I read with interest an article published by Dennis Nally, Chairman of PwC International. The piece was entitled ‘5 Reasons why diversity and inclusion matter to every business – and every employee’.
Mr. Nally listed the following reasons:
Diversity and inclusion are quite simply the right thing to do.
It’s good for business.
If organisations don’t manage diversity properly, they’ll get left behind.
Diversity plugs the talent gap for businesses - and is also good for society.
Diversity and inclusion bring us all opportunities to learn from others and grow.
These are all compelling reasons that will not only improve the top-line of a business but also create a better working environment and society as a whole.
At a time when I’m fearful that the world is perhaps becoming more separatist (given recent political change), this can only be a positive thing and a subject that must be addressed - not only by HR departments but also, by you – after all, change can begin with our own behaviour.
The reading of the article tied in with a meeting I attended internally recently at Investigo. We met the leader of our D&I programme and learnt the steps that Investigo are taking to ensure that this topic is in our minds when we recruit and advise our clients.
As my time is spent working with individuals and businesses within the insurance market, I thought I’d take a look in to how organisations are addressing the topic. So, here are a few comments taken from websites of insurance organisations:
Lloyd’s: The Corporation and the market work in partnership, through Inclusion@Lloyd’s, to embrace and embed diversity by widening perspectives and sharing best practice.
Covea: We are committed to supporting all our employees to thrive and develop in our open and inclusive environment.
Zurich: Zurich we celebrate the diversity of our customers through a culture that embraces inclusiveness and allows people to bring their ‘whole self’ to work.
AIG: We believe that diversity and inclusion are critical to our future and our mission – creating a foundation for a creative workplace that leads to innovation, growth, and profitability.
All fantastic statements and with that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to give a few pointers on how you can personally make a difference:
Build an inclusive environment: Inclusion is about being open to perspectives different from your own and realising that everyone’s voice is important – be a role model, encourage and praise inclusive behaviour.
Get to know your team: Believing that certain groups of people are good at only certain things will keep you from fully leveraging your team’s intellectual capital. Also, although it is easy to stay in your comfort zone and talk to people who share backgrounds and interests similar to your own, it’s important to get to know each of your employees / colleagues personally.
Educate yourself: Acquiring knowledge of cross-cultural communication and learning to understand how business traditions differ from one culture to another are essential skills for employees in creating an inclusive environment.
Treat people equally: Make sure there is equity in pay and promotional opportunities for everyone regardless of their background. Provide opportunities for each employee to contribute and develop, and to access professional development opportunities and training.
Support: Inclusion requires supporting people from diverse backgrounds. Have an open-door policy to encourage employees to come to you to discuss their problems or concerns. Understand their long-term goals, talents, and what they enjoy doing outside of work. Make them feel valued. Encourage them to tap in to support networks for people from different groups.
Motivate: Motivate your team to act inclusively: Incorporate inclusive behaviour in appraisals to motivate employees to think actively about their own behaviour. Criteria may include participation in cultural events within the company as well as inclusive treatment of diverse colleagues.
I’m enthused by the importance the insurance industry is placing on D&I and look forward to seeing how things change over the coming years. “Companies need to see their people’s wellbeing as a fundamental part of the contribution that they make to the company, in cases where this isn’t happening, “everybody loses” - Alistair Campbell
If you do have any advice on this subject please do comment, I’d be delighted to hear from you - please either comment or drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org