Case Studies - The ‘Pink Plateau’

Significant barriers still exist for lesbian, gay and bisexual people getting to the top of organisations and – more important – feeling able to be ‘out’ in these roles. LGB visibility at the senior levels of an organisation is a powerful indicator of equality and provides inspiration to other staff. Part 7 of the Workplace Equality Index, the pink plateau recognises the level of seniority and visibility attained by LGB people in the organisation and is worth six per cent of the total available marks.

Clydesdale Bank recognises the importance of having openly lesbian, gay and bisexual people across all levels of their organisation and take action to improve visibility of role models. Clydesdale Bank’s network group Vibrant provides support in both personal and professional development of its members with an aim of improving the visibility of LGB staff.

In a proactive approach, Clydesdale Bank developed its mentoring programme to include a specific LGB element in order to ensure they were meeting the professional development needs of their lesbian, gay and bisexual staff members. All visible role models are trained to support and mentor less experienced members of staff, furthering development opportunities for LGB employees. Recognising that flexibility in this service is vital to staff participation, mentors are available to mentor employees both within and outside the group, improving the number of LGB staff who feel comfortable accessing the service.

The organisation recognises that exercises to profile LGB role models must be consistent to permanently raise awareness across the business in a sustainable way. Over the last year, Clydesdale Bank has profiled role models across a number of communications and publications, including external publications like GayStarNews.com. Vibrant has also taken steps to ensure that both the staff network group and communications reflect the diversity in the LGB population and profile individuals of different age and genders in their newsletter so that lesbian, gay and bisexual employees across the business can relate to role models in the organisation.