With just under a month until Manchester Pride 2012 kicks off, we caught up with one of our sponsors to see how they prepare for Pride, and to also hear about the work they do throughout the year.
Emma Halliday, Global Co-Chair of The Royal Bank of Scotland’s LGBT network, Rainbow, answered a few questions on the work they do throughout the year, and we also caught up with Joshua Goodwin who is leading RBS’ Rainbow Network in their biggest Pride to date this year.
MP: Emma, for those who haven’t heard, tell us about the Rainbow network, its reach, membership and purpose?
EH: The Rainbow Network is an internal employee network, set up and run by employees. It was set up in 2005 and has since grown to 1,400 members globally. We have 3 key aims, 1 is to support our members, 2 is to provide networking opportunities, 3 is to help RBS become a better place to work.
We work with Group HR (Diversity and Inclusion) and our members to help raise awareness of LGBT issues, and provide a formal and informal support structure. We work with other banks to exchange best practice and other employee networks (internal and external) to organise events to help our members to network.
MP: For LGBT candidates considering a career move, what makes the RBS Rainbow network so special?
EH: The RBS Rainbow Network is the largest in the Financial Services Industry. We have grown substantially over the past few years, and are making more and more of an impact on RBS. We are starting to work more effectively with our HR colleagues to improve the employees’ proposition and help us to make RBS a better place for LGBT.
MP: Tell us a bit about your experience as a member of the Network? (How has it changed since you joined)
EH: I joined as a member in 2008, when I moved from my previous employer. I didn't get too involved in the network, until one day I saw a request for the UK Open Forum for members to attend to help move the network forward, I thought that if I don't go along and get involved, how can I sit at my desk and think that the network doesn't work for me. I met Pascal (one of the founders of the RN) and a few others at that meeting, and found myself volunteering and getting involved! The network has grown considerably in membership since I have joined, from around 400 to 14,00, but the key issue is still finding enough members to get involved. We all have day jobs on top of our RN work, and need more of us to help move things forward. In the past 18 months I would say that the network is starting to take off with more focus from RBS group around moving things forward, and paying more attention to taking diversity to the next level.
MP: How can the finance industry promote diversity further?
EH: All diversity in financial services could be improved, I think this will happen over time, we need to improve awareness of 'unconscious bias' what is it in the work environment that stops people being themselves at work. Is our culture as inclusive as it could be, do we allow behaviour that makes some of our staff feel uncomfortable? I think we need to keep building on increasing awareness at all levels and making sure people can bring their whole selves to work.
Finally we caught up with Josh, who as well as being the RBS Rainbow Network’s Global Treasurer, is also leading the Network’s Pride activity this year. He told us how their involvement has grown since they first drove the Parade route seven years ago, to winning Best Commercial Float last year.
MP: What’s happening with the Rainbow Network in Manchester right now?
JG: Well, we hold regular events around Manchester that bring together our colleagues from a wealth of different business areas in the Group. We promote a professional networking agenda and work closely with other banks through a regional Interbank network to help our members build their professional networks and form new friendships. Last year was great with the Best Of British theme, but I really think our Periodic Table take on Queer’d Science is going to get the streets of Manchester moving this year!
For any more info on the work the Network do, take a look at their page jobs.rbs.com/pride2012