Diversity and inclusion have become an increasingly topical point of discussion across all spheres of life. Beyond the wider societal impacts, their relevance to businesses in terms of the economic and cultural benefits they bring are increasingly being recognised. Whilst this is something that most of us believe intuitively, research suggests that many firms are struggling to implement strategies to address shortcomings. This blog aims to substantiate the positive impacts of diversity and inclusion and to articulate ways that firms can improve through their recruitment strategy.
What it is and why it matters?
The term Diversity & Inclusion refers to the combination of ethnicities, religions, cultures, nationalities, genders, sexualities, physical or mental abilities, age, educational and economic backgrounds, among other distinguishing factors (reportedly there may be as many as 34 or more diversity characteristics), within a business’ workforce.
The pandemic may have compelled businesses to shift their priorities to focus on business continuity, cost savings and remote working, however, a survey of 13,000 insurance professionals showed that 92% believe the pandemic ‘highlighted an even greater need for businesses to focus on building inclusive workplaces.’
The benefits of inclusion in the workplace
Driving innovation and inclusion in what have traditionally been largely homogenous industries like insurance and financial services has many benefits.
Firstly, an inclusive culture makes businesses attractive to job seekers. A survey conducted by Glassdoor showed three out of four employees and job seekers (76%) report a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. While Aperion Global demonstrated that organisations with inclusive work cultures are twice as likely to exceed their financial targets.
This is probably driven by the fact that diverse insurance and financial services companies are more innovative: Deloitte found that employees’ ability to innovate increased by an impressive 83% when they felt their organisation was committed to diversity.
The FCA are also driving a greater focus on increasing diversity at a board level in order to reduce ‘group think’ and to support more effective decision making.
Davies research into diversity and inclusion best practices for 2021
At Davies, we wanted to understand the insurance industry’s approach to diversity and inclusion and conducted a survey within our network of leaders, HR and hiring managers across the UK. We found conflicting statements around recognition vs action:
- 87% of survey respondents said diversity and inclusion is a priority in their organisation
- But only 27% have clear diversity and inclusion goals that leaders are held accountable for
- 75% say their company has a diversity and inclusion policy or programme in place and 63% state there are gender pay gap goals and ambitions
- 38% of survey respondents do not know if their employer captures diversity of job applicants
Clearly, diversity and inclusion are a priority to leaders in insurance and financial services and the majority of the companies surveyed have diversity and inclusion policies or programmes in place for existing staff. However, the survey suggests that more needs to be done to make diversity and inclusion a present and essential part of these organisations’ recruitment process.
Creating a diversity and inclusion-led recruitment strategy
Changing the way they recruit has to be at the core of any firm’s strategy that aims to enhance diversity and inclusion.
This should start with building a greater corporate understanding, particularly amongst hiring managers of the intricacies of conscious and unconscious bias, the role it plays during the hiring process and how it can be eradicated. Ongoing training will help the entire company progress ensuring diversity and inclusion become central features in both the recruitment process and wider workplace culture.
This strategy also needs to extend to the recruitment partners that firms work with, they are experts in this process and may be able to help refine it.
5 diversity and inclusion tips for businesses:
- Showcase your diversity and inclusion efforts on your careers page and social media
- Assess your job adverts for gender bias and non-inclusive language
- Offer internships for underrepresented entry-level talent
- Measure and track the diversity of your workforce
- Set clear diversity goals for your recruiting efforts
Davies can support you in creating an inclusive hiring strategy, helping you recognise where barriers may exist between your company and diverse applicants, from developing the job description to where and how you market your role.
Focus on your future workforce
It’s vital that we attract a diverse workforce into entry-level roles and develop their skills for the future, without doing this, our current shortcomings will never be fully addressed as there will not be enough diversity to choose from when selecting the leaders of tomorrow.
Recognising the challenges facing the industry, Davies have developed a one-stop solution for recruiting and developing entry-level talent. We work with hundreds of businesses to select the best entry-level talent and enrol them on one of our comprehensive development programmes aimed at supporting their daily work and development to achieve CII qualifications.
We guarantee that at least 50% of the people we source will be female or from underrepresented minority groups. With over 1,000 learners working in insurance undergoing one of our programmes at present, we are well-positioned to help you. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.