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Holistic evaluation can help companies create workforce diversity

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The commercial insurance industry can learn from other industries about how best to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, according to experts speaking at the 2017 Business Insurance Diversity & Inclusion Institute Conference on Tuesday in Chicago.

Experts said that it is imperative to make a business case for the importance of diversity and inclusion. 

“It’s great when people are passionate and understand the inherent value of diversity, equity and inclusion. It is also very crucial when we are talking about business to make a business case. We make a business case for everything we do whether it’s creating … an expanding market value, there is a business case for that and a strategy. We also have … what success looks like when we have a business case. In order for everyone to know that they have a role in diversity, equity and inclusion, people have to know their role, and that’s built by a strong business case,” said Alicin Williamson, Washington, D.C.-based principal at The Raben Group. 

Experts say common best practices for implementing diversity and inclusion are useful, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that will accommodate every organization. 

“There isn’t one silver bullet that will take care of your D&I issues. There are some companies that are better at it than others. There are companies who have spent a lot of money and resources and have not been able to move the needle,” said Juan Herrera, New York-based global diversity & inclusion (D&I) partner at XL Catlin. 

Experts say evaluating your company holistically is in an important first step. Kristen Weirick, vice president, talent acquisition and diversity & inclusion for AbbVie Inc., suggests consulting with a company that provides data, solutions and best practices for diversity-managements strategies.

Experts also champion strategies such as active diversity initiatives, education, interactive workshops, getting leaders to discuss biases, and feedback from the people working at these organizations.