February 25, 2021

How Your Diversity & Inclusion Plan Can Positively Impact Recruiting

by Mary Newgard

Here are the top two statements insurance agencies said to me in 2020:

  1. “We need to find top talent.”
  2. “I want to talk with you about Diversity & Inclusion in our hiring process.”

The events of last year spurred many insurance agencies toward a renewed focus on Diversity & Inclusion. Prior to 2020, I sensed most agencies were simply trying to construct a plan, and others admitted it was collecting dust on the shelf. Following the death of George Floyd, calls for racial justice, equity, and gender inclusion have spurred agencies to go deeper on the subject. Now their goal is to design a meaningful plan that impacts their business on a daily basis.

Creating a Diversity & Inclusion strategy is one thing. Implementing it in all aspects of your agency is another. A critical part of integration is in the hiring process.

Recruiting is the front-line process that creates brand awareness and engagement. To source, attract, hire and retain top talent, your Diversity & Inclusion program must move to the center stage.

‘Creating a Diversity & Inclusion strategy is one thing. Implementing it in all aspects of your agency is another.’

Find Candidates You Want Using Data Analytics

The first thing the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) points out in How to Develop a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative is knowing what you have will build a more diverse workforce. When is the last time you analyzed data in your HRIS or CRM?

  • Run reports in your applicant database to see where you fall short on the diversity spectrum. Even a basic system should allow you to filter based on age, gender, race, and ethnicity.
  • Set goals to proactively increase the number of diversity recruits by position, location, and discipline.
  • Compare your data to local, state, and federal workforce reports to remain competitive with market hiring trends.

Join Industry-Wide Initiatives to Boost Your Hiring Exposure

Two heads are better than one, right? Well, how about thousands of heads coming together to accomplish the same goal? In their article Diversity & Inclusion In the Insurance Industry, the Insurance Information Institute lists a number of organizations you can join forces with to drive diverse hiring.

  • Insurance company partners. Learn more about their diversity programs. Think creatively about joint initiatives to advertise and attract new people to the insurance industry from diverse backgrounds.
  • You can’t spell community without UNITY. Organizations like The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, which holds the annual Women in Insurance Conference, as well as the IIABA have numerous cooperatives that focus on empowerment and representation.

Connect and get involved with their programs, events, and ongoing endeavors.

Representation Online and In-Person Matters to Job Seekers

S&P Global Market Intelligence published a series of articles in November 2020 about the insurance industry’s lack of diversity.

One S&P Global Market Intelligence article, Female Insurance Leaders Work Against Odds To Open Doors For Other Women, reveals that less than 25% of executives at large insurers are women.

“Historically, you’ll look across industries and see that women have been underrepresented for a long time,” Anita Fox, director of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, says in the article. “We’ve talked about the glass ceiling for a long time.”

The consensus among the industry is that representation and promotion are keys to creating diversity, now and for future generations.

  • Interviews are an invitation for job seekers to experience your agency’s culture. Create on-site itineraries where candidates meet diverse employees and hear diverse voices and perspectives.
  • Share your Diversity & Inclusion policy. Give insight into how leaders AND employees create an inclusive and equity-based environment. Highlight ways a new employee can join the conversation and make an impact in future initiatives.
  • Cut to the chase with career progression. It’s not cliche to talk about the glass ceiling. You work to shatter that along with unconscious bias, systematic racism, and other issues that prevent true inclusivity. Give stats on employee retention, career advancement, and more.
  • Let your light shine on social media. Your CEO should record (rather than write) the agency’s Diversity & Inclusion pledge for YouTube. Let all of the aforementioned work (community activism, joint partnerships, and more) be displayed online and shared by your employees.

“Ask the Insurance Recruiter” is a monthly column written by Mary Newgard, Partner and published in partnership with Insurance Journal Magazine. Visit Insurance Journal Magazine’s website for a complete list of previous articles. For questions and comments, email Mary at mnewgard@csgrecruiting.com


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