Our colleagues are key to our long-term success. Their continued dedication and hard work is what gives PFG its unique character and culture, which enables us to deliver the best service to our customers. Providing an encouraging, supportive and inclusive workplace culture is therefore vital to the happiness of our colleagues and the sustainability of our business.
Improving female representation at senior management and director level is extremely important for the long-term sustainability of PFG.
The PFG inclusion and diversity strategy is about creating and maintaining a fair, diverse, and inclusive culture for our colleagues and other stakeholders. A key focus of this strategy is about achieving a better gender balance in our senior management population.
PFG signed up to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, a government initiative to improve gender diversity in senior positions within the financial services sector, in March 2019.
On becoming a Charter signatory, we had 30% female representation in our senior management population. We set ourselves a target to have 33% or more female representation in the Group’s senior management population by December 2020 and 40% female representation in the Group’s senior management population by December 2024.
Although we missed our 33% target by December 2020, we are pleased to report that as at 01 April 2022 we are now tracking at 33%. This includes taking our Group Executive Committee gender mix to 33% female once the pending appointment of the MD of Cards later in April 2022 has been made.
To help us progress towards our December 2024 target of having 40% female representation in the Group’s senior management population, we have continued to focus on key initiatives to strengthen our talent pipeline and deliver better balance.
The PFG inclusion and diversity strategy centres on creating and maintaining a fair, diverse and inclusive culture for our colleagues and other stakeholders. A key focus of this strategy is about achieving a better gender balance in our senior management population. Improving female representation at senior management and director level is extremely important for the long-term sustainability of PFG.
Listed below are some of the actions PFG has put in place to support achieving a better gender balance in our senior management:
Commitment: PFG signed up to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, a government initiative to improve gender diversity in senior positions within the financial services sector, in March 2019.
Targets: On becoming a Charter signatory, we set ourselves a target to have 33% or more female representation in the Group’s senior management population by December 2020 and 40% female representation in the Group’s senior management population by December 2024.
Education: Delivering unconscious bias training to a range of senior leaders and managers which focuses on ensuring that there is no bias in our colleague processes. We also launched a new piece of compulsory e-learning across our entire Group which aimed to underline our commitment to, and change behaviour/mindsets around, equality, diversity and inclusion.
Raising awareness: Through the ‘Be Yourself’ programme we have facilitated panel discussions and delivered regular vlogs and events to profile events such as International Women’s Day and National Inclusion Week.
Balanced shortlists: Ensuring that we strive for gender balanced shortlists as part of our recruitment approach for all senior leadership roles across PFG. We work in partnership with the recruitment agencies we use to ensure they are clear on our expectations regarding our inclusion and diversity commitments. Robust challenge on shortlists has led to the recent appointments of Carley Eaton (Group Audit Director)., and Fiona Anderson (MD, Cards)
Job adverts: Updating and aligning all Equal Opportunities wording provided on job application processes, so that it encourages more females to apply for roles at all levels and in all disciplines across the Group.
Strengthening our talent pipeline: Delivery of our Next Generation Women’s Leadership Programme to high potential women from across PFG to help strengthen the female talent pipeline at the senior/middle management level. This supported the appointment of Jo Simms as CRO, Vehicle Finance. In 2022. We will build on this Programme and start to deliver an inclusive leadership programme to PFG’s wider management population to cement equality, diversity, and inclusion as a central pillar of their professional lives and PFG’s long-term success.
Flexibility: Supporting our colleagues during the pandemic, enabling them to work flexibly and ensuring they have the support they need. This has included issuing regularly updated guidance on matters including remote and flexible working, and looking after colleagues physical and mental wellbeing. We are also introducing a Hybrid Working model that will mean greater flexibility for all colleagues and also provide a wider talent pool with fewer geographical barriers.
Inclusion Network: Establishing a gender affinity group as part of our group-wide inclusion community which is sponsored by two executives. This group, along with other groups linked to Disability, Ethnicity and LGBTQIA, will support the delivery of a calendar of regular communications/events to raise awareness and promote inclusion and diversity across PFG.
Policies: We have continued to work to review and update our HR policies and processes that enable the Group to consistently support the work to improve our gender diversity performance.
Peer Circles: We introduced Peer Circles (run exclusively by colleagues) to encourage peer support for a range of issues. Some examples of the issues that have been covered in the session that have been delivered to date, which specifically support females, include; pregnancy, interview techniques, performance reviews and menopause support.
We have continued to work to review and update our HR policies and processes that are enabling the Group’s businesses to consistently support the work to improve our gender diversity performance.
We're committed to supporting diversity and creating an open and inclusive culture where everyone feels valued. We also recognise that PFG has a role to play in closing the gender pay gap across the financial services sector. You can read more about Gender Diversity at PFG here.
Our ambition is to create a truly diverse workforce, one that reflects the broad diversity of our local communities and the customers we serve. That diversity comes through having a culture of inclusion and providing equal opportunity.”
Inclusion and Diversity Executive Sponsor
Reporting on pay gaps helps organisations like ours to better understand the size and causes of pay gaps and identify any issues that might need to be addressed.
Training and development
Making sure our colleagues undertake continued professional development (CPD) is an important contributor to the viability of our business. We place strong emphasis on supporting our customer-facing colleagues by equipping them with a broad range of skills so they’re well placed to support all customers, especially those in vulnerable situations.
Health and safety
We are committed to protecting our colleagues and self-employed agents in the ROI, as well as contractors, suppliers and customers. We do this through our PFG Health and Safety policies, which enable us to comply with national health and safety legislation.
Our operating divisions also have additional policies on a range of health, safety and wellbeing issues that reflect factors unique to their businesses. To help colleagues work safely at all times, these policies are available to colleagues through their local intranet sites, colleague handbooks, induction programmes and mandatory training. Across PFG, we offer programmes to support colleagues’ physical and mental health. These range from discounted gym memberships to free counselling and nutritional wellbeing courses.
Supporting colleague mental health and wellbeing
At PFG, we recognise the importance of supporting colleagues' mental health and wellbeing. Now, more than ever, mental well-being is a key contributor to our colleagues’ health and safety, their social wellbeing and their ability to fulfil their potential at work.
By promoting the importance of and arranging targeted activities around maintaining good mental health, we are working to protect our colleagues while fostering an internal culture of resilience and openness.
In our latest Group-wide colleague engagement survey, 67% of colleagues said PFG does enough to support their health and wellbeing at work.
Throughout 2021, our network of Mental Health First Aiders ran mental wellbeing awareness campaigns that lined up with external activity, giving us an opportunity to highlight specific mental health issues and signpost the relevant support available to all colleagues.
In partnership with the Bank Workers Charity, we delivered a series of webinars exploring key topics around improving and maintaining mental wellbeing. These live sessions are open to all colleagues and are also recorded for subsequent viewing. Topics included:
- Positive Mental Health in the Workplace;
- Building Resilience;
- Returning to the Workplace; and
- Loneliness and Isolation.
Employee Assistance Programme
All PFG colleagues and their families have access to free confidential mental health and wellbeing support, available 24/7 through our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
EAP features include:
- a dedicated helpline with calls answered by experienced in-house counsellors, and legal and financial specialists; and
- a smartphone app and personalised online wellbeing content, including videos, webinars, mini health checks and health coaching.
We're currently piloting a wellbeing initiative specifically designed to support frontline colleagues, and our aim is to continue developing and delivering a broad range of mental wellbeing tools and resources in 2022 and beyond to support colleagues and their managers.
Working for a company that supports mental health is great. If your team isn’t mentally fit to do the job, then they can’t deliver 100%. I’m proud that PFG has approached the mental health aspect of work.”
Mental Health First Aider