The guardians of good financial conduct, the FCA, have recently made two high-profile speeches that have outlined the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) within the financial services sector and suggested that, in the near future, D&I could become part of their monitoring and regulation of members.
The FCA has pointed to the lack of opportunity, particularly for those from ethnic minorities, within the financial services sector. Not having such opportunity is a drawback for the sector and for the consumer.
As the CEO of the FCA, Nikhil Rathi, also said, whilst speaking at the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter Annual Review, “We care because diversity reduces conduct risk and, those firms that fail to reflect society, run the risk of poorly serving diverse communities. And at that point, diversity and inclusion become regulatory issues.”.[i]
A diverse and inclusive franchise network
Here at Aspray Franchise, we have already proven that having equal opportunities and a diverse and inclusive network brings the type of business benefits that the FCA has pointed to, when referencing studies such as the May 2020 study by McKinsey, named ‘Diversity Wins.’[ii]
That study found that diverse and inclusive businesses were 36% more likely to be profitable and thrive. It also stated that the business case for inclusion and diversity was stronger than ever.
Making the distinction between the two is important. Our diverse network comprises franchisees from very many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, Black, Middle Eastern, Asian and White, and from different faiths too. However, all also experience fairness of opportunity and openness and freedom from bias and discrimination, which McKinsey points out is not always the case. The only thing we are concerned about at Aspray Franchise is finding individuals who are right for our business model, regardless of their background. To make that as transparent and open as we can during our selection process, we are the first franchisor in the UK to adopt Zorakle profiling.
This is a personality and values-based test that focuses on the individual, their skills, preferences and working style, not their ethnicity, religion or background. It is a score-based approach, which enables us to allow a candidate to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process, because we have strong evidence to suggest it would be right for both them and us, as everything is scored in line with the Aspray model and how it operates. It helps us to assess who would be a ‘perfect match’, by benchmarking applicants against our top-performing franchisees, when producing the final ‘scores on the doors.’
In July 2019, an article on the International Franchise Association’s website highlighted the importance of having a franchise that reflects your community.[iii] Aspray Franchise most definitely has that and we recognise that we would not be able to deliver our property damage insurance claims proposition, within certain communities, without some of our individual franchisees who have the trust of their community.
In many ways, that is not something dictated by ethnicity, although it can help. We have local franchisees, who are operating at the hearts of their community, regardless of their ethnicity, some being proud Scots or Welsh professionals, who can relate to the populations they serve, which may be very different from another franchisee’s.
Our franchisees often become key community players, supporting local community schemes and good causes and playing their part in key community projects and decisions. We are proud that, across the UK, we have franchisees from every conceivable background, who can fully relate to their communities and deliver the best possible property claims management and loss assessing service to them, in just the way the FCA wants to see happen.
With our inclusive model, based solely on skills and personality criteria, if the candidate has the necessary financial means to buy a territory, we are confident enough to say that we believe it is our own diversity and inclusion as a franchise network, that has enabled us to recently gain a 5-Star Franchisee Satisfaction Award through the WorkBuzz Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark (FSB).
Regardless of what background you are from, if you believe you have the skills that our professional property franchise opportunity requires, all you need do is get in touch. We will assess you equally, fairly and with the best evaluation tools that the franchise sector can call upon, to determine whether you have what it takes to make the most of your investment and thrive with Aspray.