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.
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.