Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: HSBC's Commitment and Ruby's Leadership Journey

In today's dynamic business world, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) are crucial for innovation, collaboration, and sustainable growth. HSBC, one of the largest global banking and financial services organisations, has been a leader in implementing DE&I initiatives, embedding these values deeply into its corporate culture.

In honour of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, we spoke with Ruby Ho, MD & Head of Markets and Securities Services at HSBC Bank (Taiwan) Ltd. Ruby exemplifies how DE&I principles are actualised through dedicated leadership and personal commitment. Her insights demonstrate the tangible impact of DE&I on creating an inclusive and supportive workplace, highlighting HSBC Taiwan's continuous efforts to champion these values.

Interviewing Ruby Ho, MD & Head of Markets and Securities Services at HSBC Taiwan

Strategic Imperative: DE&I at HSBC

For HSBC, DE&I is not just a core value but a strategic imperative driving the organisation forward. Recognising the diverse needs of a global client base and the benefits of a heterogeneous workforce, HSBC has heavily invested in programmes and policies that promote an inclusive environment. These include training sessions, workshops, and webinars designed to enhance employees’ understanding and appreciation of DE&I.

Tangible Support for Employee Well-being

HSBC’s commitment to employees goes beyond rhetoric, manifesting in tangible support measures. The bank offers comprehensive leave policies, including paternity and maternity leaves that are better than regulations, and adoption leave that has been applicable to same-sex couples long before the government relaxed the same-sex marriage. It also collaborates with external organisations to provide mental health resources, such as meditation apps, to promote well-being. HSBC’s focus on financial well-being includes providing professional advice and support for employees’ personal financial planning.

A key aspect of HSBC's DE&I strategy is creating a culture of inclusivity. This involves not only ensuring representation across various demographics but also fostering an environment where all employees feel valued and heard. Ruby emphasises that this cultural shift is a continuous evolution, reflecting the dynamic nature of the global business environment.

Ruby's Leadership Journey: From Trading to Team Building

Ruby's journey at HSBC exemplifies how effective leadership can drive DE&I initiatives. With a background as a trader, Ruby transitioned into a management role, where she now leads a team of about 230 people. This shift required her to develop new skills, particularly in communication and team building, which are crucial for nurturing an inclusive culture.

Starting as a trader in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment focused on market price, Ruby had limited needs to interact with others. Transitioning to a management position at HSBC demanded extensive communication, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of team dynamics. This shift required her to cultivate a leadership style that is both empathetic and effective.

Ruby Ho, MD & Head of Markets and Securities Services at HSBC Taiwan

Leading with Warmth, Depth, and Height Vision

Ruby’s leadership style is characterised by high standards coupled with empathy. She emphasises the importance of "warmth, depth, and height" in her interactions with team members. "Warmth" involves understanding and supporting colleagues, ensuring that directives are delivered with consideration for the individual's perspective. "Depth" signifies profound professional knowledge, enabling HSBC to differentiate itself in a competitive market. "Height" represents a long-term, strategic vision, encouraging team members to think beyond immediate tasks and consider the broader impact of their work.

Ruby’s approach to DE&I is practical and actionable. She regularly engages with her team through interactive sessions including town halls, skip-level exchanges, volunteering etc., fostering open dialogue and encouraging all voices to be heard. Her commitment to continuous learning is reflected in her support for a culture of "unlimited learning," where team members are constantly encouraged to upskill and expand their knowledge.

Empowering the Team

Ruby's leadership is marked by empowerment. She believes in providing opportunities for her team members to take on new challenges and grow in their careers. This empowerment involves not just delegating tasks but also recognising and nurturing potential, ensuring that each team member feels valued and motivated.

Ruby stresses the importance of leaders admitting their imperfections and learning from their colleagues. By acknowledging her own limitations and seeking help, she fosters a collaborative environment that leverages diverse strengths. This approach promotes teamwork and mitigates the risks of relying solely on the leader’s abilities, highlighting the collective efforts of the team rather than the prowess of a single leader.

Ruby's colleagues describe her as having an "unlimited learning spirit," always pushing her team to learn and improve. They also note her high, yet reasonable, standards, which challenge them to exceed expectations continually. Her leadership blends rigour and warmth, creating an environment where employees feel both challenged and supported.

People-Centric Policies

Compared to her previous experiences in other financial institutions, Ruby notes that HSBC places a unique emphasis on people. The bank's commitment to employee well-being is evident through its comprehensive support systems, including mental health resources, flexible working models, and inclusive policies that cater to diverse needs. HSBC's hybrid working model and emphasis on work-life balance demonstrate the bank's understanding of modern employees' needs.

A standout aspect of HSBC's DE&I efforts is its focus on speaking up and listening up. Ruby explains that the bank actively encourages employees to voice their concerns and suggestions, fostering a culture where feedback is valued and acted upon. This commitment to listening is further reinforced by HSBC's employee satisfaction surveys, guiding the bank's actions and initiatives.

Future DE&I Directions at HSBC

Looking ahead, Ruby envisions a future where change is embraced proactively. Her mantra of "brace for change" encapsulates the need for readiness and adaptability in an ever-changing global landscape. Ruby encourages her team to anticipate challenges and seek innovative solutions, positioning HSBC as a proactive rather than reactive organisation.

HSBC’s DE&I initiatives, as well as Ruby's leadership, represent a commitment to excellence through diversity, equity, and inclusion. These efforts not only enhance HSBC’s performance but also elevate its role in setting global standards for responsible and inclusive business practices. We believe HSBC will continue to prove that a commitment to diversity is integral to both ethical leadership and sustainable success in the marketplace.