnic diversity of the UK population. If the diversity of our colleagues reflects the diversity of our customers we can better understand their needs and build deeper relationships. Our aim is to increase the ethnic diversity of our workforce and unlock the potential of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (B.A.M.E.) colleagues.

In February 2018, we announced an extension to our Helping Britain Prosper Plan to include goals to increase the representation of B.A.M.E. colleagues. Our goals are to increase overall B.A.M.E. representation to 10% and to 8% at senior management levels by 2020. Our commitment to ethnic diversity is led from the top. Our Executive Sponsors for Ethnicity, Vim Maru and Zak Mian, champion our programme and activities.

We have a comprehensive Ethnicity Strategy to help us meet our goals, which focuses on attracting and retaining talented B.A.M.E. colleagues; building cultural awareness at all levels; and increasing visibility of authentic role models from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds.

Visible role models

A consistent theme in feedback from our B.A.M.E colleagues is the need for visible, positive role models in the Group. In 2016 we launched our annual ‘Inspire’ list – a list of 40 B.A.M.E. role models from across the organisation and have recently published our 2020 list. We have also run a series of ‘Footprints in the Snow’ sessions with senior B.A.M.E. leaders to share their story and career journey with colleagues.

Career development

We believe in empowering and supporting colleagues to achieve their potential and are committed to ensuring everyone has the support they need to develop. The scale and reach of our Group means colleagues have many opportunities to learn, grow and develop.  This includes some bespoke career development, authentic leadership and sponsorship programmes for colleagues from a B.A.M.E. background. 

REACH Network (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage)

The REACH network connects, supports and develops colleagues from a B.A.M.E background. This network has continued to grow, and now has over 3,000 members. REACH regularly holds events and mentoring workshops for colleagues.


One of the goals of the REACH network is to improve cultural awareness and understanding across our workforce. The network issues a monthly cultural awareness communication to members and supporters across the Group, highlighting festivals, celebrations and important cultural events in both religious and secular calendars.

In November 2018, REACH was named Best Network at the inaugural Investing in Ethnicity Awards.

Cultural capability

To succeed as a modern organisation, understanding and enquiring about each other's cultural identities is vital for us to build stronger working relationships, with colleagues, customers, clients and suppliers. For the past two years, all our colleagues have taken part in cultural capability training to help build understanding and capability, so we can all be effective in living our Group Values and Behaviours.

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Recognition of our work

Our work to increase the ethnic diversity of our workforce and unlock the potential of our B.A.M.E. colleagues was recognised in 2018 when we won the overall Outstanding Employer Award at the inaugural Investing in Ethnicity Awards. Last year, Fiona Cannon, Group Responsible Business, Sustainability & Inclusion Director won the Top Champion (Ally) Award at the 2019 Ethnicity Awards.

Black History Month

Last year we marked Black History Month with an ‘Opening the Door to the Future’ campaign. During the campaign, we celebrated the achievements and history of the Black community in the past, present and future. We invited all colleagues to join us in ‘Opening the Door to the Future’ as we learnt more about Black culture and what it means to be Black in today’s workplace.

We encouraged all colleagues to get involved in the activities which included a Black History Month conference, Black History Month menus every Wednesday in our restaurants, visits to the Black Cultural Archives and lots more.

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