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Celebrating Diversity | Neha Nigam | Director Operations, Barclays

happy Indian business teamWhen I was asked to write something on the occasion of International Women’s day, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to share my thoughts on Diversity on the whole with particular focus on Gender.

In the corporate world, all of us are different; and in order for us to be successful together, we must recognise and respect each other for who we are.

Gender diversity is probably the biggest area we focus on in D&I today but it isn’t the only one. As a Woman who has been in leadership roles for many years and in the corporate world for even longer, I know how important this is. Organisations are evolving over time and becoming less male dominated both in numbers and in ways of working. For me, the biggest change is in people’s attitude and Barclays is doing a lot to make that happen. Recognising that women are different, and hence have different realities and needs, is important to promote a gender balanced and sensitive environment.

Being sensitive to diversity has nothing to do with compromising on talent – my favourite way to express this is that nearly 50% of our country’s population is women and unless we have that same proportion in every field, every grade, every leadership level, all the way to the board, we must clearly be losing out on a big talent pool! For anyone who thinks this is unnecessary, imagine yourself in a position where you were the odd one out, the only different one in a group of 10 and irrespective of how talented you were, you just didn’t have the environment that accepted you for who you were. How unfair would that be, given. It really is as simple as that and this is why Barclays is so focused on building a culture that promotes diversity and makes everyone feel included.

This is true for promoting inclusivity of any kind, not just gender. As someone who has grown through the levels over time, I have sometimes felt like the odd one out due to my gender; but in my early years, also due to my age given that I was a fast tracker and grew at a relatively faster pace (luckily I still look younger than I actually am!!!) and sometimes simply because I may have a different way of thinking or a different opinion. All of those experiences were really important – firstly because they taught me to be more sensitive to my people and their needs, and secondly it made me more resilient and determined to succeed. For those out there who have experienced this, remember the only reason you should allow yourself to fail is when you aren’t capable enough – there can be no other reason and certainly not that someone doesn’t appreciate of you and that you are different.  I have always believed this and as you can see, I turned out to be pretty capable!

I celebrate Diversity every day in my team. Amongst my team members, you can see diversity in thought process, in ways of working, in attitudes to life in general, even in their sense of humour! Working in a multicultural environment also helps us learn a lot and be more respectful of other cultures. I love the fact that it gives me a great opportunity to grow and learn from the people around me and it really makes it fun to work around here.

In this month of International Women’s Day, I would urge everyone to be true ambassadors of Diversity & Inclusion and celebrate the women in our personal and professional lives.

Neha NigamAbout Neha Nigam

Neha runs Barclaycard Operations at Barclays Shared Services, India with teams across two cities supporting businesses across the UK and Africa. Neha has been with Barclays for six and a half years, during which time she has led multiple businesses across cards and retail functions. She is a seasoned customer experience delivery lead and manages large customer supporting teams. She is also a trained Lean & Six Sigma Black Belt and has delivered numerous improvement projects over her professional career. Apart from leading a great team, Neha takes pride in mentoring high potential people, especially women to develop leaders of tomorrow.

With a career spanning over 16 years, Neha has worked in various high performing organisations and led functions across BFSI, telecom and utility service centres. Neha lives in Noida with her family. During her personal time, she loves to travel, read and write blogs.

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