Ahead of her session at Insurance 2025, Carol Geldard talks to Kimberley Dondo about why now is the time to improve your diversity and inclusion strategy
What will you be addressing to the audience Insurance 2025 audience and why?
In a nutshell, the fact that our industry needs to change and the part that being more diverse and inclusive can play in driving that change.
What insights will you be sharing with delegates during your panel session?
Having been through the process of developing our D&I strategy, we’ve found that inclusion is key. I’ll be talking about the practical things we’ve been doing to drive positive change in our organisation to reach that conclusion.
What is your background in building an effective Diversity and Inclusion strategy?
My background isn’t what might be the default expectation for someone talking about D&I - ie an ‘HR type background’. I think being part of building an effective strategy is less about your background per se, but more about your willingness to act as a visible role model and speak out and encourage and support others to do the same. My view is that for any organisation to build an effective D&I strategy, it can’t be seen as one function’s job – ie say something HR does – but needs to be embraced and embedded by leaders, at all levels, right across an organisation.
Why is it important that a Diversity and Inclusion strategy should be more than just a tick-box exercise?
If all you’re interested in doing is completing a tick-box exercise, then my question would be why even bother as it will achieve nothing…other than, of course, the obvious ‘box ticked’!
The focus for creating a D&I strategy can often be on improving the bottom line, but what other positive outcomes can it have?
I think ultimately every outcome directly or indirectly improves the bottom line. Succesful businesses need to be able to understand and respond to customer needs and attract and retain great people; put simply an organisation that’s diverse and inclusive, is more likely to be successful.
What impact can a diversified workforce have on the overall business?
Being able to appeal to a broader talent pool and create an environment that feels inclusive means you can attract the best and will get the best out of your people. People who feel more connected and engaged with what they’re doing have better job satisfaction, less stress and better mental health; an environment that’s inclusive helps you achieve that and given that 67% of people weigh diversity as a factor when deciding where to work, I think that speaks for itself.
Being able to better understand and respond to your customers’ needs is an absolute must if you want to develop your business, deliver great service and build customer loyalty. And given that ‘birds of a feather flock together’ – and usually act and think ‘together’ – more diversity of views and backgrounds result in more productive, creative and innovative responses to meeting those needs.
Why should attendees come along to the conference, where you will take part in the Diversity & Inclusion panel?
The world around us is changing, probably faster than ever before – both in terms of technology and ‘workforce expectations’ - and the conference provides a great opportunity to step-back and think about all those changes, without the usual distractions of the day job.
Carol Geldard will join our expert panellists discussing the importance of diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry at the Insurance 2025 event on 4 September 2018.