1. Guiding Philosophy
At OakNorth, we believe in promoting a diverse workplace in which different backgrounds, voices and perspectives foster a stronger collective. We further consider inclusion, acceptance and respect as vital factors in maintaining and growing diversity. This means that with respect to external efforts we are proactive and open minded when it comes to recruitment and don’t narrowly consider talent pools. Internally we encourage collaboration, decision-making, and advancement by all members, equally, across our employee population.
In terms of thinking about and achieving diversity and diversity targets, it’s important to do so through the lens of what makes our company successful and a compelling place to work. At OakNorth our central corporate aim is the achievement of excellence through superior performance. We expect meeting and exceeding diversity targets will play a significant role in fulfillment of this goal. We further believe a diverse culture promotes differentiated thinking and enables us to challenge the status quo and confront and question cultural norms as well as basic assumptions about operating standards and conduct. Our OakNorth value system further emphasises debate, creation/reinvention, and outperformance. We are always striving to exceed our own benchmarks for success and asking ourselves if a different approach or method will lead to better outcomes. We think our corporate vision, culture of embracing change, and varied staff composition reinforces our diversity goals and serves to entice a broadly diverse applicant pool.
We aim to attract people who possess the right competencies and talents, irrespective of individual differences, and those who will contribute to a high performing organisation. We do not impose any cultural, geographical or organizational barriers in setting or achieving our recruitment goals. Whilst all job applicants and employees are provided equal consideration and assessed solely on merit, we create as broad a talent pool as possible through our recruitment efforts, focusing not on a small slice or subsection of the population, but on a wide applicant base cultivated by seeking talent and not type. At OakNorth this might mean hiring fewer ‘bankers’ and more individuals with essential core skills who possess innovative ways of thinking. We strive to be a differentiated lender in the market vs. more of the same and recognise that diversity will inform how we progress as an institution. This is our belief system and ingrained in our DNA. With time, we believe the Bank will only strengthen in proportion to the diversity of our staff.
At OakNorth we have many nationalities represented at all layers within the organisation. When it comes to promoting diversity internally, we provide equal opportunities in training and promotion to all staff. Promotions are based on merit, and assessed through an annual performance and development review process. Training and opportunities for advancement are open to all employees regardless of their protected characteristics. We are further committed to supporting all our employees and offer them equal opportunities both throughout the recruitment process and during their employment. We strongly believe in nurturing our staff and promoting from within. Our flat organisational structure ensures all employees are given equal opportunity, assessed solely on merit and via their contributions to OakNorth’s success. As we strive to build a dynamic culture of innovation and customer centricity, diversity in thought, age, gender, personality, education, and background are important levers for us.
To further promote our diversity goals, we aim to have a balanced age distribution represented by our staff. Regarding both age groups and years of service, we believe that generational diversity adds intellectual capital and facilitates innovation within the organisation. We therefore consider job applications from people of all ages and place no age limit on any relevant career opportunities at OakNorth.
Another key focus area is the promotion of a balanced gender composition across all managerial positions and at all levels in the organisation. Whilst we recognise a dearth of opportunities for women in the financial sector on a macro level, we’re determined to do all we can to promote women and their career potential at OakNorth. It’s also our aim to increase the female representation at the Board and senior management level. Towards this end, we have set individual targets for the share of women representation in the management body.
These targets are set for 3 years at a time and reflect our ambitions to have a more balanced gender composition in the organisation. In pursuit of this goal we will endeavour to emphasise diversity, including gender composition, as an important selection criterion in the recruitment process of our management body and Non-Executive Director appointments. It is also part of our policy to communicate these principles to external recruitment agencies if they form part of our recruitment strategy for a given post. Gender composition is also considered when preparing a pipeline of successors for any key positions.
We understand the criticality of a diverse board for organisational success and believe that board room discussions and debate informed by a variety of perspectives is vital to growth. We strive to build a more diverse board wherein the Directors collectively have the knowledge, professional competencies and experience necessary to lead and safeguard the organisation.
At OakNorth, we not only comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, we aim to go further.
2. Summary Assessment and Diversity Targets
With respect to age, gender and general diversity targets, OakNorth’s current Board and senior management composition, made up of a mix of ages, genders and ethnicities, represents a healthy cross section of thought, background and experiences.
We believe our present diversity of Board and senior management members enables us to govern with perspective, challenge, and collaborative decision making. At present, with targets of 10% for our Board [supervisory body] and 25% for our ExCo [management body], we satisfy the diversity requirements set out in the FCA Handbook and operate in line with the diversity guidelines established by the EBA Report on the Benchmarking of Diversity Practices.
At the relevant juncture, in 2020, we will re-examine our diversity targets, issuing new goals as appropriate for the organisation and its effective governance. However, as an organisation, we will always endeavour to look for opportunities to exceed these targets, increasing the diversity of our staff whenever we can.
As per Article 88 of CRD, we will publish this policy on our website, and annually update our progress against targets.