Fast Four Questions: Jonathan Beale, ASB

Jonathan Beale, GM Wealth at ASB, spoke at our April 2017 D&I Meetupabout the work he’s done to achieve greater the cultural diversity in his team, and the impact this has had in terms of innovative thinking and the bottom line.

We grabbed a couple of minutes to find out more.


Global Women: What were the drivers behind your decision to actively work at increasing the cultural diversity of ASB’s Wealth Management team? 

Jonathan Beale: Our customer base is diverse and we wanted to reflect this with a more diverse workforce. We also wanted to bring more people into our team with a strong customer focus, the ability to engage our customers and who can demonstrate the values of ASB—such as ambition and passion.

GW: What actions did you take within the business to increase your team’s cultural diversity? 

JB: To find the right people we needed to actively look for Chinese and Māori financial advisors.

This meant looking outside of the standard channels we use to advertise financial advisor positions—advertisements in the usual places weren’t always attracting the diverse base we were looking for.

So we had to ask around to find the type of people we wanted, and use our wider networks and bank distribution to leverage relationships.

GW: What impact has a more culturally diverse team had on the team’s work, customer base, and outputs? 

JB: Having a much more balanced, diverse and inclusive team has had a hugely positive impact on our work, and lead to different thinking and ideas about the work that we do.

And the business benefits have been huge. The business is growing at 20% per annum and this has a lot to do with the people we have and the diversity of the team’s culture and thinking.

GW: What business challenges and opportunities do you see for New Zealand as a whole in creating and establishing a truly diverse corporate workforce? 

JB: To make these kind of changes, organisations need to be willing to make the change and do different things outside of their usual recruitment and hiring practices.

Building a diverse team takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight, so organisations need to remain focused on what they want to achieve.