Inclusion at Virgin Money


At Virgin Money, inclusion is at the heart of our culture. It’s written into our values. This is because we are striving to build a workforce which reflects the diversity of our customers, helping us to better understand their needs, make more informed decisions, build stronger relationships, and tap into new ideas and innovation. As part of our inclusion strategy, we want to build a truly inclusive culture, where every colleague and customer feels they belong. This is why we have embedded inclusion within all the key drivers of cultural change including: performance; selection; values and behaviours; and development.

We are committed to delivering our inclusion strategy and are serious about the work we are doing to be recognised as an inclusive, customer focused organisation both inside and out.

The sections below detail some of the important work we are undertaking to bring our inclusion strategy to life:

We are going beyond diversity to really build an environment where every colleague can be comfortable and confident
Kate Guthrie, Group Human Resources Director

Leading inclusion at Virgin Money

Reflecting the importance of inclusion to our organisation, members of our Leadership Team are Executive Sponsors of the strategy. This means our Leadership Team are active role models, allies and advocates of our inclusion strategy, securing support from across all parts of our organisation. They also provide important visibility and support for our Colleague Network Groups for Gender, Age, Disability, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation, unlocking access across the organisation and acting as ambassadors for our Group externally.

Our Executive Sponsors and our Group HR Director also act as our steering group for inclusion. While each has their own individual areas of focus, all Leadership Team members actively support and drive inclusion at Virgin Money.

Board Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Purpose

As a Board, we are proud that inclusion is at the heart of our culture, is written into our values, and is being driven through meaningful actions across our business. We are striving to build a workforce which reflects the diversity of our customers, helping us to better understand their needs, make more rounded solutions, build stronger relationships, and tap into new ideas and innovation. As part of our inclusion strategy, we want to build a truly inclusive culture, where every colleague and customer feels they belong. This is why we are embedding inclusion within all the key drivers of cultural change including: performance; selection; development and the diversity of our Board members.

This Board Diversity and Inclusion Policy (Policy) sets out the approach to diversity and inclusion in the composition of the boards of Virgin Money UK PLC, Clydesdale Bank PLC and Virgin Money plc (Board) and covers at a high level the approach to diversity at all levels within Virgin Money which is governed by Virgin Money’s Group Inclusion Policy.

As part of our overall inclusion strategy the Board is committed to ensuring that its membership reflects diversity in the broadest sense. Recruitment of Board members considers diversity of skills, background and personal strengths to provide the range of perspectives, insights and challenge needed to have a positive impact on the quality of decision-making.

Policy Measurable Objectives

  • The Board member selection and appointment process is led by the Governance and Nomination Committee.
  • All Board appointments are made on the basis of individual competence and merit taking into account the skills, experience, independence and knowledge required measured against objective criteria set by the Governance and Nomination Committee.
  • In recruiting Board members careful consideration is also given to the broader diversity benefits each candidate can bring to overall Board composition.
  • The Governance and Nomination Committee will require that HR and / or any third-party search firm (as applicable) identifies and presents candidates meeting the objective criteria in addition to due consideration of demographics, race, age, gender, educational and professional background and other relevant personal attributes.
  • The Policy, its objectives and targets will be reviewed at least annually by the Governance and Nomination Committee and presented to the Board for approval.
  • The Policy will align where relevant to the Virgin Money Inclusion Policy applying to all colleagues and all other relevant policies and principles.
  • Progress on achieving the Policy targets and how the Policy objectives have been implemented will be reported in the Governance and Nomination Committee’s report in the Virgin Money UK PLC Annual Report and Accounts.

Targets

The Board aspires to meet the target set by the Hampton Alexander Review1 to have a minimum of 33% women’s representation on the Board.

The Board also aspires to meet the target set by the Parker Review Committee2 to have at least one director of colour by 2024 or as soon as possible after that date.

Effective Date
This Policy is effective from 1 October 2020.
Approved by the Board of Directors of Virgin Money UK PLC
30 September 2020

Note 1 – Hampton Alexander Review – FTSE Women Leaders – Improving gender balance in FTSE Leadership – November 2016
Note 2 – A Report into the Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards – Sir John Parker – The Parker Review Committee – Final Report – 12 October 2017

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

At Virgin Money men and women are paid equally for doing the same or similar jobs. The key drivers behind our pay gap is that overall we still have more men than women in senior roles and more women than men in our customer facing roles, which are often more junior.

There are a number of steps we are taking to improve our gender balance that we expect to positively impact our gender pay gap, including:

Our Leaders

  • Ensuring our leaders feel equipped to support and develop a diverse workforce through the roll out of our diversity and inclusion digital toolkit and app, designed to build powerful habits of inclusion into daily routine
  • Investing in hiring manager capability to raise the standards of recruitment and explore the impact of bias on the recruitment process

Our People

  • Invested in our talent pipeline through the launch of our Springboard programme to support female career progression
  • Continued to structure our interview process by using values-based hiring, ensuring that hiring decisions are based on alignment to company culture
  • Supported our returners through the development of a new Welcome Back programme, designed to support colleagues returning to the work-place
  • Reviewed our recruitment practises, including promoting the use of diverse shortlists and interview panels

Our Insights

  • Driven accountability by the creation of an interactive diversity dashboard to better understand the make-up of our workforce and track progress
  • Broadened engagement with our network through the utilisation of new technology to run surveys, online jams and webinars.

Our role in society

  • Continued with our commitment to build relationships with our local communities through our Ambassadors programme, running employability skills workshops
  • Continued to participate in benchmarking to understand what progress we’re making and where we need to get better

We are encouraged that the changes we are making are having an impact; we are proud that 89% of colleagues told us they can be themselves at work in the recent myVoice Employee Engagement survey.

We recognise that we need to maintain the progress we have made so far and are committed to driving action to create a more diverse and inclusive culture at the Bank at all levels for all colleagues

Gender Pay Gap Report 2019(Opens in a new window)

Gender Pay Gap Report 2020(Opens in a new window)

Our Inclusion Steering Group Members
Kate Guthrie
Kate Guthrie

Group Human Resources Director

Inclusion is integral to who we are at Virgin Money. We are going beyond diversity to really build an environment where every colleague can be comfortable, be confident and be at their best at work. We firmly believe that creating an inclusive workplace is good for us, for our colleagues and for our customers.

Our Colleague Network Groups play an important role in making sure our colleagues feel included, engaged and supported. They offer advice, support, guidance, and facilitate many events and activities to help our desire to be recognised as an inclusive bank both inside and out.

Helen Page

Group Brand & Marketing Director

Gender diversity at work is something close to my heart. I truly believe that there should be no barrier to career progression for anyone. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also known to improve corporate culture and increase profitability. More diverse businesses attract the most talented people which in turn drives better performance. Most importantly diversity creates an environment where everyone feels they can thrive. We’ve made good progress with this at Virgin Money, meeting our target to have at least 40% of Leadership and Extended Leadership Team roles held by women.

We know we can do more, so you feel supported to progress in your career, regardless of gender. That’s why I’m delighted to take on the role of Executive Sponsor for gender inclusion at Virgin Money, including sponsoring our Balance network and acting as liaison for Women in Finance.

Fraser Ingram
Fraser Ingram

Group Chief Operating Officer

“I am delighted to be the sponsor of Aspire. I started in Banking as a trainee bank officer in 1984 and have received lots of support and opportunity during my career. Developing our skills and experience helps deliver our ambition of becoming a true national competitor. People have different needs as they move through their career and being part of the Aspire network can help colleagues reach their full potential.”

James Peirson
James Peirson

Group General Counsel

Continuing our focus on supporting inclusion across our organisation, I am delighted to be the Sponsor for disability, enablement and health, working closely with our Enable Colleague Network Group, focusing on understanding more about the disability and health issues experienced by colleagues and customers, and driving initiatives to help make Virgin Money an inclusive bank for all.

Enable provides support and advice for colleagues and their families contending with, or affected by, a range of disabilities or ill health. Our ultimate goal is to make our organisation one where doing business is easy and straightforward for everyone.

Enda Johnson
Lucy Dimes

Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer

‘I am proud to have been appointed the Executive Sponsor responsible for the promotion of diversity and inclusion of ethnic minority colleagues, customers and communities. Working hand in hand with the Embrace Network, we seek to raise awareness of cultural and religious differences.

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to drive the inclusion agenda forward and will lead by example, by empowering our colleagues to be themselves at work and know that they belong. Together we can create an environment where everyone can thrive, regardless of where we’re from or what we believe.

Enda Johnson
Alison Kidd

Head of Reward & Employee Relations

Military Service touches a surprisingly large number of people – one in five families, including mine - across the United Kingdom. I am therefore incredibly proud to sponsor our Vets@Virgin colleague network. As a Gold Member of the Government’s Employer Recognition scheme, we aim to provide support and awareness to Armed Forces veterans as they return to civilian life as well as supporting the families of those who have served or are currently serving. Through our work with forces friendly businesses, charities, rehabilitation centres and homeless sanctuaries, we aspire to be an employer of choice and inspire others to encourage, support and champion our network and get involved to make a difference in the lives of those who sacrifice so much.

Fergus Murphy
Fergus Murphy

Group Personal Director

As the proud sponsor of our Vibrant (LGBT) Colleague Network Group, I am a firm believer that everyone should have the same opportunities, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, faith or disability. With the Vibrant Network, I help to drive sponsorship and support projects and initiatives across the organisation and be an ambassador for the Bank, helping to build our reputation and learn from the outside.

Including everyone at Virgin Money

At Virgin Money, our focus is creating an inclusive culture because we firmly believe this approach is reflective of our customers and of society as a whole. We are working to create an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves, to ask questions and be curious. This is why we have built inclusion into our values and behaviours. We want colleagues to feel empowered, use their initiative, solve problems and contribute to our organisation. Importantly, we need people to feel able to bring their whole self to work. We encourage all colleagues to join our Colleague Network Groups for Gender, Age, Disability, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation as they provide the opportunity for colleagues to support, include, connect and share.

Further training

In addition to our Colleague Network Groups, we provide everyone with the opportunity to complete unconscious bias training – a safe environment in which individuals can identify their own unconscious bias and explore ways to overcome it.

Our attraction and selection approach has been completely re-designd to ensure alignment with our Purpose and values and behaviours, of which inclusion is a core part.

Our Colleague Network Group members undertake important activities, helping to:

  • encourage new members to join in order to raise energy and awareness of inclusion both internally and externally;
  • support our Customer Journey Programme, to ensure we meets the needs of all our customers;
  • create more opportunities for development, helping to shape our group;
  • support individuals who require guidance; and
  • raise money for local charities.

Our commitments to inclusion

We are committed to delivering our inclusion strategy to make us a more inclusive business with a supportive culture and positive working environment. As part of our commitment, we are working with external partners who provide us with advice and support in the following areas.

Future Priorities

But we won’t stop there as we know that diversity doesn’t begin and end with signing a pledge. We will continue to drive our inclusion strategy and have already committed to:

  • Continuously reviewing our policies to ensure we are creating an inclusive culture and making flexible working easier
  • Further reviewing our recruitment processes to ensure we are attracting, recruiting and meeting a diverse range of candidates
  • Reviewing all key stages in a women’s career journey to ensure that their career paths are not disadvantaged
  • Continuing with our commitment to build relationships with our local communities and schools to deliver our STEM programme, with an aim of encouraging more females at an early age to take an interest in STEM career paths.
  • Continuing to take the insight and feedback from our focus groups to deliver the broader structural changes required to deliver our strategy

We know that there is still more work to be done to ensure that Virgin Money is a diverse and inclusive organisation, and while we continue to work to increase our female representation, we inevitably expect to see our gender pay gap reducing.