Amplifying and Accelerating Black Talent with HSBC

“Saying the right words is easy. Doing the right thing is harder. I want us to be judged by the concrete, sustainable actions we take to be a more diverse and inclusive bank.”  - Noel Quinn, HSBC Group Chief Executive

HSBC is one of the world’s largest and most recognisable banking and financial services organisations. With over 200,000 employees worldwide, this is a company that understands its responsibility to improve opportunities for Black and ethnic minority employees and boost the diversity of its senior leadership teams, publicly committing to at least doubling the number of Black employees in senior roles at the business by 2025.

We all know that building a truly diverse organisation - and benefitting from everything that comes with that - is more than just a box ticking exercise. Truly ambitious Diversity and Inclusion goals need expansive thinking, and accelerated programming. With just four years left to achieve their pledge, HSBC turned to UpSkill Digital as an expert delivery partner to help them turn their commitment into action by delivering an accelerated career development programme to uplift their Black heritage employees. 

UpSkill Digital knows that when it comes down to it, there are still glass ceilings for Black professionals with an appetite to progress into leadership positions. Equitable career support, shifting mindsets and building resilience would form the crucial cornerstones of a programme to cultivate these, not just with words, but with action.

At UpSkill Digital, we understand the power of stories, and the impact they can have on the sense of community and belonging integral to inclusion. In other words, this programme needed to be more than just your average webinar series. By helping to curate an interwoven programme of inspiring keynotes and fireside chats - delivered by external speakers and members of HSBC’s senior leadership team - we were able to showcase real-life stories from role-models and thought leaders with first-hand experience of progressing to top roles as members of a marginalised group.

In June 2021, UpSkill Digital and HSBC delivered The Career Amplification Programme.

“It was absolutely brilliant and necessary to hear other voices in the bank and how they are stepping towards leadership roles. I found it very helpful” - Programme Attendee

After years of systemic oppression, encouraging Black talent to have the confidence to bring their authentic selves to work would be invaluable. That’s why Authenticity as your Superpower was top of the bill. We looked at the barriers to authenticity faced by Black employees and how to overcome them in a safe and manageable way, demonstrating how they could showcase their authentic selves, and leverage this as a superpower when it came to their career progression. Over three quarters of participants felt more confident as a result, keen to implement what they’d learnt.

The Career Power Up module honed in on learners’ aspirations, and how they might begin to realise their dreams. We created downloadable interactive toolkits providing career planning frameworks and activities to help attendees make those dreams a reality.

“[The Career Power Up Session] provided great information on how to tackle your career aspirations and provided the steps that one can take to firstly identify what career they want and how to gain resources to pursue the goal of reaching that career aspiration” - Programme Attendee

Having a supportive and influential network is paramount to Black progression. Build and Influence your Network explored some of the specific challenges and opportunities faced by marginalised groups when it comes to networking in an increasingly online world. Underpinning those career goals, Supercharge your Personal Brand helped the employees to distill their personal brands and explore ways to leverage them to their advantage.

At UpSkill Digital, we know that marginalised groups often feel they must meet every leadership quality 100%, and end up spreading themselves too thin. Leveraging Your Strengths explored the four pillars of leadership, and helped attendees to focus in on what they could bring to become impressive and impactful leaders.

Finally, drawing on key learnings from the previous sessions, Career Mindset and Resilience gave participants a chance to reflect and explore ways to build a resilience toolkit in order to navigate career progression and stand up to obstacles. 

“I liked having a safe space with other Black people and hearing their experiences. I was able to have a few mindset changes and was given some tools to navigate my career progression” - Programme Attendee

This carefully curated, deep dive programme saw huge 87% of learners feeding back that they felt more confident about their career progression prospects within HSBC. UpSkill Digital were delighted to partner with HSBC and be a part of realising their important commitment to Black talent. If you want to accelerate your Diversity and Inclusion goals and take a genuine step forward for your Black and minority ethnic employees, get in touch with one of our specialist consultants today.