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NAB - Corporate Success Story: In the Spirit of Inclusion and Diversity

2 November 2020

A closer look at collaboration, goal setting and working towards achieving equality.

Did you know that NAB is one of our longest-standing corporate members? Nine years and counting, and the reason is simple — NAB wholeheartedly believes in inclusion, diversity and women’s empowerment within their organisation and across the communities they serve.

We had the privilege of speaking with Kirsty Freeman, a Senior Consultant in NAB’s People and Culture team, who gave us an insight into the manifold benefits of their corporate membership from building their talent pipeline, to growing their community and networks, to becoming leaders for corporate social responsibility. 

Nine years and counting — that’s how long NAB has collaborated with WOB as one of our longest-standing corporate members, a relationship that is unified by a wholehearted belief in inclusion, diversity and women’s empowerment within the organisation and the communities they serve. This is reflected in NAB’s executive teams, right through to their local branches and the relationships their staff build with their equally diverse customers. It’s also clearly evident in the representation of its board members.

Where it all started

The partnership began in 2011 as part of the NAB Board Ready Program, where a key selection of senior leaders built a talent pipeline for NAB’s subsidiary boards. “Since then, our association has enabled all colleagues to broaden their knowledge to grow both personally and professionally,” Kirsty explained. “Many of the women who have participated in the WOB offerings have relationships with boards or committees, be it their family business or local community committee, and currently there are five WOB participants who are sitting on a NAB Group Subsidiary Board.” 

Reflecting on when NAB first partnered with WOB, Kirsty said diversity and a focus on building female representation in the community was somewhat new. “We were the leaders and I’m proud to say our representation of females on NAB’s Board has grown extensively since that time.” In fact, female board composition at NAB was at 15% in 2011, 25% in 2017 and now is at 40%, as shared by NAB annual reports.

Initially starting out as a young temp for NAB some 20 years ago, Kirsty confessed that one of the reasons she has stayed with the organisation for as long as she has is because of NAB’s commitment to serving the wider community. “My role is to support the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy by enabling career opportunity and growth, and our work with WOB has certainly helped with this, particularly building a network, which we know is critical to growing your career.”
NAB’s goals and success

By 2025, it is NAB’s goal to have a 40:60 gender representation at each salary level, of non-executive NAB Board positions and across the NAB Group Subsidiary Boards. “In my role, I’m lucky to be able to play a small part in achieving this,” Kirsty shared.

As of 2019, women made up 33% of NAB’s executive management, 39% of directors on NAB’s Group Subsidiary Boards and 51% of the workforce as cited on their website. As way of acknowledgement for their commitment to gender equality, NAB was awarded the 2018-2019 Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation and was included in the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

Hiring women at NAB has never been about ‘making up the numbers’, but rather about finding the most qualified and best-suited individual for the role. This is ensured by a range of initiatives, which have been implemented over the course of our corporate partnership and is demonstrated by the pay equity audit NAB recently conducted to ensure their female staff members are being paid the same as their male co-workers for work of equal value. NAB was also the first major bank in Australia to introduce a domestic violence support policy, which came into effect in 2013.

Kirsty’s insights

While having targets to encourage gender equality is useful, Kirsty hopes we progress to a point where we don’t need them. “We know we are better people by having a mixture of people around us.”

Kirsty continued: “Having opportunities that empower all colleagues — not just women — is part of our Employee Value Proposition. We also know that it makes good business sense to have a diverse workforce. There is a plethora of research and data analysis to confirm a diverse workforce helps with (amongst other things), creativity, innovation, and design thinking.”

“Our customers need representation in order to meet their needs,” Kirsty added.

Support and collaboration

In collaboration over the years, WOB has supported numerous NAB women get onto boards and has facilitated the NAB Board Ready Program, NAB’s mentoring and networking program designed to prepare a community of talented and confident women for board positions in the future. We have profiled and engaged the expertise of their many employees for our comprehensive advocacy work and various events. In fact, some 671 employees have participated in 17 in-house workshops, webinars and talks — most notably Brand You: Pitching for Success, On Track for Success and Getting Started: Realising your Board Potential.  Not only have employees shared the value of WOB’s board and career planning advice, but also the access to the wider WOB network, influence and external events. “WOB has always had a good digital presence, which was important to me in order to reach our colleagues in remote areas, as well as the major cities,” said Kirsty. “With the new normal that COVID-19 brings, this will become more important and I appreciate the recognition and commitment WOB has to this as shown in your new membership options.”

“The level of support we receive and the warm and generous team who offer their time willingly, makes it as easy as possible for me to extend the wonderful opportunities to our employees — and you can’t put a price tag on that. And let’s not forget the level of facilitation and mentorship! The energy and knowledge is remarkable!”

In the spirit of inclusion and diversity — a commitment to corporate social responsibility, which has united NAB and WOB over the past nine years and continues to — the future looks bright and exciting for women and all social groups.

Explore why being on a board is good for both employees and employers.

Enquire Now

Contact the WOB office on 02 4321 0100 or email our Corporate Relations Manager.