RSA: The destiny of difference & diversity

By John Pinching
10 years ago difference was addressed with quiet platitudes but more recently the volume has been turned up as RSA's Gemma Jackson explains

Name: Gemma Jackson
Role: UK Diversity & Inclusion Lead 
Company: RSA Insurance

Insurers have come a long way over the last few years and there have been numerous encouraging developments in the D&I space, both within individual companies and across the sector. The industry continues to make progress in celebrating and promoting diversity and inclusion efforts, with most firms acknowledging key events such as International Women’s Day, International Men’s Day and Pride. 

More importantly, businesses are having honest and challenging conversations internally, which are helping build a culture of change. In addition to creating an inclusive environment, it is widely understood that, to thrive, organisations need to represent the diverse range of customers they serve. 

While we’re moving in the right direction there is still a long way to go and more focus must be placed on driving meaningful change and attracting talent from diverse backgrounds, cultures and communities.

At RSA Insurance, inclusion is not about box ticking, it is about ensuring that, when we say we want our people to bring their whole self to work, we make sure they have the freedom, the processes and the safety to be able to do just that. And it’s also about them understanding that their differences will not hinder their opportunities in any way.

Future proofing 

We’re working to better understand the make-up of our business and what it feels like to work for us. We are listening to our people and, armed with these insights, we are able to learn where improvements should be made.

We adopt a community approach through our employee resource groups who raise awareness and education, while helping to identify issues and support the development of new policies or action plans to address them. The outputs from these groups are invaluable, helping to drive change, improve inclusivity and provide safe spaces for underrepresented groups.

We also have external commitments to demonstrate the importance of diversity and inclusion, further driving accountability. For example, we’re signatories of the Women in Finance Charter, the Valuable 500 and the Race and Work Charter.

While we have made great strides in improving inclusivity, both our business and the wider industry still lacks diversity. This is a historic issue facing the insurance sector, as well as the wider financial services industry. Our efforts to improve inclusivity, however, will be a catalyst for greater diversity over time, opening the door to a variety of talent from different backgrounds. In addition, recruitment initiatives – such as our apprenticeship schemes and the 10,000 Black Interns programme – will help attract a more diverse range of talent.
 
Overall, the future is looking bright for diversity and inclusion in the insurance sector and, as the regulatory and social landscape changes, efforts, commitment and accountability in this arena will be elevated. Yes, there’s much to do, but we’re going in the right direction.
 

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