Studies show that diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams when led inclusively and that firms deliver better financial results when they have women on their corporate boards and in the C-suite. So, why is it taking so long for women to belong equally?
To truly drive innovation and stay relevant in today’s rapidly changing world, insurance leaders cannot afford to overlook the power of diversity and inclusiveness (D&I) in thinking, experiences, ideas, backgrounds and abilities.
Here are three actionable ways to build the next generation of women leaders in insurance:
1. Improve college and market recruitment and hiring
Today’s college graduates are surrounded by diversity, and they expect to enter workplaces that embody those same values. For the insurance industry to attract new employees who have the creative, technology and customer skills needed to build the insurance workplace of the future, insurance companies must demonstrate their commitment to diversity, as manifested throughout the formal recruitment process, as well as leveraging personal relationships.
It is in insurers best interest to recruit more women with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM). While actuaries have always needed mathematics and statistics, just about every aspect of insurance is being transformed by digital technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and other computing-intensive business processes. It is also important that insurers recruit liberal arts majors for areas like underwriting. These graduates possess the necessary skills for sales, relationship management and creation of business solutions. The ability to reason and philosophize will be even more critical in the digital age, as more repetitive tasks shift to AI.
At the same time, insurance companies must drive accountability for D&I initiatives by removing unconscious biases from the recruitment process, recruiting balanced teams and hiring women from diverse backgrounds, skill sets and experiences. A way to enact this is to ensure there are diverse slates of both interviewers and interviewees, as well as holding leadership teams accountable for their team’s D&I profiles. This may include the need to widen the field when looking at recruiting from the marketplace so as to have a more representative pool of candidates reflective of insurance company D&I goals. Going to the same recruiting sources for diverse candidates just isn’t good enough anymore.