We recognise that a diverse and inclusive workplace provides real benefits to employees and supports stronger long-term business performance. As well as doing the right thing for its own sake, we believe DEI to be business critical. Diverse perspectives and an inclusive environment promote creativity and innovation, better decision making, adaptability, and problem solving. This helps make Federated Hermes a great place to work.
Although we have a long-standing commitment to these agendas, we acknowledge that we need to make further progress. In response, our Executive Committee (ExCo) and Board have endorsed the below DEI strategy and a three-year action plan to help us achieve our mission.
The strategy is focused on several key themes: leadership, practices, people and the environment. These themes encompass all areas of our business, enabling greater diversity and inclusion integration.
The following activities have been undertaken:
- We have established an Inclusion Committee, comprised of diverse members of staff at different levels across the firm – a representation of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010. The Committee is responsible for the inclusion agenda and holding us all, including ExCo, to account through reporting and progress updates.
- In 2021, we launched seven employee-led networks: gender, disability, mental wellness, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ+, families and returners. Each network has a minimum of three senior leadership sponsors and a number of SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound) actions they will focus on during the next 12 months.
- To understand our current culture of inclusion and any gaps, we recognise that we need to create a safe space in which the voices of our colleagues can be heard. We now seek input from our employees through a new monthly engagement survey and quarterly listening groups, the first two of which will focus on disability and menopause. Through this initiative, our colleagues will contribute to new policies and/or guidance.
- We are undertaking a mental health audit, which is centered upon the individual. Our strategy is to support and enable people to establish and maintain control over their lives. We endeavour to build a healthy workplace environment through the protection, promotion, and support of better mental health and wellbeing.
- Members of our Executive Office and Management Committee – as well as directors and associate directors from across the business – are undertaking an ‘Understanding and Modelling Inclusive Leadership’ workshop. Through this, leaders learn of the importance of inclusion, as well as their role as ‘culture carriers’ in creating inclusive environments. This is part of our strategy to ensure ALL leaders and middle managers are aware of DEI issues (including gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation), equipped with the necessary skills to achieve lasting behavioural change, and able to model inclusive leadership in their daily interactions.
- It is important that we support colleagues with disabilities by removing any barriers to their career development. We have launched a Disability Awareness Campaign, which includes a ‘lunch and learn’ from our disability partner, Business Disability Forum. We also have a Disability Awareness Working Group.
- We have launched an educational DEI communication portal, which will equip staff with a better understanding of DEI’s importance.
- At the end of 2020, Saker Nusseibeh, CEO of Federated Hermes Limited, detailed additional commitments for the firm around ethnic diversity. To read his statement please click here.
Looking beyond our own DEI practices, we advocate throughout the asset management industry, and more broadly, seeking further opportunities to improve diversity and inclusion.
We understand that our work in this area will take time, but we are committed to ensuring it is seen as a priority, every step of the way.