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Empathy, employee support important D&I strategies among uncertainty



Insurance leaders around the world continue to find creative ways to prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives despite the collective social distance created by the pandemic.

Speaker at Business Insurance Diversity & Inclusion Institute 2020 virtual conference from NFP Corp., Zurich North America and Crawford & Co. shared the challenges they have faced in continuing to make D&I a priority during a global pandemic and how their workforce has come together to learn and share their feelings about the civil unrest

When the news of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis and the resulting the protests spread across the country, leaders of the NFP and the insurance company's D&I board collaborated to develop ways to communicate with employees about the events, including retaining a therapist. who has experience of trauma, was a colored person and could "relate more directly to the team," said Ginnette Quesada-Kunk el, New York-based vice president and chief of staff at NFP.

"We reiterated our core values ​​and also allocated resources to match contributions to organizations involved in social justice," Quesada-Kunkel said. "This is something that is extremely important to all of us."

Lauren Young, Chicago-based Head of Diversity and Inclusion in Zurich North America, said she believed her strategy was complete at the beginning of the year, but after the pandemic struck. and Mr. Floyd's death, she changed course to include "more conversation, more empathy, and more compassion for one another."

"Everyone just hurt, some more than others, and what we really needed to do was beat the recovery button," she said. The insurer decided to close all of its US offices on June 1

9 to mark Juneteenth.

The holiday gave employees time to "educate themselves about some of the battles that many faced as a result of COVID and systemic racism," she said. . Zurich also held a town hall with seven black leaders from across the organization describing their experiences and the challenges they have faced in their careers and personal lives.

"It was attended (online) by more than 3,000 employees in one hour," said Young. "It was very interesting to hear their insights … and it was a real turning point for our organization."

Zurich has since developed nine action items and created an executive D&I council consisting of Zurich employees as well as clients, brokers and society. partner. The insurer also emphasized empathy, explored unconscious biases and helped employees understand how to become better allies and advocate for each other to create a sense of belonging not only in the organization but in society, Young said.

Crawford & Co. has also made empathy a cornerstone of its communications and recently updated its mandatory unconscious bias training to reflect the current environment, says Bob Jett, Atlanta-based head of privacy protection and lead insurer at the insurer. In addition, the company has tried to find better ways to support its employees who are parents, especially single mothers and fathers who work, take care of and educate their children at home, he said.

NFP also focuses on families and engaged a homeschooling specialist to educate their parent employees on how to create a suitable school and work environment at home and how to structure their day, said Quesada-Kunkel.

"We have tried to gather very complete initiatives and tools to respond to the change in reality," she says. "We are also currently focusing on how we enable work in a way that works for our employees and our customers."

But these initiatives and strategies do not allow for change unless the organization knows its number and sets goals Quesada-Kunkel said.

"I think one of the best measures for inclusion is retention," Young said. “Can you keep your top talent, your different talent? Do you move them through the organization? What is their representation at the leadership level and how many of them are sponsored by executive leaders?

Kim Davis, Vice President and Head of D&I at NFP, moderated the session.

More insurance and news about work compensation on the coronavirus crisis here .


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