The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment. SWIFT also sells software and services to financial institutions.

In 2014 SWIFT appointed GDP to deliver an Unconscious Bias learning intervention to SWIFT leaders (with a focus on People Managers and Recruiters) with the following aims:

  • Help leaders understand the impact and be more aware of their own and others’ biases, and reflect on the challenges Unconscious Bias can cause.
  • Inspire and incentivise leaders to actively develop an inclusive culture and be accelerators for change.
  • Support learning with logic, rationale, statistical data, facts and figures, and trends.


Unconscious Bias for Recruiters  and People Managers

Key Deliverables

GDP first established the scope of the project and agreed with key stakeholders from SWIFT on the desired outputs and deliverables of this intervention. We then familiarised ourselves with the organisation through data-gathering and a review of their key policies, strategies, business plan and D&I collateral such as audits that had been conducted prior to our work. We also conducted a series of 1-2-1 interviews with People Managers, Recruiters and Executive Stakeholders from across the globe in positions where Unconscious Bias can have the biggest effect.

To further develop a view of D&I issues within SWIFT, we used the Implicitly Unconscious Bias tests to measure the levels of Unconscious Bias within the Recruiters and People Managers population, focusing specifically on Gender, Age and Ethnicity.

With the project scope established and key issues highlighted, GDP then began our design phase into the Open Minds Unconscious Bias workshops, which were customized specifically for the audience of People Managers or Recruiters in each region, and the challenges that Unconscious Bias may have in their roles. The pilot workshops took place in Brussels, where the Chief Financial Officer for SWIFT (sponsoring the Diversity and Inclusion initiative) attended the session. Following an incredibly successful delivery and brilliant feedback, we then began our cascade into SWIFT offices in the Asia-Pacific region (including Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur), as well as the US and rest of Europe.

The objectives of the workshops were:

  • Delegates understand the impact of their biases.
  • Delegates are more aware of Unconscious Bias and the challenges it causes.
  • Delegates are incentivized to actively develop a more inclusive culture.
  • Delegates are inspired to act as accelerators for change in SWIFT.


Qualitative and quantitative data received after the workshops was overwhelmingly positive. 100% of participating recruiters, post-session, understand what Unconscious Bias really means and believe that D&I can help SWIFT and themselves to achieve leadership and business goals.

Every participant from the People Managers’ group agreed or strongly agreed on the quality of Farrah’s presenting regarding her knowledge on the subject, ability to communicate concepts and ideas, ability to deal with questions effectively and her presentation of the information in a clear and organised manner.

SWIFT are now looking to follow-up on the success of the Open Minds program for People Managers and Recruiters with further workshops around the globe, as well as a new focus on enhancing Inclusive Leadership at the senior levels within the organisation.