Industry must take ownership of driving D&I change: Aubert

The London market must take accountability for driving real change in diversity and inclusion (D&I) and make its efforts “more than just ticking boxes”, Willis Towers Watson GB head Nicolas Aubert has said.

Speaking to The Insurance Insider ahead of the 2018 Dive In festival, Aubert said the awareness around the importance of D&I had grown massively in the past few years, but the market needed to act on the information it has to hand.

Rather than ticking boxes, “what we really need to focus on is the connectivity between those boxes”, he said.

The market has matured in its thinking about D&I, Aubert noted. It is starting to share ideas and information on how to improve diversity, while keeping one eye on the fact that a well-structured, well-informed D&I policy gives any company a competitive edge in talent acquisition and retention.

A big part of progressing the D&I agenda is equipping employees with information and tools to encourage a more inclusive workplace, Aubert said.

As an example, he pointed to Willis’ mental health champions, a cohort of 80 employees who have received training on how to support colleagues who may be struggling with mental health issues. A further 60 people are signed up for the next round of training.

“These people are recognised in the company as the first point of contact for talking about mental health,” Aubert said. “So this is not only about recognising that mental health is a real issue, but also truly equipping our colleagues to help with that and creating a supportive work environment.

“It’s just a small example of a new form of maturity in our approach to D&I.”

As they gear up to the Dive In festival, Aubert said London market firms needed to think in detail about what they want to achieve in their D&I efforts and how. 

Willis has five internal networks which are central to its D&I effort – workability; women and supporters; LGBT+; multicultural and young professionals.

“In each of the networks we are trying to refine what we want to be, what we want to do, to be more specific,” Aubert said. “That is how we can start driving real change.”

He added: “I think now this is really about making sure that we [as a market] are truly taking ownership of driving change. You can always look at metrics, and there is the awareness, now it has to be about the drive.

“When you know what the problem is, then this is your time to take accountability and manage it.”

Dive In is the festival for diversity and inclusion in insurance, taking place from 25-27 September across the globe. For the full list of events and registration, visit the Dive In website.