FinTrU introduces Pregnancy Loss Policy for all employees

Diversity Mark Signatory FinTrU has officially introduced a comprehensive Pregnancy Loss Policy which will be available to all employees across the company.

The FinTrU Pregnancy Loss Policy caters for both the pregnant individual and their partner in the event of a pregnancy loss. Statistics show that one in eight pregnancies can end in miscarriage, and this policy aims to support FinTrU employees in ensuring that they have the time and care they need after such a tragic event.

Sinead Carville, FinTrU Chief HR Officer

FinTrU Chief Human Resources Officer, Sinead Carville, said of the new policy “As FinTrU continues to grow, we are always looking at our employee demographic to support them in whatever way we can. Traditionally when a pregnancy loss occurs, people can feel uncomfortable speaking about it and tend to use other reasons for compassionate leave. We want to completely remove that barrier and ensure that our employees and managers are fully equipped with the knowledge, training and support they require should they encounter this devastating situation in life. Our organisation is evolving and we are always looking at ways for us to evolve as a provider for our people. FinTrU will continue to monitor and implement employee centric policies to support them in their careers as well as their personal lives.”

Should a loss of child occur, this policy will entitle the pregnant employee to two weeks of paid leave. The policy also extends to employees who are the partner of a pregnant individual who has lost a child to entitle them to one week of paid leave. This leave can be flexible to suit to needs of the individual’s recovery following a pregnancy loss event.

As the FinTrU employee demographic continues to evolve, training has been designed and will be delivered to all Line Managers. This training will focus on those who manage pregnant people and their partners, those who have lost a child, and the appropriate and careful management of the employee’s return to work.

Founded in December 2013, FinTrU is a multi‐award winning RegTech company in the Financial Services sector that is committed to giving local talent the opportunity to work on the global stage with the largest International Investment Banks. FinTrU works with clients to design solutions to help them meet their regulatory obligations in areas such as Legal, Risk, Compliance, KYC, Operations, Consultancy and Technology. FinTrU’s clients are all global Investment Banks, based in North America, Europe and Asia and the company’s business model is to provide technology enabled solutions to clients to augment and support their existing internal functions. Headquartered in Northern Ireland, FinTrU employs over 750 people across Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, London and New York. Read more about FinTrU at www.fintru.com

FinTrU recently received the Silver Diversity Mark for leading commitment to diversity and inclusion. Going forward, the aim for FinTrU is to continue to support employees to ensure that their place of work is as welcoming, supportive and open as possible.

If you have not yet joined Diversity Mark on your company’s Diversity and Inclusion journey please reach out to emma@diversity-mark-ni.co.uk to discuss the benefits and process.

You can CLICK HERE to join Diversity Mark and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark accreditation.

Diversity Mark Signatory Roundtable Event ‘Gender Balance in STEM’

Thank you to everyone that attended our recent roundtable event ‘Gender Balance in STEM’. This event gave attendees the opportunity to connect with peers from other organisations and sectors, and share ideas, challenges and good practice around achieving gender balance in the STEM sector.

Diversity Mark signatories attending ‘Gender Balance in STEM’

During the session, signatories completed a poll advising the main challenges for them to achieving gender balance within their organisation. The top three barriers were listed as:

  • Talent Pipeline -so few women interested in applying

  • Girls not studying the relevant subjects/degree not suitable

  • Male dominated environment

The great news is that we are moving the dial within STEM. Looking collectively at four IT companies that joined us in the early days, Liberty IT, Allstate NI, Learning Pool and Outsource Solutions they have jointly increased their female workforce by 27% overall and by 30% specifically in senior management positions. All four companies have grown collectively by 401 employees since they joined Diversity Mark with 47% of all new hires being female, tipping the overall gender balance collectively in favour of women by 3%.

Thank you to Frank Fleming from the Equality Commission NI for his offer to help with policies, culture audits and training. Please CLICK HERE to find out more.

Attendees came away from the session with a list of over twenty practical tips, strategies and initiatives to review and implement where possible within their organisations.

If you have not yet joined Diversity Mark on your company’s Diversity and Inclusion journey please reach out to emma@diversity-mark-ni.co.uk to discuss the benefits and process.

You can CLICK HERE to join Diversity Mark and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark accreditation.

Greiner Packaging Partner with Equality Commission to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Diversity in the workplace is high on the agenda for Greiner Packaging.  In recent months, their Northern Ireland team have taken proactive steps to champion equality, diversity, and inclusion in the manufacturing sector.

Greiner Packaging, part of the Greiner Group operates a global network of production facilities and employs 290 staff at their Northern Ireland plant in Dungannon.  The thriving business is passionate about making a positive impact in the world, from their sustainable approach to making plastic packaging recyclable, reusable, or compostable, to adopting ethical and inclusive processes to recruit, train, and manage the wellbeing of employees.

In 2019, Greiner signed up to Diversity Mark and has since achieved the robust Bronze Diversity Mark accreditation. The company’s management team identified a number of diversity and inclusion goals including updating company policies and educating and training staff on diversity and inclusion.  This process has been made easier with support from the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland.

The Equality Commission provide advice to employers to help them establish equality related policies and train staff on equality, diversity, and inclusion.  Greiner Packaging availed of this support, receiving expert advice and recommendations that enabled the manufacturing company to update their policies.  The Equality Commission also participated in training events to educate staff on the main aspects of equality legislation, definitions of discrimination, positive work environments, and other relevant diversity and inclusion issues. During the sessions, employees were briefed on their responsibilities, and the company’s action plan to meet its equality, diversity, and inclusion goals.

Diversity and Inclusion lead within Greiner Packaging, Maeve Turbitt, was grateful for the contribution made by The Equality Commission:

“The Equality Commission have been very helpful in supporting us to get everyone in our business trained on Diversity and Inclusion.  This is a target we set ourselves in the first year of gaining our Bronze Diversity Mark Award.

The Equality Commission worked with me to devise the training content and co-presented this for two sessions to approximately 90 colleagues via Teams.  They also reviewed our Equal Opportunities Policy and Positive Work Environment Policy and made recommendations accordingly so we could relaunch these in line with the training.”

During the training, the Greiner team took the opportunity to remind everyone of the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code the company signed up to and is audited on, as well as the Greiner Code of Conduct and the Whistle Blowing Policy and phone number. Employees completed a short quiz after the training to ensure they understood the content.  Ongoing training on equality, diversity and inclusion is being rolled out in-house by Greiner’s People and Culture Team.

If your company has decided to commit to embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace, please get in touch with our team at Diversity Mark.

The Equality Commission would also be keen to talk to you about the support they can provide.  Contact Frank Fleming at ffleming@equalityni.org for more information.

80,000 Employees To Gain Greater Inclusivity

We are delighted to announce that we recently reached a significant milestone with organisations signed up, working towards achieving and maintaining the Diversity Mark representing over 80,000 employees, with almost 40% of those companies based within the STEM sector.

Four of NI’s leading IT firms – Allstate, Learning Pool, Liberty IT and Outsource – have been accredited through Diversity Mark for over 2 years, and in that time have jointly increased their female workforce by 27% overall and by 30% specifically in senior management positions. All four companies have grown collectively by 401 employees since they joined Diversity Mark with 47% of all new hires being female, tipping the overall gender balance collectively in favour of women by 3%.

Launched in 2017 by Women in Business, Diversity Mark are now the leading authority in Diversity in the UK & Ireland and the accreditation recognises an organisation’s commitment to embracing diversity and creating an inclusive culture for all staff.

A McKinsey report published last year found that companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies.

Terry Moore – CEO of Outsource, Nichola Robinson – Director of Strategic Sourcing at Spirit AeroSystems and Diversity Mark Chair, Paul McElvaney – Group CEO of Learning Pool, John Healy OBE- Vice President and Managing Director of Allstate NI, Christine White – Head of Business at Diversity Mark and Willie Hamilton – Managing Director of Liberty IT.

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark, said: “We are delighted to have reached this landmark milestone representing 80,000 employees. At Diversity Mark it is our mission to platform issues around inclusivity in the workplace and create equal opportunities for all. It is well known that having a diverse workforce can unlock greater innovation within a company, driving its performance and success. We look forward to further progressing in 2022 and are delighted to work with organisations new and old throughout the UK & Ireland as they continue their exciting journeys towards greater diversity.”

John Healy OBE, Vice President and Managing Director at Allstate NI, said: “Diversity is central to everything we do, and it’s needed now more than ever in the IT sector. As the first company in Northern Ireland to receive the Silver Diversity Mark, Allstate are committed to be the catalyst for change.

“In a sector where females are underrepresented, I am delighted to see the progress Allstate and the other companies have made to address this. The frameworks and resources provided by the Diversity Mark team have been invaluable in helping us to set goals, track performance and benchmark against other organisations. Allstate’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion will help drive change and attract more females to join the IT sector.”

Paul McElvaney, Group CEO of Learning Pool, said: “Our strong commitment to diversity benefits our entire company. We recently ranked as the top indigenous company in Northern Ireland to work for, and part of this success can be attributed to our dedication to inclusion.

“Diversity Mark’s accreditation programme has helped build on this ongoing commitment to maintain an inclusive culture. We’ve made significant investments in building a flexible workplace and nurturing a culture where everyone has equal opportunity to achieve their potential in terms of career growth, pay fairness, and skill building. In the current climate, it’s more important than ever to foster this kind of experience, where people feel valued and have a voice in what they do.”

Willie Hamilton, Managing Director at Liberty IT, said: “Partnering with Diversity Mark NI to achieve our accreditation has played a key role in pushing us even further in our DEI journey. We’re growing our teams and continuing to bring diversity of talent into our organisation is critical to this.

“We’re seeing improvements in gender balance across all job families including the Executive Team, and our Women in Tech Employee Resource Group have launched mentoring circles and a buddy programme, and our Talent team have introduced coaching and toolkits to support parents and those returning from a period of leave. Our DEI Council has just been established and I am excited to partner with this group to evolve DEI even further across Liberty IT.

Terry Moore, Founder and CEO of Outsource, said: “At Outsource we have always prided ourselves on our commitment to diversity, inclusion and the general wellbeing of our staff, our participation in the Diversity Mark accreditation journey has undoubtedly accelerated and placed more structure on the senior management team’s implementation efforts.

“With the support of the Diversity Mark team, Outsource are proud to be the only Managed Service and Security Provider in NI to have been awarded the Bronze Diversity Mark but as importantly we genuinely believe that this commitment to diversity and inclusion is and will continue to be a major advantage to us as we progress with our plans for Outsource and our ground-breaking OSG Cloud solution to grow nationally and internationally. For any company that genuinely wants to grow or attract the best candidates the Diversity Mark is a fantastic way to show you are a genuinely inclusive and welcoming place to work, where skills and talents from all sections of the workforce are actively encouraged and welcome.”

To learn more about Diversity Mark Accreditations please click here.

To sign up to become a Diversity Mark Signatory please click here.

FinTrU awarded the Silver Diversity Mark for their commitment to diversity and inclusion

FinTrU is delighted to announce that the company has been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark for its continued commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The Diversity Mark is awarded to companies following an independent assessment process which ensures they have reached the required standard of commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion. FinTrU is one of seven organisations in Northern Ireland to have been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark out of 90 organisations.

Darragh McCarthy, Founder & CEO

Speaking of the achievement, FinTrU Founder & CEO, Darragh McCarthy said “FinTrU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering as we continue to grow as a company. We want all employees to have a sense of belonging at FinTrU and to be their true selves at work. I am very proud of the teams, committees and leaders at FinTrU who have brought our diversity and inclusion commitment to life with their dedication to events, education and engagement. Our goal is to continue to be a leading employer in Northern Ireland and we are steadfastly focused on ensuring our company provides everyone with the opportunity to be comfortable at their workplace and excel in their careers.”

Diversity Mark’s independent panel commended FinTrU for succeeding the target for Gender diversity at entry level, commitment to female development at all levels, employee centric response to BAME related matters, and the continued efforts in educating employees on issues affecting those within both BAME and LQBTQ+ communities. They have recognised FinTrU’s diversity and inclusion efforts as exemplary and noted that as a leading organisation in Northern Ireland, they can be at the forefront of influencing others to follow their lead.

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark addedWe congratulate everyone at FinTrU on their innovative and progressive approach and we look forward to supporting them on their Diversity and Inclusion journey over the coming years.”

Sinead Carville, Chief Human Resources Officer

FinTrU Chief Human Resources Officer, Sinead Carville, added “We are very proud of this recognition and we want to acknowledge the fantastic work that our employees have put in to create a welcoming environment for all people. We strongly believe that giving our people a voice to drive employee engagement in this area has led to this recognition. FinTrU is extremely committed to diversity and inclusion as a means to support our employees. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also plays an imperative role in the successes achieved by our people at FinTrU.”

With the Silver Diversity Mark achieved, FinTrU’s target moves towards Gold recognition. There are currently no organisations in Northern Ireland with the Gold Diversity Mark and FinTrU will continue to strive to demonstrate this standard.

Once again huge congratulations to all the team at FinTrU on being awarded the Silver Diversity Mark.

You can read more about Diversity Mark Accreditations here.

You can learn more about FinTrU’s commitment to diversity here.

New Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service announced

Bronze Diversity Mark accredited NI Civil Service have announced Jayne Brady is to be the new Head of the NI Civil Service. (NICS)

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill confirmed the appointment after the successful completion of the NICS recruitment process for the new Head of the Civil Service (HOCS).

Jayne is currently the Digital Innovation Commissioner within Belfast City Council and will succeed Jenny Pyper, who has been serving as Interim HOCS since December 2020.

First Minister Arlene Foster said:

“This is a hugely significant appointment for the Northern Ireland Civil Service and for the institutions of government. As leader of some 23,000 civil servants and chief policy adviser to the Executive, the HOCS role is central to the development and delivery of public services. Jayne is an experienced and highly skilled leader who has much to bring to the role.

“After a tumultuous year for the public sector, as society has grappled with the impacts of the pandemic, there is a need now for a renewed focus on rebuilding and delivering for the people of Northern Ireland. Jayne will play a crucial part in guiding the Executive and leading the NICS to support delivery and improved outcomes for the public. “I wish Jayne every success as she prepares to undertake this important role and offer my thanks to Jenny Pyper who has carried out the duties of Interim HOCS with dedication and conviction.” 

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said:

“I welcome the appointment of Jayne Brady as the new Head of the Civil Service. 

“Jayne brings extensive experience and skills to this critical leadership role in supporting the Executive and leading the Civil Service on the delivery of the commitments from New Decade, New Approach agreement, Programme for Government and the monumental task of recovery as we manage our way through the Covid pandemic. “I offer my congratulations to Jayne on her appointment.

“I also want to put on record my thanks to Jenny Pyper, who stepped up to carry out the role on an interim basis over the past seven months during a time of great challenge for the Executive and civil service as we have responded to the global health crisis.”

Jayne Brady, new Head of the Civil Service

Commenting on her appointment Jayne Brady said:

“I’m honoured to be appointed as Head of the Civil Service. The NICS has a dedicated and skilled workforce who have done an outstanding job in the most challenging of circumstances. I will work with colleagues across the service to further develop the NICS as a high-performing organisation that effectively supports the institutions of government.  

“I am under no illusions about the scale of the challenges ahead, but I am looking forward to supporting the Executive in delivering their commitments and priorities during my tenure.”

An announcement on when Jayne will take up her post will be made shortly.

Jayne Brady is an engineer at heart with extensive, board experience and a track record of success that transcends blue-chip corporations, start-ups and funding ecosystems. She has over 20 years’ leadership experience and a diverse skillset including venture capital, due diligence, corporate governance, setting strategy, leading teams, technical ownership and finance across complex organisational structures internationally.

Jayne has a strong, established professional network and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Irish Academy of Engineers; she sits on the NI Committee for the IoD and the Engineering Policy Group, is a board director on Queen’s University Belfast Spinout Fund, QUBIS and is a Trustee for Young Enterprise NI.

Congratulations to Jayne from all the team at Diversity Mark.

Find out more about The Diversity Mark Accreditations.

Applied Systems Awarded Bronze Diversity Mark Accreditation

Applied Systems have been awarded the Bronze Diversity Mark, a ‘Mark of Progress’ that acknowledges their commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive workplace to benefit all employees.

The global provider of cloud-based software for the insurance industry is recognised as a pioneer in insurance automation. Applied is the world’s largest provider of agency and brokerage management systems, serving customers throughout the United States, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The company currently employs over 2,000 members of staff across all its locations and has been serving the insurance sector for almost four decades since established in 1983.

The Bronze award, the first stage of the accreditation process recognises the commitment of Applied Systems Northern Ireland team in advancing diversity, inclusion and belonging within the workplace, particularly in the relation to gender diversity.

Three core targets were set to work towards.  These included:

Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Applied Systems committed to developing their first Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to map out their objectives and the diversity, equality, and inclusion initiatives they would roll out.

Diversity and Inclusion Council

Applied Systems have developed an internal Diversity and Inclusion Council to take responsibility for ensuring that Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion issues are regularly discussed at management level.  The council lead and support internal teams to deliver diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Advancing Gender Diversity in the Workplace

Applied Systems recognise the challenges facing women but also the value they bring to the workforce at various levels in the organisation.  A key ambition of Applied Systems is to have a minimum of 30% female representation in their Development Team by 2030. 

The company is encouraging female employees to pursue career development opportunities internally.  Gender Diversity is being advanced through provision of a mentoring programme for women which enables female employees to be mentored by internal and external mentors in relation to key development areas identified by each individual. Mentoring will enable them to develop and grow in their roles and in turn, the company benefits from greater innovation and more diverse and engaged employees.

The independent assessment panel welcomed the application from Applied Systems and commended them on their ambition to have a more equal and diverse workforce that will help drive the success of the business.

Tom Needs, Chief Executive Officer, Applied Systems Europe is also delighted with the achievement:

“We are honoured to be recognised by Diversity Mark with the first accreditation for Gender Diversity.  This award demonstrates Applied’s ongoing commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture where people feel they belong, and everyone can bring their authentic selves to work every day.”

Find out more about our Diversity Accreditations.

Farrans Construction Wins National Award For Stem Education Programme On South Lake Leisure Centre Project

Farrans win Diversity and Inclusion in STEM award for South Lake Leisure Centre Project

Diversity Mark signatory, Farrans Construction has been awarded a STEM Inspiration Award for Outstanding Contribution to Widening Participation, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM for its educational work carried out while on site at South Lake Leisure Centre in Craigavon.

Sponsored by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Awards celebrate the extraordinary individuals and organisations who support learning, raise aspirations, and illuminate careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The judges praised Farrans saying:

“While building the South Lake Leisure Centre in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, Farrans also incorporated a first-class education programme, looking to strengthen the local community and use STEM to boost children’s education and future career prospects. Lots of the activity centred on widening participation, from site visits and work experience, to engineering challenges and careers skills session. The judges praised the project as an exemplary case of building community engagement.”

Farrans Construction, a CRH company, is a leading building and civil engineering contractor with over 75 years’ experience of delivering world-class projects across the UK and Ireland. The company, which employs more than 500 people, has offices in London, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Belfast with further site offices connecting its regional network.

Sarah Fearon, community business partner at Farrans, said: “We are extremely proud of South Lake Leisure Centre, a modern leisure facility which we delivered for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. As a responsible business, we always look for ways to have a positive impact on the communities we are working in. Our in-house Community Business Partner team look after stakeholder management, employment and skills development, community engagement and education outreach. We always engage with our clients and supply chain to create bespoke programmes which address the needs in the local area, and we were delighted with the level of interest that our STEM programme attracted on this project.”

The winners were announced by STEM Learning at an online awards celebration hosted by Tara Shine (presenter of the 2020 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures and director of Change By Degrees) at 4pm on 20 May 2021.  The video on STEM Learning’s YouTube channel can be viewed below.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive Officer at UKRI, said: “We are delighted to be supporting these Awards that celebrate the role organisations and individuals across the economy play in showcasing the variety of STEM careers and pathways to the next generation.”

“We have seen the power that STEM has demonstrated in being able to address the huge problems that we have faced in our society and across the world in recent times.  Bringing together the necessary skills and expertise has been crucial and that is why it is so important that the STEM community is as diverse, creative, and dynamic as possible. Our personal thanks to the organisations and individuals who play an important role to support this.”

Yvonne Baker, Chief Executive of STEM Learning, added: “Despite the challenges we have all experienced this year, I am delighted that we are recognising the achievements of individuals, organisations and clubs that have continued to inspire young people virtually – and face to face when they have been able to.” 

“I am particularly pleased to celebrate the Award presented to Farrans for their outstanding contribution to widening participation, diversity and inclusion in STEM – a topic particularly close to my heart.”

A full profile of each of the winners can be found at: https://www.stem.org.uk/stem-inspiration-awards.

For more information on how individuals and employers can engage with the STEM Ambassador programme, please visit www.stem.org.uk/stem-ambassadors

You can also follow on social media at @STEMAmbassadors

Danske Bank announces CEO transition

UK Chief Executive, Kevin Kingston and Current Deputy CEO, Vicky Davies at Diversity Mark signatory Danske Bank.

Diversity Mark Silver accredited Danske Bank UK Chief Executive, Kevin Kingston, has decided to retire later this year. Current Deputy CEO, Vicky Davies, will then take up the position, subject to regulatory approval.

Chair of the Bank’s Board, Gerald Gregory, said:

“As CEO Kevin has made a huge contribution to the strategic and cultural development of the Bank. His personal commitment and strong leadership has further strengthened Danske Bank’s leading position in Northern Ireland. His decision to announce his planned retirement now allows for a period of transition. The Board looks forward to working with Vicky in her new capacity over the years ahead.”

Kevin Kingston said:

“It is of course with mixed emotions that I announce my intention to step down as Chief Executive by the end of the year. Now that we are hopefully through the worst of the pandemic, and looking toward a brighter future, the timing feels right. It has been a privilege and an honour to lead the Bank over the past six years and to work with so many inspirational colleagues. When I do leave, I know that Vicky and our strong local management team will continue to prioritise customer experience, while retaining a strategic focus on growing the business for the future.”  

Vicky Davies (45) will become the first female chief executive in the Bank’s 200-year history.

A Cambridge graduate, she started her career as a management consultant at Accenture in London. After gaining her MBA at the renowned INSEAD business school in France, Vicky joined Ulster Bank in 2005.

She moved on to become part of Danske Bank’s senior management team in 2012, initially as Head of Business Development, then becoming Managing Director of Strategy & Corporate Development. She joined the Board of Danske Bank UK in 2016, becoming its first ever female executive director. In 2019 she was appointed Deputy CEO. Vicky is also a Board member at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Proud of her Welsh roots, Vicky has lived in Northern Ireland for sixteen years, is married to a Northern Irishman and has four young sons.

Vicky Davies said:

“Under Kevin’s leadership Danske Bank UK has undergone a significant transformation, and as part of his leadership team I am extremely proud of all we have accomplished. I would like to thank him for the support he has given me over the past six years.

“I am both humbled and delighted be CEO designate. As we look ahead with optimism, I firmly believe Northern Ireland will grow again and that Danske Bank will have a central role to play in the recovery. As the biggest bank in Northern Ireland we are well positioned to continue to support our customers, to be there when they need us and to help them realise their ambitions.”

Congratulations to Vicky from the Diversity Mark team.

Click here to find out more about the Diversity Mark accreditation programme.

Danske Bank Embed Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging into Organisational Culture

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark NI, Kevin Kingston, CEO at Danske Bank UK and Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank UK
Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark, Kevin Kingston, CEO at Danske Bank UK and Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank UK

Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank outlines the approach to embed diversity, inclusion and belonging within the organisation. Their commitment has resulted in Danske Bank being awarded the Diversity Mark Silver accreditation.

Danske Bank signed up as a Diversity Mark Signatory in January 2018 and have proved to be an organisation with a laser focus on measurement, using data and employee feedback to drive strategy and to set clear and ambitious targets around diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Caroline herself is an experienced HR Director, having spent over 25 years’ within the Financial Services, FMCG, Travel and Retail sectors. At Danske Bank UK Caroline leads the People Strategy as part of the Banks Executive Committee with Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging being a significant element of their strategy. Caroline also gives her time to be a Diversity Mark Buddy, providing guidance and expertise to new signatories.

Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank discussing diversity inclusion and belonging policies.
Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank

What prompted Danske Bank to join the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme?

The Diversity Mark underpins our commitment to drive diversity, inclusion and belonging and be a force for good in Northern Ireland. The application framework enables us (and other organisations) to identify and take action on any institutional barriers facing minorities and underrepresented groups that can impact on their career progression and sense of belonging. 

How knowledgeable was Danske Bank about Diversity and Inclusion at the start?

We were knowledgeable, but are always seeking to grow and expand our knowledge base across all facets of our business to help us embed diversity, inclusion and belonging right in the heart of our culture at Danske Bank.

What have been the main benefits of participating in the Diversity Mark accreditation programme to date?

Collaborating with the fantastic Diversity Mark team to host an event as part of the Diversity and Inclusion series – ‘Disabilities, Mental Health & Belonging’, growing external diversity and inclusion networks, giving back through the Diversity Buddies Programme and participating in some fantastic webinars and diversity and inclusion events has been hugely beneficial for our team.

What have you learned on your journey so far and how has it impacted the organisation?

At Danske Bank people are at the heart of everything we do and we want to ensure that every colleague and customer feels supported, accepted and included. As part of our Danske Belong strategy we have very strong employee networks which are driven by passionate volunteers with the focus and ambition to make Danske Bank a place of work where people feel they can be their true selves. The networks have been instrumental in opening up debate, introducing new initiatives and challenging for change, and they have the full support of our senior management team. Of course, working life has transformed since the pandemic and we will continue to listen to colleague feedback, collaborate to introduce new policies or initiatives where necessary, and also step up our focus on wellbeing.

What are the next steps in the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging journey to help you to retain the Diversity Mark accreditation?

We are continuously working on progressing our diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives. Below are a few highlighted areas:

  • Launching our Origins Affinity Network
  • Further embedding our Belong strategy into the organisation’s culture.
  • Launching our Domestic Abuse: Support for Colleagues Policy and tangible support offerings.
  • Finalising our Suicide Awareness programme of work for colleagues and people leaders.
  • Roll out of our Belong Journal (an empowerment tool to help colleagues remove the first barrier to belonging which, in many cases, can be a conversation with their line manager on a personal, sensitive, or emotive subject to them).
  • Data collation, analysis and implementation of data informed action points.
  • The Belong Mission Statement publication and communicating to our colleagues through our Belong Hub and Belong e-booklet.

What support have you received from Diversity Mark to help you on your journey so far?

Excellent support. Diversity Mark have always been on hand to provide market analysis, best practice learnings, collaboration opportunities and networking introductions.

Would you recommend the Diversity Mark accreditation programme to other organisations?

Absolutely, and we have done so publicly in our external marketing communications, and through conversations with other businesses in the Northern Ireland market – both private and public sector.

Can you briefly summarise your experience to date on the accreditation programme?

Diversity Mark has been instrumental in enabling us to grow and expand our knowledge base across all facets of our business, to help us embed diversity, inclusion and belonging right in the heart of our culture at Danske Bank.


Find out more about the Diversity Mark Acreditation Programme.