The definition of ‘diversity’ has evolved a lot over recent years, with the focus broadening from the issues faced by women to the inclusion of gender, ethnicity, age and other factors in the conversation.
Last year, as its annual awards, ANZIIF amended the name and criteria of its Women’s Employer of the Year category, which became Excellence in Workplace Diversity and Inclusion. ANZIIF CEO Prue Willsford says that although she was initially uncertain about this change, the submissions she received from the industry served as confirmation that it was the right choice.
“We go through a comprehensive review process of our awards every year, and we get all judges to provide feedback on what was ambiguous and difficult to mark in the submissions, and how they see the industry changing,” Willsford explained.
“A great example of this is that until last year, the Diversity award was actually Women’s Employer of the Year, and last year we changed that to become Excellence in Workplace Diversity and Inclusion.”
“I’ll be upfront in saying that I felt we hadn’t cracked the women’s issue yet, so I wasn’t too sure if changing it to ‘diversity and inclusion’ was in fact the right answer,” Willsford said.
“I was completely wrong. I was blown away by the quality of the submissions and their thoughtfulness, whether they were from the smaller firms who were doing some very clever things, or from the two major employers in the industry. It was refreshing, exciting and dynamic, and I’m very happy to say that I was proved wrong!”
Willsford said that the two “absolute standouts” for the category were the two largest insurance employers in New Zealand – IAG and Suncorp, the latter of which ultimately won the award. She says having the biggest companies lead the way on diversity is an excellent thing for insurance.
“To have the two largest employers in insurance genuinely demonstrate their commitment, concrete action and outcomes in a broad-based, inclusive way is fantastic,” Willsford said.
“Most people who work in insurance will work for either IAG or Suncorp at some point in their career, so that also means that they are a great incubator for those attitudes across the industry.”