How to hire inclusively without a 'tick-box' approach


How does a large, multi-national fintech company create a culture where diversity, equality and inclusion is part of the DNA?

Communication and the buy-in of senior management are key to this, according to Renee Friedman, editor-in-chief of Exante. "Quite simply, if senior management does not buy into DE&I and listen to employees, the organisation will fail in the long term."

"We are an international organisation", Friedman said. "And we are a wealth tech - finance and technology - which are fields in which women traditionally have been underrepresented."

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But half of Exante's C-suite are women, and a high percentage of its IT staff are women. "We act as an example that this can be done and should be done - to bring people into fields that they may not have otherwise thought of entering.

"This is what helps with sustainability of the company - and will help with any company's sustainability. Society is changing and companies need to listen to this and be open to change."

Exante, which won the FTAdviser Diversity in Finance Award for Best Marketing and Recruitment Campaign in July this year, has been focusing on recruiting and training people from different backgrounds, cultures, religions and languages.

However, the company said it was also important to require all employees respect that diversity, and again this comes down to communication, listening and respect.

Talking to FTAdviser, Friedman said: "We incorporate DE&I into our core values and expect employees to respect those core values and respect each other. 

"Our recruitment is an active, ongoing process - part of our DNA. It's not a tick-box approach. It has to be strategic and think about who its clients and markets are."

Speaking from experience, Simona Stankovska, global head of PR, said: "I fall into a lot of the 'diversity' categories. My family are from Eastern Europe; I have a disability; I am a woman in financial services. 

"So from the moment I joined, I wanted to help drive Exante's campaign."

According to Stankovska, while Exante is "passionate" about mentoring and hiring more inclusively, this is something any firm can do - large or small.

She said: "It is about making small steps that can make lasting change. 

"So the first step for me was to understand exactly what each employee was doing in the company, why they joined and what was important to them. We discovered how important mentoring was to many of them, so we started to implement this. 

"We have taken the time to build from the foundations, understand what employees need, and use this to recruit further. We can't recruit unless we know what people are looking for in a company."

To this extent, she said Exante has been developing greater flexibility around remote working, making it easier for people to work around childcare duties and appointments, and improving health insurance benefits as recruitment incentives.