What I've learned about being disability smart

Part of being a great place to work is being an organisation that supports inclusivity and diversity. We’re extremely proud that there’s such a wide range of experiences, backgrounds, beliefs and abilities across the bank. It means that we’re better able to understand the needs of our similarly wide range of customers, and to therefore be able to better serve them.

For International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we caught up with our Chief Marketing Officer David Wheldon. David is the bank's Executive Sponsor for Disability, it’s something he’s very passionate about and he spoke to us about some of the highlights of his time in the role so far.

Making progress

"It's been an interesting and educational year since taking on the role as Executive Sponsor for Disability in August 2018. I've met with a number of colleagues across the bank who are all committed to improving our disability performance, and I've seen the progress we're making first hand.

"I've had the opportunity to have Microsoft show me the exciting accessibility features they’ve built into the new Office 365 package. These enable us to automatically create accessible content which is clear and understandable to all, including those colleagues with impairments. For me, it shows how building great products and services with the aim of supporting people with specific needs can benefit everyone. I want us to have this mind set when we’re designing our products and services for our customers and colleagues alike, and to always think accessibility.

Working in partnership

"I was delighted to meet with Phil Friend, OBE, at the Business Disability Forum Presidents Forum. At the bank we have a strong partnership with the Forum, which brings together organisations to discuss and further disability performance across the UK. Phil is kind enough to run our Disability Career Development Course, which is highly popular with colleagues.

"As part of the Forum’s work with us, Phil has recorded two exclusive podcasts, one for line managers and another for colleagues with impairments. Phil has a unique style and personality and these 20 minute podcasts deliver some very useful information. I’m always encouraging colleagues to listen to them, they really are invaluable.

"Additionally, everyone at the bank has access to a free copy of Phil’s eBook, Why are you pretending to be normal?, which is full of great guidance, hints and tips around disability. I’m particularly keen that we share awareness and guidance around disability beyond the bank, so that we can see positive changes across business and society more generally.

Making a commitment

"Lastly, I'm very pleased that we’ve committed to being part of The Valuable 500. This global call to action strives to place disability inclusion at the heart of business strategy with consistent attention at board level. As well as continuing our work to further our own disability performance, we’ve committed to support change across the wider business community. With our gold rating in the Business Disability Standard and our Leader status in the UK Government Disability Confident Scheme, I feel we’ve learned enough to be able to support others on their disability journey.

"While we’re doing many things to help make things better for people with disabilities, I do realise we still have much more to do to effect real and lasting change. I'm looking forward to keeping working with everyone here to do that."

For more information on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and how you can get involved, visit the United Nations site below

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