Vinay Kapoor

UK Head of Diversity and Inclusion, BNP Paribas
Multi-national, multi-cultural diversity
Diversity is being invited to the party, but inclusion is getting everyone to dance.
Vinay Kapoor

Vinay has seen a marked shift in the diversity conversation over the last few years, with increased awareness that it is actually about good leadership. In larger organisations, removing the systemic institutionalised bias is a long journey that will span over several employee generations.

During the flagship BNP Paribas diversity week, held each October, there were 70 events in the UK alone, held in 13 offices with 3,000 staff voluntarily attending one or more event.

Each year Vinay has observed a real culture shift, but this is only one small element that needs addressing.

The other major focus is on what is happening in the business every day, from changing the recruitment processes to embedding diversity and inclusion into leadership development, to mandatory management training programmes.

Because collaboration is key, suppliers are also made aware of the diversity and inclusion strategy and the BNP culture, so that values can be aligned.

These approaches will help ensure that diversity becomes business as usual. The diversity and inclusion council at BNP is populated by people from across the business and meets quarterly. It is seen as a business issue and as a consequence clear targets have been set for nationality, gender and LGBT.

The target for gender - 25% of senior management positions to be held by women - was reached in 2014.

Vinay has observed that nationality is not often acknowledged as a bias, but plays a significant role in many organisations. The nationality of employees should be representative of the communities they operate in and reflect the client base they serve.

If, however, cultural bias leads to someone’s nationality being equated to a higher level of competency, then the talent pool will be greatly reduced. Education is key to overcoming this and unconscious bias training with a nationality focus, as opposed to ethnicity, is core to the bank.

To seek out future talent, there is a three-year diversity and inclusion education pathway, dependent on level, which reaches deep into the organisation.

There are also clear targets in the talent programmes for gender and nationality. Diversity and inclusion is also embedded in the appraisal systems at BNP with key performance indicators assessing inclusive and collaborative behaviour.

Just as there is a need to embrace new technology, there is a need to view talent differently to ensure the bank continues to survive and thrive.

Vinay’s advice

  • Don’t wait – bigger businesses have failed as they have failed to adapt
  • Be brave and be fearless – no one has this sorted 100% - and no one will win the race!
  • Reach out and be collaborative – we can all learn from one another

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