Northern Trust’s senior management leads on diversity and inclusion

Northern Trust’s client needs and expectations are as diverse as the clients themselves and it is critical that we employ people who understand those needs.

We believe that diverse teams engender creativity and innovation and have built diversity and inclusion (D&I) into our organisational processes. Northern Trust is a market leader in the financial services industry on gender parity, with 22% females at board level locally and 25% on the management group. Strong leadership underpins our effectiveness in D&I. Our D&I strategy is driven by the management group - the corporation's top level of management - which is held accountable against an organisational scorecard for progress on D&I, and works in partnership with the Global D&I team.

Furthermore, each management group member champions a "business resource council", participating in and leading facilitated discussions with employees at all levels. Senior management visibility, engagement and leadership are crucial to how D&I is viewed and experienced by our employees. As a senior leader at Northern Trust, I personally have a responsibility to be accessible and to prepare the next generation of leaders.

Through mentoring, I gain access to a broad range of people. In this small way, if I can help someone to succeed through sharing my experiences, then the organisation is all the richer because of it. I am also the executive champion for our Black Business Resource Council, one of Northern Trust's eleven employee networks. I got involved because I saw opportunities to attract, develop and retain black employees. These same drivers led me to join the board of Race for Opportunity, of which Northern Trust is a member.

But it isn't just senior leadership that is accountable for D&I. Northern Trust made D&I training mandatory for all employees (probationary periods cannot be completed without it), and D&I is one of seven core competencies within every employee's performance appraisal - it makes up a minimum of 10% of their performance scorecard. All of our managers must complete a management development curriculum, which outlines our people management expectations, and one of these requires them to build a diverse team through recruitment and succession planning. There is always more that can be done and at Northern Trust we are widening the ethnic diversity of the talent pool from which we recruit, including looking further afield to those universities that our industry does not traditionally approach and that typically have greater ethnic diversity. Embedding D&I into objectives, expectations, training and our recruitment process, reinforces to all employees that it is an important issue for the business.

David Wicks, head of operations & technology, EMEA, Northern Trust and board member of Race for Opportunity

This week HR magazine, in association with Bosch UK, launched its inaugural Diversity Survey. We want to know your thoughts on diversity and get some ideas of how UK employers are addressing the challenge of developing an inclusive and equal workplace. Please spare 10 minutes to fill in our short online survey, by clicking here