When looking for an agent, diversity within the agency is increasingly important to consumers, 67% reported so according to a recent Nationwide Agency Forward Survey. Hiring and retaining diverse talent is an important part of connecting with new customers and studies1 reinforce compelling business reasons to build diversity including innovation and target market growth.
So how can leaders build and retain a diverse workforce? According to a panel of experts from our recent webinar around this topic, leaders must remain authentic and own goals with a sense of humility. Here’s how that may come to life:
Share goals around diverse talent and culture
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) must be a full long-term strategy with commitment. It’s important to share goals with employees. Focus areas may include culture changes, development opportunities and hiring. Having that leadership commitment will resonate through an organization.
Be transparent on the progress being made
As you would with any business goals, provide updates and share how goals and strategies may shift. Even if your numbers aren’t something to celebrate right away, it’s important to share with employees. The data can empower leaders and employees to think about how their daily actions may contribute to the goals. These updates can help keep diversity, equity and inclusion efforts top of mind. Rochelle Rosatto, Senior Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion for Marsh encouraged owning the goals with humility, sharing “maybe we don’t necessarily look the way we’re aspiring to be in terms of diversity but here’s what we’re doing about it and this is what we’re committed to.”
Ask questions, create an open dialogue with employees
Consider using surveys to help assess employee perspectives of the DEI efforts. Find time to meet one-on-one or in small groups and make it clear that you’re available to hear feedback outside of these regular check-ins. If you’ve reached a diverse hiring goal, but the culture isn’t supporting new hires these efforts can help identify changes you can make to retain talent. As Lissette Perez, President of the Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies (LAAIA) shared, “once you’ve committed, you have to engage.” She suggested joining organizations like LAAIA and the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA) to help amplify the work they’re doing in the industry.
Continually evaluate policies and strategies, including advancement opportunities
As you measure goals and receive employee feedback, take time to revisit how you’re prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion. Do you have a talent pipeline established? Are you using inclusive language in job postings? Are you offering coaching and a learning strategy? Evaluate as you would with other policies and strategies and with the same level of accountability. As Margaret Redd, Executive Director of NAAIA shared, “it’s not just an activity, but a long-term strategy.”