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Category: Blogger's Corner, Achievements, Business, strategies, Opportunity
Pauline discusses the importance of diversity and her vision for Diversity & Inclusion at Lloyd’s.
Q: Welcome to Lloyd’s! Tell us about your role and your vision for Diversity & Inclusion here. Why do you think it’s so important for the organisation?
I’m the Head of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at Lloyd’s. That’s really focusing on how D&I can play a part in helping to achieve the long-term strategies and business objectives of the organisation. Here at Lloyd’s that means driving innovation, accessing new markets and attracting and retaining the best talent as outlined in Vision 2025. It’s an exciting opportunity. Lloyd’s has not had a D&I focus before and I believe that it is a central part of our Vision. I also work with Inclusion@Lloyd’s – the Market-wide initiative for Diversity and Inclusion - and support their agenda.
My vision is to globalise the D&I space. Lloyd’s has been really successful for the past 327 years and of course we want to continue that success for the next 300 years. The difference is that the world has changed significantly. If we want to continue to be successful, to grow our businesses globally in new markets, we need to innovate and adapt to the changes in the world around us. D&I is one element that can help us to do this. I am keen for D&I to become a part of the DNA of Lloyd’s, enabling our people to perform to the best of their ability. To do this we must integrate D&I into how we do business and recognise the value of diversity of thought.
My objectives are to ensure we have the knowledge, tools and resources to create an engaged and inclusive culture, one that supports more diverse teams in driving innovation and creativity for improved business results. Having Inga as the CEO, who has a real commitment to D&I and understanding of the business imperative, is core to achieving that goal.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in convincing people of the business case for Diversity & Inclusion? Have you seen a change in attitudes?
The biggest challenge is having people recognise that diversity applies to them too; that it is no longer two-dimension or about somebody else, diversity is an organisation-wide issue. But I do think attitudes are changing, for example child-care responsibilities are increasingly being shared equally between both parents, with greater legislation backing this up and organisations are adapting to meet this demand with better flexible working policies and greater wellbeing support for families. However, overall there are still areas of diversity where we have a long way to go. Recognising ‘invisible’ diversity is crucial, for example there is still a huge stigma with some types of disabilities, especially mental health and stress. We still have a long way to go to tackle stigmas like these in the workplace.
Q: What’s the biggest D&I challenge you’ve faced in your career?
I’ve always known that I fit into different boxes of diversity. Firstly, I’m a woman. Secondly, I’m black. If you talk to me for long enough, most people will realise that I have children, that they are 18+ and that I was a young single mother. There are lots of opinions that someone might form about me because of those facts, often they don’t even realise they are making them. This is known as unconscious bias and we all have them. Addressing other people’s biases can be the toughest obstacle to overcome, especially if the person in question is oblivious to their own biases.
I’ve now achieved a high level of success within my sector but sometimes people see one part of me and make a judgement before they know any of my other skills. In the earlier stages of my career I allowed people to make their own assumptions about my family situation because I was worried about the biases that might be out there. Now I understand that my experiences have made me who I am today, and in turn those experiences have led me to some of the most exciting opportunities within my career to date, such as sitting on an Advisory Board for ‘Girl Up’, a United Nation Foundation organisation.
Q: What impact do you see initiatives such as Dive In Festival having on the insurance and financial services industry?
Dive In was a fantastic week-long initiative that gave a much needed voice to D&I. Until Dive In there was a varied level of awareness for D&I at different levels across the market and the festival was the first step in drawing a line in the sand. This is the first time that we’ve been able to shout loudly about the value of D&I and to really open people’s eyes to the business case.
An initiative such as Dive In has the power to really touch a number of individuals. We’re not talking about a small leadership team now, we’re talking about 34,000 people across the Market!
Following the success of our first festival I’m really excited that we have committed to another festival in 2016, this gives us a platform to continue the conversation and create even more learning opportunities with a wide range of educational and inspirational speakers. I encourage people to look at the Dive In website, to get involved and take forward the conversation on action for diverse and inclusive workplaces in their own organisations.
Q: How can people get involved in D&I initiatives and network groups?
Several companies across the market have employee networks which are groups set up for employees with similar backgrounds or interests. These are great ways for people to get involved. These groups offer a great chance to explore different ways of thinking as well as help to educate others.
At Lloyd's we have four Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) on Workability, LGBT, Women and Culture. They are open for everyone, and you do not have to fit a group to participate. In addition, people can drop me an email at email@example.com. I am keen to hear ideas from those across the market about ways we can make changes together.
D&I is not an exclusive club, it's about sharing experiences and helping each other on a journey. That's why it is important for us to highlight and celebrate role models – those who have achieved success at all levels. Diversity and inclusion is for each and every one of us and here at Lloyd's we’re open for business.
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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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