CNA's approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Senior VP of HR explains the company's vision and strategies for 2022

CNA's approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Insurance News

By Surina Nath

Every organization has its own approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Some have been working on implementing initiatives for years and others are still getting their feet wet. Either way, the insurance community has been working diligently to improve workplace culture.

Heather Giordano, senior vice president of human resources at CNA, sat down with Insurance Business to discuss the organization’s unique approach to DE&I.

“We have a clear DE&I vision which all our initiatives are built on, and several years ago we introduced that vision to all our employees globally,” she said. “As we move forward, that vision will continue to sit at the center of everything we do, from recruitment to talent development, and benefits.”

Giordano explained that CNA’s vision is anchored around building an inclusive workplace culture that celebrates difference, enabling everyone to do their best work.

“It is really the translation of our vision to action that makes our approach unique,” she emphasized. “We have a structure in place that truly unites and mobilizes senior leaders in the form of a DE&I council, a team of resident DE&I subject matter experts, and a highly diverse spectrum of colleagues across the entire enterprise.

“Having that three-pronged approach has worked well for us because it bridges together DE&I thought leadership, employee perspectives and senior leaders, accelerating large-scale change.”

With a focused vision and comprehensive internal structure, CNA’s employees are able to mobilize DE&I initiatives together.

Giordano mentioned that understanding the difference between diversity and inclusion is vital to the organization’s strategy.

“Simply having a variety of different people in an organization is not a magical path towards greater performance,” she said. “A diverse workforce is a good start, but fostering inclusion in the workplace is the real driver.”

There are so many factors that influence a workplace culture, including comprehensive rewards programs, HR policies, and communication strategies. They are all essential to create an environment where every employee feels supported.

“If I think about trends in the industry, the shift from thinking primarily about representation is so important,” Giordano continued. “There has been a collective recognition that we need to pay close attention to inclusion. Ultimately, this will result in a bit of segmentation between employees who do this well and those who are still trying to figure it out.”

CNA has made targeted investments to help diversify leadership ranks and strengthen inclusive leaderships skills, which is helping accelerate highest performing talent within the ranks.

“Intentional talent management and mentoring programs are helping align everyone’s values,” she said. “Building an intuitive recruitment process is also critical component of our efforts.”

“Creating a company of allies is the phrase of our DE&I vision,” Giordano added. “I am very excited to continue the journey towards institutionalizing allyship across the company and create bold conversations about DE&I both within and outside the workplace.

“We stand up for one another, listen to each other, and explore different perspectives in pursuit of being an organization where all of our employees feel not just accepted, but that they belong.”

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