Building Connections for a Brighter Future
The importance of staying well-connected.
Posted 6 months ago
As soon as I knew that there was a Diversity and Inclusion team at Barclays, I wanted to join it. I am finishing an MSc in Human Resource Management and one of our modules was about managing diversity in the workplace. I was able to study the legal context and some theories about diversity, but I was very curious to see what it really meant in the corporate world. I joined my team in June and those 9 weeks just flew by.
Thanks to my internship, I was able to see what D&I means in reality rather than just in a textbook. Giving opportunities to amazing people regardless of their backgrounds, and making sure that our colleagues feel they can bring themselves at work – these are just two of the many components of D&I. My team wants to maintain an ongoing environment of inclusion and engagement at Barclays, an inclusive environment that both our company and our colleagues can benefit from.
The first thing that surprised me was the fact that we were only 10 people in my team, including me. After the surprise I realized that I really loved its tight-knit nature, because it meant that I was able to build stronger relationships with everyone in my team. My colleagues welcomed me so warmly and I felt integrated in no time. No one ever made me feel that I was ‘just’ an intern, I was part of the D&I team and my work was not created just to keep me busy. All the projects I have been involved in were pieces of work that would have been done by someone else at some point, which I really appreciated. I felt that my work was valued and that I was really bringing something to the team.
I worked on many projects during my internship: I supported my colleagues on broad diversity and inclusion activities, such as our Barclays Diversity Business Awards, which aim to celebrate the colleagues who have helped improve diversity and inclusion at Barclays. I also did some work on social mobility, gender pay gap and sustainable engagement. My projects were all interesting and there wasn’t one that I wasn’t happy to be involved in. It’s nice to think that I will be able to leave a legacy after the internship finishes.
The 9 weeks went really fast, and no two days were the same. The advantage of working on several projects at the same time was that I was never under-challenged, and I always felt intellectually stimulated. Moreover, I was able to learn so much in such a short time, and I now feel more skilled and prepared for the working environment. Whenever challenges began to overwhelm me, I knew I could openly talk to my line manager and she would make sure I would have the right support.
Before joining Barclays, I thought that working for a big organisation meant that I wouldn’t be able to be myself. I was wrong. Barclays is putting a lot of effort into make sure people feel they can be themselves at work. No one is infallible, and I really appreciated the fact that it was okay for me to show my weaknesses and that no one would judge me for that. With seven networks that help and support employees, I know that anyone can find the right support here.
This internship was definitely a great opportunity to learn, not just about Human Resources but also about myself, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to work for a corporation that really cares about its employees, inspires them and supports them to go further.