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Social> Diversity 01 Jun 2024

Cultural diversity and its impact on organizations

The challenge of diversity is one of the key transformation pillars for any company. In the case of BBVA, ensuring a diverse workplace, in the broadest sense of the term, allows the company to better address the needs of its diverse customer base and offer a more comprehensive service.

Diversity is one of the keys around which the response to the equality challenge needs to be structured. At the business level, a diverse workforce will better understand and cater to a diverse society. When all team members are very similar to one another, decisions are made very quickly, but that does not mean that they are the best. A team with people who bring different perspectives may be more complex to manage at first, but will come up with better solutions.

“At BBVA we are convinced that diversity is a source of wealth worth nurturing. We are convinced that workforce diversity enriches our company and the products and services we bring to customers”, said José Antonio Gallego, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion leader at BBVA. In this sense, the bank "is committed to diversity from a comprehensive point of view, which encompasses values such as equal opportunities and inclusion."

Our cross-country footprint grants the bank a greater ability to adapt in a broad variety of diversity fields, such as nationality and cultural diversity. For this, the bank has incorporated diversity and inclusion as business goals, with each bank area defining their own targets, and prioritizing equality as a strategic priority.

"The key to all this is precisely active listening: keeping conversation channels open at all times, because regardless of how diverse a team may be, it will never be able to understand all sensitivities," explained Gallego. This is why it is essential to encourage employees to speak up, ensuring they can be feel free to express their concerns without any type of fear.

An international workforce

In a global organization like BBVA, with headquarters and offices across different countries with different cultures, diversity and inclusion are part of our day to day routine. As of 2023 year end, Mexican employees represent 38.51 percent of the Group’s total workforce. By nationalities and workforce share, the next groups were Spaniards with 22.36 percent of the total workforce, and Turkish with 16.87 percent. The workforce from South America accounts for 19.67%.

BBVA’s Code of Conduct explicitly prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, age, nationality, disability, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, language, political ideology, political or union affiliation or any other unjustified condition or circumstance.

A good example is BBVA Colombia, where the bank has been working on several lines of action to create an internal diversity and inclusion policy that has resulted in a commitment to diversity from members of the Board of Directors and from line managers. This has also allowed the creation of nine employee groups (of ERGs, Employee Resource Groups), with a specific group focused on working on ethnic diversity issues.