20 May 2016

The importance of employee networks

2 minute read


  • Nationwide now runs six employee networks celebrating diversity
  • They provide support for people with similar experience or challenges
  • More than 1,600 employees now belong to a network in Nationwide.

Nationwide’s Head of Culture and Inclusion, Amanda Rice, discusses the importance of employee networks and how they can shape an organisation so it truly reflects the diverse communities it serves.

At Nationwide we value people from all backgrounds and part of my role is making sure the Society takes an inclusive approach that celebrates and promotes diversity. A major part of this work stream are our employee networks. We now run six networks representing or focusing on: women, faith and belief, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation and members of the military community. In June, we’re planning to launch a group dedicated to employees who are caring for someone. The carers’ agenda is an increasing issue for organisations, as our employees often find themselves supporting younger family members as well as elderly, sick or disabled relatives and this can be stressful when trying to balance work and family life and also sometimes quite isolating. The wellbeing of all our employees is something we take very seriously.

The networks aim to raise awareness and support developmental and networking opportunities – they also, of course, provide support for people who have had similar experiences or who perhaps face similar challenges. Membership is open not just to those belonging to the community of interest represented by each of the networks, but also to every employee who has an interest.

“More than 1,600 employees now belong to a network in Nationwide, underlining just how important they are to our workforce. What I find particularly interesting about these networks is that they grow and develop from the bottom up.”

Take our Veteran and Reservist Community Network which has been recently set up. As more and more ex-Armed Forces personnel joined the Society, they felt that they and their colleagues would benefit from a network dedicated to supporting veterans, reservists and military families. The group is run and chaired by its members with support from a senior sponsor. Not only does this group offer support to its members, it also harnesses their enthusiasm and specialist knowledge driving activity which benefits various communities across the country.

The networks’ dual purpose of supporting its members and using their specialist skills and knowledge to help shape Nationwide’s activity means these employee-led groups have a real and positive impact on its employee members, their colleagues and our customers.

Relatively speaking, we spend a lot of time in the workplace and it’s important therefore that we feel we are able to bring our whole selves to work. For Nationwide the networks enable us to make sure that we create an environment in which our employees can feel comfortable and also a Society which reflects the diverse make-up of our customers and their needs.

About the author

Amanda Rice

Nationwide’s Head of Culture and Inclusion, Amanda Rice, discusses the importance of employee networks and how they can shape an organisation so it truly reflects the diverse communities it serves.

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