An inclusive organisation

We pursue a diversity and inclusion policy, guided by our belief that having various profiles working together increases the collective intelligence of our organisation. Within the Bank, we have taken more and more initiatives in this area since the establishment of the Diversity and Inclusion Council and the network of diversity ambassadors at the end of 2018. Working as a team, we define and realise actions aimed not only at achieving the quantitative targets of having more women at all organisational levels, but also at promoting a company culture in which everyone feels good and where all employees can develop their talents, irrespective of their gender, age, sexual orientation, origin or any disability.

"We still have a long way to go compared to some institutions which have had diversity on their agenda for more than fifteen years, but we are trying to learn from their experience”, said Diversity Manager Sarah. “We intend to gradually continue adding to our current objectives and actions. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the Bank attaches great importance to open-mindedness and respect, values that are part of our DNA."

The world is changing rapidly. To keep pace, we need all talents on board, in all their diversity. In an ideal world, diversity should not be the result of a specific action plan but should be the outcome of an open-minded and inclusive corporate culture, i.e. one that respects all differences.

Pierre Wunsch, Governor

We want to attract more diverse profiles

Inclusive language

With the aim of attracting more diverse talents, we want to make our selection processes as inclusive as possible. To do this, we also need to use a more inclusive language in our job ads on our revamped jobsite.

Raising awareness

In many cases, unconscious bias hinders diversity. This is the reason why we are providing employees (first and foremost those involved in hiring) with training to make them aware of their unconscious bias (inter alia regarding candidates' gender, appearance or age). We are also offering tools to adjust automatic thought patterns and rule out discriminatory behaviour.

Bachelor’s versus Master’s degrees

One of our goals is that each year 40% of our new hires are women. Looking at the total figures, this goal has been achieved. However, when looking at new hires and their degrees, we find that the goal was achieved at bachelor level (54%), but not for levels requiring a Master’s degree (37%). It thus seems that managers are set to remain predominantly male.

Women in Finance Belgium

Our Diversity Manager also represents the Bank in a number of external working groups focused on diversity and inclusion. Women in Finance Belgium is one of them.

At the ‘Why diversity in finance matters’ conference in our auditorium on 17 June 2019, our Director and President of the Belgian Financial Forum, Jean Hilgers, signed the Women in Finance Belgium Charter together with all major financial institutions. The goal of this Charter is to offer equal and fair opportunities to everyone working in the financial sector, irrespective of whether male or female. In the video documenting this conference, Jean Hilgers had this to say: “In the financial sector, which has seen many changes and much disruption in recent years, it is important to think outside the box and be open to other ideas. For that, we need all the talents of both men and women.”

Former Finance Minister and now Prime Minister Alexander De Croo also attended this conference:

Looking at the statistics, we see that organisations with greater gender diversity post better results, handle risks better and make better decisions. We therefore need to offer men and women the same opportunities, especially as we often see (female) talents going unused.

Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister

The signing of the Women in Finance Charter came at just the right time for the Bank: we had just defined our diversity and inclusion policy and joining Women in Finance gave a boost to our action plan, thanks to the sharing of experiences, but also and especially to the positive emulation of this network.

Pierre Wunsch, Governor

 

58 % of Women in Finance members state that, thanks to the Charter, they have initiated action plans on gender diversity or have strengthened their existing plans.

When promoting or hiring people for senior positions, we aim for a 40% share of women on an annual basis

“For executives at senior management level, I want to have a succession plan by the end of my mandate which ensures that retiring department heads are replaced by women in at least 40% of cases”, said Governor Pierre Wunsch in the French-language business newspaper L'Echo on 28 June 2019.

To achieve this goal, we have drafted a programme to better support women in their career development. In an effort to encourage flexibility – to the benefit of gender diversity –, we are including the diversity and inclusion dimension in our talent management programme, while in the short term we will be including a module on inclusive leadership in our management training courses. We are also working on the succession planning referred to by the Governor in L'Echo to detect future promotion opportunities well in advance. In this field as well, we are drawing inspiration from the Women in Finance Belgium network (see above).

We are working on an inclusive corporate culture

An inclusive company culture boosts our collective intelligence and increases our credibility as a socially relevant institution.

This is the reason there are many different initiatives within the Bank aimed at raising the awareness of our staff to diversity and inclusion. For example, our network of diversity ambassadors invited Ed Sibley from the Central Bank of Ireland to share and debate his insights on diversity. A further example is the presentation by our diversity ambassadors of articles, films or books on the topic via our Intranet.

Diversity Manager Sarah Ndayirukiye: “The ambassadors make sure that diversity is present throughout the Bank”