Creating diverse and inclusive policies
06 January 2021
06 January 2021
Sue McCall, Erik Johnson
In the second in our series of diversity and inclusion (D&I) articles, we look at how to create inclusive corporate policies that will support culture change within organisations and specifically, the claims team.
HR is generally tasked with managing and implementing a D&I policy, although it is driven from the top within an organisation and should be supported at every level. Within the claims area, this should be sponsored and driven by the Claims Director/Head of Claims and all their direct reports will be tasked with embedding policy within the team.
A good D&I policy does not need to be lengthy or involve the use of external consultants in its design. There are plenty of free resources available to help guide the creation of D&I policies. One resource is Inclusion@Lloyd’s 5 Steps to Diversity & Inclusion that was created with the insurance sector and a wide range of firm types and sizes in mind; another is Inclusive Leadership by Charlotte Sweeney and Fleur Bothwick.
A good place to start when drafting a D&I policy is to ensure that it is grounded in your organisation’s values, purposes, and mission. With a solid understanding of your company’s DNA, you should then scan the environment your business operates within, to make sure that your D&I policy reflects current employee, industry, and social realities. To do this, you may want to establish employee focus groups with representation from all levels, including at ExCo and Board, to get insight into what they want from a D&I policy. You might also want to review your firm’s diversity data to get a better understanding of the current composition of employee diversity characteristics. At the same time, look outside your organisation to get a sense of what peers and industry groups are doing. This will help you create a D&I policy that leverages work happening across the industry, while being relevant to your employees.
Key components of D&I policies
Once you have a clear understanding of the corporate, industry, and social context your D&I policy needs to operate within, you can start drafting your D&I policy. While there is no one-size-fits-all policy, there are some components that come up consistently within D&I policies:
- Purpose – This should be tied to your firm’s corporate values, mission, and purpose.
- Goals – Clear goals should be established for your D&I policy. This is usually the hardest part of designing and implementing a successful D&I strategy...determining what success looks like.
- Behaviour – Behaviours that are unacceptable (e.g. bullying) and expected (e.g. speaking up) should be referenced.
- Communication – The D&I policy needs to be regularly communicated through training, intranets, and performance management, becoming part of ‘business as usual’. Successes against your goals should be communicated as well as challenges, providing an opportunity to demonstrate that your company is recognising when a change in approach is required.
- Recruitment and talent management – Because of the impact of D&I on current and prospective employees, your D&I policy should ensure that your recruitment and talent management processes are inclusive.
- Suppliers – A good D&I policy acknowledges the impact that our suppliers and outsourcing partners can have on customers, staff, and communities. Having a D&I policy that expects your business partners to share similar values and commitments to D&I as your own organisation, reinforces your commitment to ethical business practices.
- Measurement – Your D&I policy should outline how you will measure success. This can be measured through inclusion focused questions in your annual employee engagement survey; changes in the demographics of your staff; the willingness of staff to self-declare their diversity characteristics on your HR system; and/or industry awards.
- Accountability – A member of your Board or ExCo should be accountable for the D&I policy. With senior level sponsorship and accountability, colleagues and suppliers know that D&I is taken seriously.
With a solid draft D&I policy, you should then loop back to the employee focus groups you engaged with at the start of the process. Have them review and challenge the policy, provide input and suggest ways it could be implemented. Keeping colleagues involved in the process will ensure that your D&I policy reflects their realities.
You might also want to get feedback on your draft D&I policy from industry peers, networks, and/or trade bodies. The insurance sector recognises that whilst D&I can be a competitive advantage, we all benefit from creating an industry that is inclusive and diverse.
Now you have your D&I policy, there is one final stage before going to print. Make sure that it has been reviewed and adopted at the Board level. This will signal your company’s commitment to D&I 'top down' and 'bottom up', and provide the accountable senior leader with the opportunity to announce the D&I policy to all staff following Board ratification.
The next stage is to implement your D&I policy, bringing it to life, monitoring outcomes and refining it as your experience develops.
Stay tuned for further articles on D&I and how the topic relates to you as claims professionals. Future articles in this series will cover implementing D&I policies and measuring & monitoring D&I policy outcomes.
This document is believed to be accurate but is not intended as a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Neither the author (personal or corporate), Society of Claims Professionals or Chartered Insurance Institute, or any of the officers or employees of those organisations accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the data or opinions included in this material. Opinions expressed are those of the author or authors and not necessarily those of the Society or Chartered Insurance Institute.