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How Punter Southall Aspire went beyond box-ticking to ensure workplace diversity

Punter Southall Aspire’s work to ensure its leadership team was a fair representation of the workforce saw it win the Diversity & Inclusion Award at The Rewards 2019. 

The PSA team collecting their award at The Rewards 2019
The PSA team collecting their award at The Rewards 2019

In this Best Practice Case Study, we explore how the entire executive committee was replaced.


Punter Southall Aspire (PSA), a UK retirement savings business, has grown rapidly since its inception in 2016. In the last couple of years, the business has made three acquisitions taking the number of employees from 50 to 150. It is this growth which ignited the need to make certain business culture was seamless across the business’ 13 offices.


Steve Butler, chief executive (CEO) of PSA, wanted to make sure the workforce felt part of a company where everyone was included, respected and able to fulfil their potential.


Understanding that financial services can be male dominated, he felt the first challenge to tackle was the underrepresentation of female managers at the organisation.


Butler replaced the executive committee - of eight senior male managers - with seven operational committees (OpCos), involving male and female representatives from across the business. This created diverse, multi-generational teams who would now contribute to the leadership strategy.


Participation from female managers increased from 0 percent to 38 percent and these employees said their involvement in the OpCos boosted their confidence and broadened their horizons.


The OpCos regularly meet to attend training courses and discuss issues such as gender diversity and how to better understand unconscious bias in the workplace.


PSA has also brought in a number of strategies to remain proactive in its approach to being diverse. These include:

  • Training and mentoring programmes to develop female talent from within the company;
  • A graduate programme to recruit more diverse talent;
  • Guidance and mentoring schemes for all ages within the business to educate them on other generations’ working styles;
  • Flexible working or a reduction in hours to ensure people can have a work/life balance and those closer to retirement can begin working less if they like;
  • Education and guidance to all staff on the differences in race, colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins;
  • A core priority for all employees to learn more about diversity and make inclusion a subconscious daily action.

To help others businesses become more diverse and inclusive, Butler has also written a book, using his experiences to make PSA more representative, titled ‘Manage the Gap: Achieving success with intergenerational teams’.


Butler believes that by having a diverse workforce, you can future-proof a business - strengthening its ability of success by having a varied range of experiences, opinions, knowledge and creativity available.


Find out more about Reward Strategy events here.

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