On Thursday 11th June, BYP and Nationwide presented the webinar titled - Building Resilience: Life Beyond COVID-19, which was an event centred around coping with home, wellbeing and our finances in the current climate. The event also gave a needed platform to talk about diversity in the workplace and what had been done throughout the Building Society to support black employees during this time.
Several employees from Nationwide were involved in the webinar and all had words to say about how the organisation is supporting internal colleagues during this time and also how the company is working hard to push diversity in various forms.
Aisha Lewis (Senior Programme Manager at Nationwide) hosted the event and talked about the importance of promoting diversity through pushing for the recruitment of diverse workers.
Chidi O’Hanekwu (Senior Branch Manager at Nationwide) highlighted what Nationwide has been doing in terms of checking on their black employees and also how the company have been posting on their intranet page in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Through Chidi meeting with Joe (Nationwide’s CEO), the sentiments were that when it comes to changing the narrative, simply not being racist is not enough and being neutral is not enough. It’s about making serious changes from the top down, it’s about actually having black people on the executive boards, it’s about having awkward and uncomfortable conversations. Additional work being done internally includes mentoring programmes to support future BAME leadership, voluntary publishing of ethnic pay gap and one of the first organisations to sign the ‘Race at Work charter’
Troy Bryan (Cultural Transformation Lead at Nationwide) talked about wellbeing and what it means during this time. A recurring theme in his talk was about Nationwide’s culture and how the Building Society is being protective of their colleague’s wellbeing and one example he gave was how the company had signposted the employees to places for looking after mental health.
The below are examples of resources of which Nationwide employees had been referred to:
Black Minds Matter UK: https://www.blackmindsmatteruk.com/
The Black African and Asian Therapy Network: https://www.baatn.org.uk/
Couch To 5K: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/
As many people are working from home, looking after wellbeing is extremely important and being dynamic is key. Technology has changed how our work is done and James Rowlands (Lead Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Nationwide) went into detail of how Nationwide has successfully leveraged this, being the first to offer mortgage payment holiday processes online.
James touched on how Nationwide had supported those affected by COVID 19 giving examples of advocating for mortgage holidays and encouraging buy to let landlords to give rent holidays. James also talked about the work that Nationwide does to lobby the government on housing matters and the work they do with the charity Shelter and Paris Docherty (Digital Marketing Manager) continued with the housing theme and talked about the work her team have done to support landlords.
One point that was touched on in the event was the effect that COVID-19 had on first time home buyers. Due to the current pandemic, many that had plans to buy a home had to put these plans on hold due to not being able to travel due to lockdown and some people had lost their jobs meaning that their finances and credit had been affected. Nationwide has highlighted their approach to being industry leading in this regard as even in this climate, still trying to help people buy their first home through online workshops and also through their mortgage advisors taking consultations online.
Resources for those looking to improve, maintain and build their credit as well as improving financial capability for the financially squeezed:
And for those interested in getting on the property ladder and for those having issues with their mortgage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please view these links below:
Mortgage guide for First Time Buyers: https://www.nationwide.co.uk/guides/buying-and-owning-a-property/first-time-buyers/getting-started
Home Support Package: https://www.nationwide.co.uk/guides/news/all-news/2020/05/home-support-package
Find a mortgage you feel at home with: https://www.nationwide.co.uk/products/mortgages/our-mortgages/special-offers/affordable-housing-schemes
Becoming a landlord - Understanding the costs and responsibilities involved:
Landlord Lifeguard: https://www.landlordlifeguard.co.uk/
Nationwide is recruiting Tech professionals in the London area and onboarding new employees even during the pandemic. When asked “why should you join Nationwide?”, they stated how good the culture was there, with like-minded people and the ability to talk to the CEO directly regarding important company matters.
For careers at Nationwide you can visit - https://www.nationwide-jobs.co.uk/
What we can take away from the webinar is that as our wellbeing work and finances are linked, it's important to look after all of these. Nationwide is all about supporting and educating both landlords, tenants homeowners and also about encouraging all of us to be digitally and financially savvy to allow us to be prepared for a crisis such as this one if it arises again.
Written by Tonte Bo Douglas (@TalkWithTonte)