Why reacing further?
Our aim is to use the power of transformational connections to enable both personal and business development. By bringing and sharing insight, providing access to role models and encouraging a one bank approach, we are supporting senior women to thrive and creating the conditions for sustainable growth.
What is it?
Reaching Further is an initiative involving about 100 senior women with influence from across the bank, each nominated by their business area. Reaching Further has already begun to leverage the banks resources, tackle mutual challenges, and take action to better serve our customers and communities and grow the business. Reaching Further is specifically targeted at senior women who have influence for the simple reason that to go further in achieving greater diversity balance internally, and rising female economic empowerment externally, we need to be targeted.
We firmly believe that we can support the female economy, through the power of transformational connections. Bringing senior women with influence together we can create the platform to enable them to collaborate to make a difference. Not only does this support and motivate us collectively, it drives business development and better still, more creative decision making.
There are many brilliant initiatives and employee-led networks already in NatWest for learning, development and connecting, and we are privileged to work for an organisation with phenomenal women in many leadership roles, from CEO and CFO downwards.
So why create Reaching Further?
We all know there is a material opportunity for banks to drive long-term organisational performance by increasing both the attraction and retention of women and providing more opportunities for those women to progress into senior roles. McKinsey’s research on diversity showed that companies with more diverse gender, culture and ethnicity outperform companies that don’t support diversity.
The research found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity experience out perform by 21%.
For ethnic and cultural diversity, there was a 33% likelihood of out performance.
Whilst we can see improvements in tackling gender balance, there is some way to go to genuinely empower the female economy. The opportunity is clear from two recent research reports.
The Women in Financial Services 2020 report by Oliver Wyman outlined a potential missed revenue opportunity amounting to $700 billion from better serving women as customers. The 2019 Rose Review identified a £250 billion opportunity for the UK economy if women started and scaled up businesses at the same rate as men. With targeted interventions focused on both outcomes of personal and business development, we genuinely believe that Reaching Further not only can and does have an incredible impact on the women that it supports, but will also help drive sustainable business development. It stretches thinking, sparks imaginations and creates something quite different.
Our plan is built around three pillars
Building transformational connections
Encouraging connectivity between businesses and teams to collaborate on delivering a business agenda that supports our growth and the female economy. These include improving the awareness of existing initiatives and the exchange of information, such as broadening our understanding of our customer segments with the purpose of better serving our customers on their own journeys.
• encourage mentoring opportunities
• informal sponsorship
• progression and career mobility across the bank.
Bringing inspiration to accelerate the movement
We fuel this group’s hearts and minds with fresh insights and perspectives that keep us close to the bank’s priorities while challenging us on what we can do, individually and collectively, to support the plan. We maximise opportunities through our partners, thought leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as from within our group.
• to bring in new insights and encourage those internally to share their own stories
• inspiring us to take bold action to further improve diversity of thought, knowledge sharing and innovation
• encouraging new ways of learning and reflection, which has proved even more important with current circumstances.
Creating and collaborating around opportunities, which we think is what distinguishes this from other networks – it’s a group with a clear business purpose.
An outcome we have prioritised for 2020 and will in 2021, is connecting to develop business opportunities for the NatWest Group. Our purpose, as a bank, is to champion potential and help people, families and businesses to thrive and this group of senior and influential business leaders can really make a difference – something as simple as building better connections can have a huge impact on the service we can offer to our customers.
Transformational connections and insights focussed on client outcomes will maximise our collective impact, customer-centric agenda and reputation.
THE QUESTION WE ASK OURSELVES IS WHAT NEXT – WHERE ARE OUR ASPIRATIONS FOR 2021 AND BEYOND?
1 Cross-pollinate expertise and experience across the business
We have helped develop meaningful connections across NatWest, allowing us to truly operate with a one bank mind-set. During 2021, we plan to build on these strong foundations and leverage them to deliver sustainable business development. By working better together and empowering each other, we can be more creative, efficient and find new opportunities to succeed for our customers and colleagues. As a result, this group of connected, energetic and influential business women will champion potential and help people, families and businesses to thrive.
2 Leader creation and role modelling
The business case for diversity and inclusion is clear. We need more purpose-driven, vulnerable and empathetic leaders. We have a material role to play in encouraging diversity of thought, through challenge and provocation, and as role models, paying it forward to inspire and support future leaders, who likely look different to the leaders of today. In the PWC pay gap reporting, 95% of companies surveyed had not analysed their ethnicity pay gap and perhaps more striking… 75% did not have the data to do this. While Reaching Further initially focused on gender diversity, through this platform we have the opportunity and responsibility to promote and tackle ethnic and cultural diversity.
3 Creating the future and managing the present
We have learnt an enormous amount about ourselves and how we operate as a result of the pandemic. Megatrends and megathemes have been exacerbated and exposed and we are living in a re-purposed society where individuals have re-assessed values and the relationships they have with their firms. As these themes strengthen and behaviours change, we recognise the urgent need to industrialise new ways of working, adapt how we lead our teams and re-assess customers values, in order to be fit for a different future that is emerging.
There is a huge area of exploration and opportunity – the untapped talent, perspectives and role models needed to build the future of tomorrow.
Sources: Women in Financial Services Report 2020, Oliver Wyman, 2020
Delivering Through Diversity, McKinsey 2018
The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, 2019