In the United Kingdom, BNP Paribas Personal Finance has launched an inclusive programme for the LGBT community. Lynda Brennan, Human Resources Director, and Michael Johnson, Learning and Development Manager for the UK, spearheaded this project and worked together to develop an open recruiting process and better working conditions. Together, they tell us more about the programme.
Could you tell us about the LGBT programme you created?
Lynda: We were already employing an inclusive hiring process to be sure that we did not overlook anyone and so that we could attract a diverse pool of applicants. Our recruitment policy aligns with our inclusive values and is proof of our commitment.
Michael: That says it all! The programme advances our goal of greater equity and equality, especially for the LGBT community.
Why did you set up this programme?
Lynda: We presented this programme when we submitted our application to be recognised as one of the top 100 best employers in the United Kingdom in 2015. Here in the United Kingdom our culture has always been inclusive and we wanted to take that mentality and apply it to the business world.
Michael: The programme really got underway in 2017. We wanted to show our LGBT colleagues that we were really committed to inclusivity, so we could lead the way and to encourage other companies to do the same.
Sexism and LGBT rights are not easy topics to talk about. How was that received?
Lynda: It’s true, these are still sensitive topics. We are making sure that our recruitment processes only take into account people’s skills and not their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Michael: The programme includes a training component for our managers so that when they hire people they adhere strictly to our inclusivity policy and our commitments. Managers are not allowed to do any hiring until they complete the programme. We talk to them about how they should address their future employees during interviews, what they can and can’t ask, and so on.
Once they are hired, do you provide further support to members of the LGBT community?
Lynda: Of course, that is the second component of our policy. Some of our employees are pride allies; they can be identified by the stickers and covers on their computers or work stations. If any of our employees have issues, whether they are part of the LGBT community or not, they can come talk to these pride allies, who walk the walk when it comes to fighting for greater inclusivity.
Michael: This is also part of the training programme I mentioned. We are teaching managers to listen to everyone, not just members of the LGBT community. In terms of salary, we also make sure everyone is treated fairly.
Who do you feel is helping to make this programme a success?
Lynda: We wouldn’t be able to do it without our employees. They are the ones who are promoting the programme with their friends and family and the LGBT community. In a competitive market like ours, the fact that people are promoting it themselves is a great selling point that helps make the programme a success. 90% of our employees would recommend our company based on the issues of diversity and inclusivity. That is a great score and we are very proud of it!
Do you think you can change people’s minds at BNP Paribas Personal Finance with this kind of initiative?
Lynda: We really hope so! We know that cultures and laws are different in different countries, so we can’t necessarily apply the same policies we have in the United Kingdom elsewhere.
Could we say that to a certain extent you are helping employees succeed at the company, no matter who they are?
Lynda: That’s right, we care and think about all our employees and future employees. Our employees also look out for one another, so we are all creating a better working experience together.