Home » Inclusivity in the Workplace » An effective DEI strategy that includes all employees — and the community

Temi Awofala

Interim Head of Diversity & Inclusion, BNP Paribas UK

Ama Ocansey

Head of Diversity & Inclusion, BNP Paribas UK

Temi Awofala, Interim UK Head D&I (Summer 2023)and Ama Ocansey UK Head of D&I at French bank BNP Paribas (BNPP), discuss the organisation’s approach to DEI and some of its achievements to date.

What DEI strategies do you follow?

Our DEI efforts are focused on gender, LGBTQ+, disability and race and ethnicity. Each element has a set of initiatives with targets and build programmes to support our people and our goals. The DEI team provides thought leadership, visionary guidance and strategic direction.

What are your main DEI achievements?

Ensuring employees of different backgrounds feel a sense of connection, belonging and shared purpose is essential. Key achievements include: over 155 colleagues have attended our successful female career development programme; hosting inclusion days; annual celebration of Black History Month; creating a Gender Transition guide and allyship guide; being accredited a Level 2 Disability Confident Employer; enhancing the collective voice and visibility of our employee networks.

What are the benefits of greater diversity in the workplace?

Studies consistently show that diverse teams make better decisions and connect more easily to clients drawn from across society. That’s the hard commercial rationale but, of course, fostering a culture of acceptance and inclusion simply makes the workplace a better place to be.

Studies consistently show that diverse teams
make better decisions and connect more
easily to clients drawn from across society.

How do you see the interaction between DEI and sustainable investing?

Sustainability is core to our strategy globally, and there is an important intersection between the open, innovative and inclusive approach necessary for successful DEI and the tools needed to rebuild finance for the future.

Hybrid or flexible working is the obvious one; enabling people to work from home at least some of the time opens the door for colleagues who might have struggled with a daily commute in the past. There are challenges; it can be more difficult to manage teams, but overall, it is proving to be a huge DEI boost.

What role can banking play in building greater diversity?

BNP Paribas has a long history of working closely with communities to support their economic, social and cultural development. We do this through several initiatives promoting financial and social inclusion, serving vulnerable clients, supporting microfinance institutions and partnering with organisations to tackle critical social issues.

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