Our business

Making inclusion integral

Making inclusion integral to how we treat our customers, clients, partners and people

The challenge

By making inclusion an integral part of how we treat our customers, clients, partners and people, we see better decisions made in a better workplace, and a workforce that is more representative of our customer base. Inclusion to us refers to the fair and equitable treatment of all – regardless of gender, age, race, disability or sexual orientation. Last year the Black Lives Matter movement focused our attention on the widespread inequality faced by the black community. All of us, as individuals and organisations, need to do more to address structural inequalities and confront all forms of racism and discrimination both in our industry and the wider world.

Solution

After the death of George Floyd in May 2020 we began a concerted programme of listening to the thoughts and experiences of our people with regard to racial discrimination, and diversity and inclusion more widely. Working with our Origins community, a group of colleagues who join together to celebrate cultural difference, and expert guidance from The Diversity Practice, INvolve and Business in the Community, we developed a three-pillar Black Lives Matter action plan on addressing racial discrimination: employee support, community action and providing education, including black history lessons and mandatory anti-racism training. Some additional actions include: taking a stand against Facebook’s policy on hate speech by pausing our advertising spend across its platforms (June 2020); Aviva Investors announcing that it would vote against company directors that failed to increase ethnic diversity at board level (January 2021); and becoming founder signatories of the CBI Race for Ratio and the Canadian BlackNorth Initiative.

Impact

Although we are starting to lay foundations to ensure we are supporting black colleagues, educating our people and challenging company and industry norms, we know this in itself doesn’t eradicate racism and discrimination in our society. Moving forward we are committed to driving systems-level change to fight against racism in the financial sector and beyond.

My goal is to help make Aviva better through our wonderful people. For that to happen, we need an inclusive culture that attracts and keeps a diverse workforce of talented people representing every age, race, ability, gender and sexual orientation, and supports them to be at their best.
Danny Harmer, Chief People Officer