Diversity at RBS – The RBS Sikh Network

Manchester roadshow
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“Recognise the whole human race as one.” (Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

One of things that make me really proud of working for RBS is how we embrace the variety of cultures that exist within our organisation, as well as in our communities. There is no doubt that by harnessing our diversity and celebrating the cultural differences, as well as the richness brought into the workplace, it will help us understand and serve our customers even better.

The RBS Sikh Network is the newest of all the bank’s networks having only been established in August 2017. It was inspired by the progress that was starting to be made across the other main faith groups that form part of the RBS Multicultural Network – namely, the Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu networks.

Utilising the bank’s Facebook at Work capability, the RBS Sikh network has been to galvanise membership and in a short space of time has close to 600 members across 48 UK locations as well as in offices in India. Already, we have participated in a number of Employee Led Network (ELN) roadshows across the country, with The Sikh Channel filming and airing the excellent work that the ELNs do in delivering, raising awareness of, and influencing our bank-wide inclusion strategy.

The Executive buy-in has been phenomenal. We have been able to publish bank-wide comms on Bandi Chhor Divas and have one lined up on Vaisakhi to go in April. Our colleagues have been so interested in our festivals and as part of our formal launch event in March, we will be showcasing why and how we tie a turban and letting them have a go.

The roots of Sikhism are underpinned by three core principles and we have looked to align a number of tangible objectives to each of these that can be driven in the work place.

1. Kirat Karo – Honest Living (Business Networking)

Create networking and mentoring opportunities within the bank
Support with personal development, CV writing and interview skills
Promote race and gender equality within the workplace

2. Naam Japo – Meditate on The Divine (Spirituality & Wellbeing)

Create awareness about Sikh history, festivals and identity within the workplace
Hold staff events to encourage spiritual discourse and discussion
Focus on colleague wellbeing to promote a healthy work/life balance

3. Vandh Ke Sakho – Share with Others (Community Projects)

Engage with internal and external organisations to support the wider community
Raise awareness about social issues within the community
Create one annual fundraiser for various charities

With regard to community projects in particular, we thought long and hard about who we were going to support. One of the great things about the Sikh Community is something we call Langar. It’s basically a community kitchen in a Sikh Temple where a free meal is shared to all visitors. For quite a while now the Sikh community has started taking Langar into the community and feeding those that need it. As such we are looking to build a sustainable relationship with the Sikh Welfare Awareness Team (S.W.A.T.), who set up food points four days a week across locations in London and feed the disadvantaged. For many it’s the only hot meal they get every day.

It’s still early days, but there is a lot of pride with what the RBS Sikh Network has achieved so far and we plan to organise further interesting and inclusive events going forward. The RBS Sikh network is bringing colleagues together from different backgrounds and helping them understand different cultures to make it a more cohesive and unified work place. That is exactly what the National Day for Staff Networks is all about; celebrating the added value of networks, building a strong community of inclusion which helps to make work better in the RBS and beyond.

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