Foster diversity and wellbeing worldwide

HSBC - the world’s largest banking and financial services

HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations. Its global businesses serve more than 40 million customers worldwide through a network that covers 64 countries and territories. The company wants to create an environment that allows all employees to fulfill their potential. Therefore, HSBC prioritizes its employees’ mental health, support their wellbeing, and recognize the importance of being able to work flexibly.

The financial organization offers a diverse and inclusive workforce that values individuals and their contributions. This allows the bank to better represent its customers and the communities it serves. As part of this, HSBC has a target to ensure at least 30 percent of our senior roles are held by women.  I had the opportunity to interview Laura Perea, Head of Human Resources of HSBC Mexico to discuss more their best practices on diversity and inclusion, my aim is that more companies learn what leaders of the market are doing and they act and do good, we need a more inclusive world not just because is the right thing to do, it is proved that a diverse environment brings innovation and that is a very good business. 

HSBC Mexico joined the global commitment called "The valuable 500", whose main objective is to insert actions in favor of the labor inclusion of people with disabilities within the corporate plans of 500 business leaders of the world. "The valuable 500" is a campaign that was launched within the framework of the World Economic Forum this year. Could you elaborate on the activities being carried out to make it easier for people with disabilities to find the best place to work inside the bank?

For HSBC Mexico be part of this commitment was a natural step in our strategy. We have been working in two different dimensions:

Globally, there is a very aspiring worldwide project that is being worked with the support of the Building Disability Forum and based on main 10 principles:

  1. Commitment
  2. Knowledge, skills, and confidence
  3. Workplace adjustments
  4. Recruitment and onboarding
  5. Retention and development
  6. Customer Experience
  7. Procurement
  8. Communication and marketing
  9. Built environment
  10. Digital Technology

There is a special focus for Wealth and Private Banking, our largest business, with strong support for more communication, training for customer-facing employees and improve accessibility in our Branch Network. Locally, we have delivered different actions to increase awareness and education about disability, as:

  • Senior management involvement, different activities held as Dinner in the Dark with the Bank´s Executive Committee, with the objective to raise awareness in the Executive Committee about the visual disability and understand the challenges this population face.
  • Awareness sessions for the Talent attraction team and hiring managers, to promote the inclusion since this stage. “Fundación Paralife” delivered these sessions about Inclusive Recruitment, considering different types of disabilities and how to deliver an inclusive interview.
  • Unconscious bias workshop (12 sessions) delivered by Capaxia offered to leaders of Functions and Businesses as well as the Recruitment Team.
  • Photographic exposition in our corporate building in Reforma, pictures taken by people with visual disabilities
  • Sensoramas in corporate buildings (more than 100 attendees), these were activities in which we provided a live experience for our colleagues to awake other senses and identify the perspective of people with disabilities.
  • Different conferences with people with disabilities in commemorative days

We also have worked with our Branch Network creating materials such as developing operative guides, communication campaigns, awareness sessions with a focus on inclusion and service of customers with disabilities and elder customers.

We also worked with “Todo accessible” vendor, an expert that will help us to create accessibility conditions in our physical branches and buildings.

HSBC Mexico is committed to promoting gender equality within its organizational structure: currently, 28% of its managerial positions are held by women, how are they ensuring that these goals are met? Do you have metrics to measure the success of your initiatives?

HSBC actively promotes the development of female talent. We have different actions to support this such as:

  1. Targeted global development programs to accelerate readiness for those females identified as talented (Accelerated female leadership and Accelerating into Leadership). Our programs consider professional coaching, networking, training, and actions to developing specific skills.
  2. Advice and support on career development, supporting their growth into strategic leadership roles.
  3. Mentoring. We have a global mentoring platform that help female talent to connect with people from different geographies and business
  4. Sponsorship. Some of our most talented women have a sponsor assigned from the executive committee. Sponsorship is a relatively recent name given to a type of career support relationship which has been happening for a long time. In short, a sponsor is a person who is a proactive advocate for another person's career development.  They act once they believe in a sponsee's potential; are willing to publically recommend them and make introductions and provide a sponsee with clear feedback and air cover while they learn how to be successful in their new remit. And they can be effective.  According to the Center for Talent Innovation, people with sponsors are 23% more likely to move up in their careers than those without sponsors.  Research also shows that people from under-represented groups are less likely to have sponsors.  Understanding how we can change this is important to ensuring everybody can reach their full potential.
  5. D&I lens in recruitment and succession planning.
  6. We also have an Employee Resource Group for Gender Equality (Balance), integrated with more than 1,000 people in Mexico, colleagues who joined voluntarily to support the development and engagement of a gender-balanced workforce. ​ ERG Balance promotes diverse actions such as Mentoring, Coaching circles, networking events, panels, conferences, and awareness sessions.

In the bank there is an affinity group Pride LGBT, how does it work?  how many people participate? How do you support this community specifically?

Right, this group has around 600 members, it was created 4 years ago to raise awareness about the LGBT+ community and promote inclusion inside and outside the Bank. For us, is important to actively work on this topic educating and creating awareness, becoming allies that support inclusion, and raising the voice against any discriminatory behavior.  The way the ERG works is by putting together an agenda based on the global strategy and the goals we want to accomplish. Some of the actions developed consider: Awareness sessions for internal colleagues and open invites to external guests, activations with colleagues, discussion forums, and beneficiary sales to support different causes.

For many LGBT+ colleagues, the risks involved with coming out appears too great for them to feel truly comfortable in the office. Our aim is to demonstrate that HSBC has an inclusive and safe environment where everyone can bring their whole selves to work and contribute with their full potential towards the success of the bank and its customers. We invite our non-LGBT+ colleagues to become allies by being a strong role model and speaking out on behalf of our LGBT+ colleagues, helping them to feel safe, bring teams together, and strengthen HSBC. We also participate in some external organizations and Committees such as Pride Connection, Diversity Committee of the Asociación de Bancos de México and we have been certified by Human Rights Campaign- Equidad Mx for the last couple of years as Best Place to Work for the LGBT+ community.

Something else that would you like to add?

Diversity is in our roots. HSBC was founded more than 150 years ago to finance trade between Europe and Asia – we have always brought different people and cultures together. Diversity sits at the heart of our purpose: It is also encapsulated in our new brand promise, “Together we thrive”.

Today, we have around 229,000 employees serving 38 million customers in different countries around the world –speaking 144 languages. We believe this diversity benefits our customers, our business, and our people. We want a connected global workforce that reflects the communities where we operate and helps us meet the needs of our diverse customer base. Different ideas and perspectives help us innovate, manage risk, and grow the business in a sustainable way. Being inclusive is an expression of our values to be dependable, open, and connected, and creates an environment where people are valued, respected, and supported to achieve their potential.