As part of its Societal Impact agenda, Danske Bank has been consistently contributing and promoting the active lifestyle and physical health of its employees and the broader society in Lithuania for the last decade. Going forward, Danske Bank Lithuania will focus on the issues of diversity & inclusion as well as mental well-being. In relation to that, the Bank has become the main sponsor of the HR Week Lithuania 2021 conference. Everyone interested in the challenges of diversity, inclusion and mental well-being is welcome to attend it online.
A new stage of social responsibility
Danske Bank Lithuania chose the new societal impact priorities in close collaboration with its employees. Surveys and focus groups helped answer the question, which societal challenges are those where Danske Bank, with a community of 4000+ colleagues in Lithuania, could make a real impact.
“Our organisation’s efforts in promoting an active and healthy lifestyle in Lithuania over the past decade have borne fruit. As the main sponsor of the Vilnius Marathon, we have helped it become the largest and the most anticipated running event in the country, thus significantly contributing to the growth of the running and active lifestyle culture. Therefore, we decided to focus our efforts in a new direction, where we could drive an equally positive societal change as the one before,”
said Aistė Gataveckienė, Head of Danske Bank Functions & Data Services and Emotional Well-being Ambassador.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of mental well-being
According to Gataveckienė, good mental well-being is as vital as physical, and the pandemic particularly emphasized the significance of psychological health. She says that due to the pandemic, people faced social exclusion, anxiety over their future, uncertainty, and the challenges of remote work – all of this negatively affected their mental well-being.
"However, mental well-being is crucial not only during a pandemic. People should look after their inner state at every stage in their lives because it affects everything – thoughts, feelings and actions. As an organisation, we are well aware that we still have a lot to learn in this area, and we are ready to stay curious, debate, and share best practices. We hope that this will become ingrained in our organisation’s DNA in the long term, as our attention to an active and healthy lifestyle has been,” said Gataveckienė.
Emphasis on the significance of diversity & inclusion
As Gataveckienė pointed out, mental well-being and happiness are inherent from the freedom of being yourself and feeling accepted and valued the way you are, irrespective of nationality, race, age, sexual orientation, physical capabilities, or other differences. Therefore, Danske Bank firmly promotes an inclusive culture, quickly responding to any manifestations of discrimination.
The organisation has set up a Diversity and Inclusion Council, runs diversity and inclusion training for its senior managers, updates its internal processes to advance gender equality, zero discrimination, an equal pay policy and unbiased hiring systems. This year it has developed and implemented a new guideline that aims to promote the inclusion of trans-gender individuals in the workplace. Danske Bank has also joined the Stonewall Global Diversity Champions programme, which seeks to reinforce a long-term commitment to creating an open and welcoming workplace environment for people from the LGBT+ community.
Discussing mental well-being, diversity & inclusion in the largest HR conference in Lithuania
The bank’s activities in this area are broader than only internal stimulus. To spotlight the importance of mental well-being and encourage change in this area, Danske Bank has become the main sponsor of the HR Week Lithuania 2021 – one of the largest HR conferences in the Baltic States.
“The conference brings together over 1000 representatives from various Lithuanian companies annually to look for solutions for organisations to become more humane. The topics of employee diversity and inclusion have been some of the conference’s main topics for several years now, and will continue so in the future. However, this year, we will pay special attention to the theme of employee mental well-being. Of course, we cannot say that this was not important before. But, admittedly, the pandemic has radically changed the understanding of employee well-being and experience.
Work is a big part of our life. When we ended up working from home, the line between work and free time just about disappeared, despite our efforts to balance it. Work merged with daily life and home environment. That is why now organisations should start thinking about employee life experience,” commented Dainius Baltrušaitis, the organiser of HR Week Lithuania 2021.
Apart from the new societal impact direction, Danske Bank will continue its other societal impact and sustainability efforts. The bank is one of the partners of the National Economics Exam, Women Go Tech (mentorship programme for women seeking a career in technology). It also organises FuturePros – a talent-development programme for students, actively collaborates with universities, provides scholarships, awards and prizes. Furthermore, Danske Bank co-operates with the charity organisation Lithuanian Food Bank and other non-governmental organisations, and offers its employees one paid annual day off for volunteering. Last year, the bank donated 110,000 euros to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in Lithuania.