Brit’s decision to hire a Head of Inclusion & Diversity is a powerful illustration of the organisation’s commitment to create a truly inclusive workplace. It announces Brit’s intention and readiness to begin the next leg of the positive journey every London market business is making – or should be.
As Brit’s new Head of I&D, it’s my job to create and implement a collective, strategised approach that will ensure Brit neither misses an opportunity nor falls short in its responsibilities around inclusion. Brit’s senior leaders have decided to make inclusivity a business imperative; it’s my job to act on that directive. I am accountable.
In the previous blog in this series, my colleague Dauda Jammeh revealed how I&D is everyone’s responsibility. He’s absolutely correct. My job isn’t to ‘get inclusivity done’, since no single individual can change an organisation’s culture. It’s down to everyone. Instead it falls to me to facilitate by creating the avenues and acquiring the tools for all to use.
Sometimes I do that by helping Brit follow best practices. I think of that as the ‘I&D compliance officer’ part of my role. For example, Brit had signed Business in the Community’s (BITC) Race at Work Charter when I took up my post (then, Zurich was the only signatory from the insurance sector). But signing is more than just a PR exercise. It creates tangible commitments which require ongoing actions (five of them). It’s my job to ensure we continue to meet those responsibilities (and I am pleased that since we have signed, several other London market companies have done so too. It makes all of us accountable.)
Another important part of my job is to ensure everyone at Brit has an accessible, suitable platform to discuss I&D. That involves very much more than providing a way to raise an issue in confidence (although that’s important, too). For example, we formed the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) which Dauda explained in Part 1 of this series. They create safe spaces for anyone to share their experiences, aspirations, frustrations, and negotiations, and provide a direct channel to senior management.
The ERGs are just one of many new I&D communication routes at Brit. We introduced a Microsoft Teams submission page which anyone can use to offer observations and ideas to Brit’s high-level I&D Committee. Recently we polled all employees about their I&D attitudes and experiences through the firm’s annual Employee Engagement survey for the first time. Sometimes we ask I&D-related questions internally in the weekly Pulse survey Brit uses to check on employee wellbeing. All that serves to ensure everyone has a channel to be part of the journey.
Allyship is another step on the route to inclusion. Brit works regularly with external partners to help us stay engaged and move forward. Our sponsorship of the ACIN is just one example. Organisations of its type are only as powerful as their members, and we are pleased to lend our support. We get plenty back, from recruitment support through ACIN Recruit to the Six Steps to Racial Inclusivity, which makes ACIN a great navigational aid.
I am helped enormously in my work by the passion of our Chief Executive to do the right thing for all the right reasons. Every one of us at Brit who has embraced the cause of I&D shares our eagerness to do more. Our ambition is to be the best. We have accomplished a great deal so far, but there’s a lot left to be done. As the person responsible for I&D at Brit, that mountain will be much easier to climb, because in Brit’s culture, everyone is responsible. A head of I&D can march alone, but the impact is very much greater when everyone is travelling along the road to inclusion.
By Wayne Page, Head of Inclusion & Diversity, Brit Insurance