This post is part of a series sponsored by IAT Insurance Group.
To foster a diverse workforce with unique perspectives, purposeful diversity, equity and inclusion, (DEI) strategies must be implemented. When backed by transparency, focused recruitment to ensure large, diverse applicant pools, and retention efforts, it is possible to build an inclusive and engaging company culture, regardless of the industry.
And yet striving for a culture of DEI in the insurance industry may be easier said than done. Because the insurance industry is typically known as a white, male-dominated field, and recruiting and retention is harder when diverse candidates don’t see themselves reflected in the industry, change can be harder. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are 5 best practices for increasing and elevating success in DEI recruitment and retention across the insurance industry:
- Assess your business as it relates to DEI. Take time to assess any gaps in your organization’s hiring processes, starting with the recruiting process. Evaluate:
- Interview hiring panels – do you have diverse representation?
- Recruiting and hiring procedures – where are you recruiting and sourcing candidates?
- The process from a candidate’s perspective – what does your employer brand say about you and does that align with the candidate’s experience?
- Be transparent. Let potential employees know about your organization’s DEI goals and where you are in your journey. While recruiting, consider the following:
- Be honest when you speak with candidates about DEI initiatives within your organization. The generation entering the workforce is bold and courageous and won’t hesitate to ask questions about DEI programming and executive leadership representation.
- Talk candidly with applicants about areas for diversity and inclusion improvement and how your company is working toward measurable goals, including how they can be a part of the journey.
- Have open conversations with internal teams and managers to discuss candidate questions.
- Walk the talk. It’s one thing to add a page to your website talking about DEI, but it’s more impactful to show how you’re exercising DEI initiatives in your business. Partner with organizations like the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA), Prospanica, and the Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW) that specifically provide resources and development opportunities for underrepresented groups.
Encourage employees to get involved. The ultimate goal is to initiate opportunities and increase exposure to bring more DEI into the insurance industry.
- Make DEI part of the fabric of the business. Talk often about DEI, so it becomes woven into your company’s day-to-day existence and the fabric of your business. Dig deeper and tap into the knowledge and leadership skills of your employees to help flush out areas of concern and ideas for moving the DEI needle forward. IAT has developed two programs to help achieve this:
I&D Council: A gathering of IAT leaders and executives who meet to discuss high-level DEI strategy.
Family Ambassadors: Who has a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the company? Our employees. At IAT, we lean on our Family Ambassadors to provide insight into how employees are feeling, identify gaps for improvement and develop opportunities for employees to feel more engaged and supported.
- Establish a mentorship program. Providing opportunities for early career training and development is important to employees. There’s value in role models and mentors in your chosen profession. Invest in employees by paying for them to become members of representation organizations like Prospanica which empowers the Hispanic community to reach their full potential. This allows employees to grow and develop around people who look like and resonate with them.
Even if your company is not where it wants to be on its DEI journey today, that’s ok. DEI isn’t one-size-fits-all so it’s important for your organization to understand what’s happening in this space from a broader perspective, find what works and make it applicable to their employees. Be specific about your company’s DEI goals, how they relate back to the business, and remember that transparency and accountability are key.
Visit IAT’s website to learn more about our commitment to DEI.
By Lindsay Spann
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