The UK arm of Embrace was the first, starting in 2015 with just a handful of members, and growing today to more than 3,100, including LGBT+ people and allies. In 2019, they took part in more than 16 events across the country and were classed a Top Ten Employer at the British LGBT Awards.
Since those humble beginnings, Santander now has employee LGBT+ networks in the USA, Spain, Brazil and Mexico.
The network leaders from each country will meet together for the first time in July to share local best practices and develop the first global LGBT+ network objectives for 2021 and beyond.
Across most of the world, LGBT+ Pride activities this year will be held virtually and in many of its main markets, Santander has planned activities for employees and local communities to help raise awareness and show their support for LGBT+ rights.
Santander UK celebrated virtual Pride in the week commencing 15 June, asking colleagues to share videos of what pride means to them. They also participated in the first MyGWork WorkPride event in the week of 22 June, with a session led by the HR Culture and Inclusion Director, Damien Shieber, on how to use ERGs as a support network.
Employees all across Santander UK and Santander USA will be able to use the Santander Rainbow logo in their email signatures and, for the first time, encouraged to include their preferred gender pronouns in their signatures as well.
In the USA the teams across various states held virtual Pride together by sharing photos from Pride in previous years. Last year the teams took part in Pride parades in Boston and Miami as well as the World Pride event held in New York.
Santander ATMs in the USA featured a ‘Respect’ LGBT-themed screensaver, and locally each chapter of Embrace held a series of fun online events, trivia nights, lunch and learns and health awareness discussions.
"Working in a diverse organisation like Santander is to be in continuous contact with people from other countries, other cultures, other generations and lifestyles, which allows you to learn something new every day."
In Puerto Rico, the Bank’s diversity and inclusion networks have continued to grow. During Pride they have also changed the logo in their signatures and published a number of articles about LGBT+ diversity and the importance of allies in the network. A virtual event at the end of the month featured a discussion with an industrial psychologist about the importance of acceptance, learning and understanding in the journey to inclusion.
The Mexico LGBT+ network only formed this year, but already they have big plans. The team have changed all of their logos to the Santander Rainbow logo for all of June. A video with the President of Santander Mexico’s Inclusion Committee, Héctor Chávez, was used to help raise awareness of the local inclusion policies and how they are implemented.
Héctor Mancera, a director of Tuiio, Santander Mexico’s financial empowerment business, was included among 42 LGBT+ Mexican Executives in the 2020 edition of Expansión magazine. And the Bank took part in the ‘Love 4 All’ inclusion festival, sharing a video of LGBT+ employees and allies speaking about diversity at Santander.
In 2019 Great Place to Work recognised Santander Brazil as a best-in-class company for LGBT+ employees in the country.
The LGBT+ network in Brazil was formed that year along with the Allyship Journey, an educational programme for those employees who wish to learn how to be more inclusive towards LGBT+ co-workers and clients. From September 2019, when the program was launched almost 1,200 employees have signed up as allies.
This year they celebrated Pride by sharing educational materials to all allies and sending a newsletter to raise awareness of LGBT+ diversity to all 48,000 employees in Brazil.
A virtual panel at the end of June featured four employee panelists representing different types of LGBT diversity to share their personal journey of overcoming barriers and becoming proud to be their true selves in and out of work.
“I'm proud of working in Santander because I get to be me when I come to work. I can lead the employee group LGBT+ allies population here in Santander and that makes me super proud to work for this organization.”
Santander Argentina launched their campaign to form employee communities around important issues and groups at the end of May. These employee groups will help to co-create innovative solutions to issues presented in areas such as gender, LGBT+, people with socio-economic vulnerability and people with disabilities.
As well as changing their logos to the rainbow flame the team will hold a workshop on 29 June for employees to discuss LGBT+ diversity.
In Santander’s headquarters in Spain, the Group held a virtual event, joined by representatives from some of the biggest companies in Spain, looking at how changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic can affect LGBT+ people. A survey of Spanish and Portuguese companies by ADIM in 2018 showed that 72% of LGBT+ people in Spain are not comfortable to be themselves and open with their colleagues at work, so the team will speak with Eva Diaz, CEO of Appogeo Digital and a transgender woman, about her experiences. The panel also looked at how large Spanish companies are addressing these problems for their employees.
The team will also take part in Madrid’s Virtual Pride event which will take place from 29 June through 5 July.