An interview with Simon Fillery, Head of Inclusion at the Bank of England

What are the top 3 priorities on your D&I agenda this year?

We’re focused on creating an inclusive environment at the Bank where people can bring their whole selves to work.Over the next year, we will be investigating diversity of thought, social mobility and enhancing the well-being of our colleagues.
We want to be able to define what diversity means to us at the Bank. It’s not just about protected characteristics, but moving beyond that to leverage the diversity of thought in our organisation to make sure we are making the best decisions on behalf of the people of the UK.
With regard to social mobility, we are looking to change our education programme to work with more schools and students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. We’re coupling this with offering work experience places to students from similar backgrounds.

To enhance the well-being of our colleagues we are rolling out training to all colleagues on personal resilience.

What is one thing your organisation is doing extremely well in the D&I space which others can learn from?

We’ve set ourselves some challenging, but achievable targets to increase the diversity of our workforce. These are reviewed annually by Court (our Board). It’s important that we’re transparent about our progress against these targets and that we’re held accountable so we publish these in our annual report every year.

What started your interest in workplace equality/diversity/inclusion?

Working at a previous company, in a very different (and less fulfilling!) role, on my first day I was sat with a colleague who was very different to me. I appreciated, that as an out-gay-white-middle-class man being sat next to a devout muslim of Pakistani descent, that there may be some challenges – our backgrounds were so different. In fact, we were united by a good sense of humour and a love of life. 15 years on we are still firm friends and this was really my first experience of the power of diversity within organisations.

What do you think the key challenges in the D&I space are for UK organisations at the moment? (Are there any areas organisations in the UK are particularly weak on, and what should the headline issues for D&I professionals be right now?)

The fact that we focus on differences between people, rather than on the 95% of human experience (i.e the things that make us individuals that aren’t measured) that unite us. This is the power of inclusion. Moving beyond demographics towards an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive has to be the prize we all work for.

Tell us about the topic you will be speaking on at the conference and why you wanted to share this.
I’ll be speaking about ‘Using inclusion to improve diversity’ – building on the key challenges mentioned above, I want to explain how we are working to create a more inclusive environment at the Bank and how inclusion can improve the diversity of workforces