Black Lives Matter is a call to action, and we all have a role to play in building a fairer, more just world. I’m determined that Aviva does more to create a diverse and inclusive business, which in turn can better serve our customers and our communities. We will be judged by the actions we take, and it will take every one of us to make a difference, starting with me.
Deeply rooted issues are not going to change overnight. We listened to our people who shared their personal experiences and thoughts. The Origins Community, a group of colleagues who join together to celebrate cultural differences, helped develop an action plan to build on what Aviva was already doing.
Our three areas of focus were support, educate and act.
1. Support black colleagues
- Thoroughly reviewed our recruitment and promotion processes. Took positive action to promote opportunities to the black community.
- Audited our recruiters to make sure they use inclusive practices.
- For some hires, we continue to use search partners who specialise in diverse talent.
- We continue to promote our job opportunities through broader external recruitment channels that are more effective at reaching black talent.
- Introduced ‘licence to hire’ training so that all our managers and recruiters get extra diversity training before they hire new colleagues.
- Committed to having at least one ethnically diverse member on the Aviva plc board by the end of 2021. On 21 October 2020 we announced the appointment of Mohit Joshi as a Non-Executive Director.
- We look to increase racial and/or ethnic diversity on our Group Executive Committee, set clear and stretching targets and publish them within 12 months of making this commitment to Change the Race Ratio.
- Actively promoted SpeakUp as a confidential way for colleagues to raise race issues.
- Ran quarterly Safe Space sessions for black colleagues with the help of external experts, The Diversity Practice. We also piloted ‘Brave Race Conversations’ workshops. These provided a safe space for teams at Aviva Investors to discuss race-related issues freely.
- Took part in #10000 Black Interns in the summer of 2021 - helping black students across the UK kickstart their career in investment management. This led to three black interns joining us on the Aviva Investors Summer Internship programme.
- Enrolled six colleagues onto the EnCircle mentoring programme run by #TalkAboutBlack. EnCircle gives black asset management professionals in the early stages of their careers the opportunity to be mentored by senior black people in the industry.
- Our Aviva Internship Programme, for those with lower socioeconomic background, secured 26 Internships across all our businesses and functions.
2. Educate our people
- Launched our Reverse Mentoring Programme in April 2021, partnering members of the Aviva and Aviva Investors Executive Committees with black colleagues.
- Introduced annual mandatory anti-racism training for all our UK employees in February 2021. 94% of our colleagues had completed the training by December 2021.
- Dawid Konotey-Ahulu of #10000 Black Interns hosted the first annual inclusion training session for our Board and Group Executive Committee.
- We continue to run Webinars hosted by The Diversity Practice on race and external insight for all our people.
- Appointed two independent external experts to join, and advise on, our Global Inclusion Strategy in 2020 - The Diversity Practice and Dawid Konotey-Ahulu of #10000 Black Interns.
3. Act wider than Aviva
- Awarded £4.1m from the Aviva Foundation in 2020, including a £2.5m donation to the Red Cross COVID-19 hardship fund. Over 70% of these donations benefitted ethnically diverse communities.
- More than 15% of Aviva Community Fund nominations supported ethnically diverse and lower socioeconomic communities by 2021.
- We continue to honour our pledge to the BlackNorth initiative by committing to the removal of systemic barriers negatively affecting the lives of Black Canadians.
One of the more significant risks associated with your employees is not having the right people for the role. That does not necessarily mean you have the ‘wrong’ people, rather you may not be tapping into the full spectrum of talent that you could be in order to maximise your business or avoid tripping over in a more significant way.
Better understanding how diverse our organisation is will help us take more decisive and targeted action. As at February 2022, 85% of our people opted to complete their race/ethnicity data.
In the UK, we conducted ethnicity pay gap analysis and published our findings in a combined 2021 pay gap report. We also published our targets to increase representation of ethnically diverse senior leaders to 13% by 2024. Together we can live up to our purpose to be with you today for a better tomorrow and help make our organisation, and our communities a better place for everyone.
Education is key to making change and it’s encouraging to see how Black Lives Matter has inspired Aviva to want to learn more.By introducing targeted training and mentoring opportunities, combined with ongoing conversation, we continue to listen and learn at Aviva.
It’s been more than one year since George Floyd’s death, yet we’ve kept up with our commitments to the Action Plan. Thank you to those of you who have committed to playing your part in bringing this plan to life. While this may not be the end, we’re definitely not where we were a year ago! Continue to discuss but also listen, continue to learn but also reflect. True transformation happens when we’re consistent with our commitment.