The drive to attract, retain and develop the best talent means diversity and inclusion is a key driver and often portrayed as the centerpiece of company culture for many in the insurance profession. Websites proclaim that if you join that firm it will allow (urgh!) you to “bring your whole self to work”—promising a place of psychological safety for employees and potential new recruits.

Executive Summary

"Bring your whole self to work" is a phrase seen from companies everywhere. But, more often than not, it has a hollow ring to it and the promise of a place of psychological safety is rarely realized, according to Angela Peacock, global director of diversity and inclusion at PDT Global. "You can bring your whole self to work—just not, you know, that bit," she writes. Here, she explains how a true strategic plan, accountability and purposeful measurement hold the key for insurance leaders seeking to turn diversity's greatest myth into reality.

But all too often the phrase has a hollow ring to it and the promise is rarely realized. You can bring your whole self to work—just not, you know, that bit.

Imagine turning up at your new employer’s team event to find you’re the only one in formal attire. Everyone else is in jeans and sneakers. When you check the email later, you see that it does indeed state “formal,” but your colleagues already knew to ignore it. The “in crowd” knew the hidden rules of the game.

Anyone who has ever visited Lloyds in London will have noted the unwritten rule for “no brown shoes.” If you don’t get told and you turn up in the wrong footwear, you simply would not be accepted. Crazy? Tribal? Exclusionary? You bet. But it still exists, just slightly differently. And what’s worse is that we claim it does not.

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