Asia Pacific: Promoting Inclusion

Steps works with a global investment bank to promote inclusion across their Asia Pacific territories…

Our client, a leading global investment bank, was ahead of the game in investing and building up their presence in the Asia Pacific region. The bank has worked in this dynamic environment for almost 40 years and is a major employer, with almost 3,400 culturally diverse staff in 10 locations.


In 2012, the bank’s regional Sales & Trading Division implemented ‘Inclusion Training’ in order to embrace the company’s global culture and position themselves as a progressive and forward thinking player in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

The Sales & Trading Division has historically attracted a narrower talent pool than other sections of the business and in a fast-paced, changing world, it set itself some key aims:

• To further the commitment to quality within the division
• To raise the profile of the Diversity and Inclusion agenda
• To attract and retain the best talent in the business
• To make the best use of everyone’s skills
• To stay ahead and remain competitive in a changing business environment, where there is now greater regulation

Steps was tasked with designing and rolling out a bespoke programme across the Asia Pacific region in just eight weeks. We delivered the training to over 1,500 staff, both ex-pat and local, requiring cross cultural sensitivity and careful facilitation.


Our client recognises that global leadership rests on the talent of their people and that the diversity of those people is their greatest strength. This programme was a signifcant investment for both areas – building an understanding of, and respect for, diversity, developing awareness of the role of inclusion for attracting and retaining talent and the benefits of an inclusive culture for idea generation, product development and delivering first class service.

Steps was selected to partner with this client on the strength of our 10 year working partnership with the firm and our ability to demonstrate success in facilitating organisational change. These attributes, combined with the client’s high aspiration, clear vision and regional knowledge, made for a winning partnership.

What Next?

The market-driven timescale was very tight, but time was spent at the outset sharing information and defining outcomes. Research had to be carried out in all areas, new, locally-based delivery teams mobilised and regional versions of the programme written and signed off by the client. A key factor was to remain agile and responsive to change.

The training population – a cross-section from Analyst through to Managing Director level – was based across seven different locations. In five, training was live, in the other two it was delivered by video conference (VC), using the bank’s in-house technology to reach smaller offices. We delivered in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Indonesia (VC), Taiwan (VC), South Korea (VC) and Bejing/Shanghai/Taipei (VC).

Given this geographical spread, the challenge was always going to be finding a balance between maintaining consistency of message across the regions and reflecting local populations and cultures, all within the common context of the bank as well as the division. We held conversations with regional HR heads in all locations, regardless of whether training would be live or through video conferencing and a cross-region framework was established to ensure consistency. In addition, all content was localised to ensure ‘authenticity’ and relevance.


The training succeeded in making a cross-region impact and Steps received numerous comments on the excellence of our training and facilitation.

The bank’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Asia Pacific, commented, “ I was very pleased with the project – as were the other HR people involved … The Steps team delivered a series of high-quality, tailored sessions in a very tight time-frame, updating us on issues on a timely basis … resolving them without affecting the delivery schedule.”