ONE of the UK’s leading authorities on inclusivity in the workplace has visited the Cumberland Building Society. 

Dr Grace Lordan, an associate professor in behavioural science at the London School of Economics, led research for Women in Banking and Finance, which the Cumberland helped to fund from the outset.

Many of her findings were incorporated in Belonging, the Society’s new diversity and inclusion strategy. 

Introducing her, Cumberland chief executive Des Moore said inclusivity was a priority for the Society while chief people officer Jill Johnston said the intention was to make the Cumberland a place “where people bring their best selves”.

Dr Lordan said: "Where you don’t have the opportunity, visibility, and voice you have group think where some people are ignored and few people are listened to.

"In meetings, the same people are always speaking. You want diversity because different cognitive perspectives lead to a better outcome.

The Cumberland says that their Belonging strategy aims to ensure everyone – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, or neurodiversity – feels they have an opportunity to progress, that their voice is heard, their opinion matters, they can speak up freely and feel valued.

Fifty Cumberland colleagues attended Dr Lordan’s talk, at the society’s head office in Carlisle, and took part in a Q&A session.

Dr Lordan’s work sets out what needs to happen for women to have a better experience in the workplace.

The Cumberland says that they have made 'great strides' in this area, improving its maternity benefits and providing support for women going through menopause.

As recently as 2018, only 19 percent of its senior leadership and board roles were held by women. Today the proportion is 50 per cent, an achievement the Society celebrated to mark International Women’s Day earlier this month.

The Cumberland was highly commended for its approach to wellbeing at the British HR Awards and similarly praised in the annual Best Companies survey.