HR revamp planned for Lloyds’ 40% female target


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Lloyds Bank will overhaul its recruitment, development and retention strategies to meet its 2020 aim of having 40% of senior roles filled by women, a director has stated.

Director of diversity and inclusion Fiona Cannon told HR Magazine the organisation planned to build a talent pipeline of women by “starting further back in the organisation to develop women earlier in their careers”.

Her comments followed the bank’s announcement of the target, which will be confirmed in a speech delivered today by Lloyds Banking Group chief executive António Horta-Osório.

He will say Lloyds Banking Group will commit to better represent the diversity of its customer base by having 40% of senior roles filled by female staff within six years.

Cannon said this would be achieved by taking “a fundamental look at how we recruit, develop and retain our colleagues in order to meet our commitment”.

“As a starting point, we are providing support for all colleagues, so that they understand why we are doing this, what we are doing and, in particular, that they have the skills and knowledge to help us deliver our goal,” she said.

“For example, we have been running a programme on unconscious bias, where line managers can learn how bias can affect the decisions they make and understand how to prevent this happening.”

Cannon also described how the bank would use programmes, such as its Sponsoring Leaders initiatives, to encourage women’s development by appointing a more senior colleague as a sponsor.

“The sponsor’s role is to actively manage the role of their sponsee,” Cannon said. “They will provide advice and support, but they will also introduce them to their contacts, make sure they are aware of opportunities coming up and make sure they don't fall off track.

“This work is supported by our Role Model Programme, where colleagues can hear from managers and senior managers about their top tips for success and a high profile women's network called Breakthrough.”

Cannon said it was important to have a numeric goal to focus the organisation’s diversity work.

“Our specific goal for women is to build a pipeline of suitably qualified women who can take on executive roles,” she said.

“That will take time and involves us starting further back in the organisation to develop women earlier in their careers.

“It has been suggested that it will take 70 years to achieve gender balanced workplaces. We feel that is too long for the talented women within Lloyds Banking Group and across the UK.”

Commenting on the bank’s Helping Britain Prosper plan, Horta-Osório said the approach would aid the organisation regain trust and improve its damaged reputation following the financial crisis.

“Words alone are not enough to change public perception and regain trust,” he said. “We must be able to provide meaningful commitments and allow ourselves to be independently measured against those.”

HR Magazine contacted Nationwide and HSBC banks to ask if they would match Lloyds Bank’s 40% target, but both declined the opportunity to comment.

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