In 2018 we established six global employee resource groups, supporting colleagues across the business. These focus on visible and invisible disabilities, gender, LGBT+, carers, race, ethnicity, faith, belief, culture, socio-economic background and age diversity, to shape and inspire the workforce of the future.
Each community is sponsored by two members of the Group Executive, ensuring that all members have Inclusion responsibilities. The Communities meet their Exec sponsor formally every quarter, however they attend and promote events throughout the year.
Over summer 2020, we listened to our employees from the black community and beyond following the death of George Floyd. The conversations were both emotional and challenging. It was the first time some of our colleagues had spoken so candidly about their lived experiences. Listening was difficult for many, but it was important and demonstrated that we had made some progress but not yet made real change.
In August, we launched our Black Lives Matter Action Plan. The action plan was developed in partnership with our Origins Community, Black Professionals Network, Group Diversity & Inclusion team to name a few. We published it both internally and externally to ensure Aviva was held to account on its commitments, with measurement and timeframes.
Our three areas of focus are: support our black colleagues, educate our people and act wider than Aviva. As highlighted, we have promoted this internally and on aviva.com.
1. Support black colleagues
- Thoroughly review our recruitment and promotion processes. Take positive action to promote opportunities to the black community.
- Commit to having at least one ethnic minority 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.
- 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 promote SpeakUp as a confidential way for colleagues to raise race issues.
- Run quarterly Safe Space sessions for black colleagues with the help of external experts.
- Take part in #100 Black Interns - helping black students across the UK kickstart their career in investment management.
2. Educate our people
- Start reverse mentoring. Black colleagues will be invited to mentor our senior leaders.
- Introduce annual anti-racism training for all our people.
- Introduce annual inclusion training for our Board and Group Executive Committee, run by external experts, during 2021.
- Continue to run Webinars hosted by The Diversity Practice on race and external insight for all our people.
- Appoint two independent external experts to join, and advise on, our Global Inclusion Committee by the end of 2020.
3. Act wider than Aviva
- Devote at least 5% of Aviva Foundation funds to organisations which support black and ethnic minority causes.
- Aim for at least 15% of Aviva Community Fund nominations to support black, ethnic minority and social economic disadvantaged communities by 2021.
- Honour our pledge to the Black North initiative - committed to the removal of systemic barriers negatively affecting the lives of Black Canadians. A better understanding of how diverse our organisation is will help us take more decisive and targeted action. As at September 2020, 45% of our people opted to complete diversity data - we aim to increase that to at least 52% at the start of 2021.
In the UK we will publish our ethnicity pay gap in 2021 and our targets to increase representation of people from ethnic minorities among senior leaders by 2021.
Leadership and development programmes
Working with the Diversity Practice, we have developed a bespoke ethnic minority leadership programme in the UK.
Launched in January 2020, our first 18 employees completed the course last year. In addition, line managers have received guidance on how to help support employees to continue developing their leadership skills.
Across our London and Sheffield offices, we have also set up our Origins intern programme, supporting younger generations from minority backgrounds to kick-start their career in financial services.
In 2018, eight of 20 interns successfully went on to secure future roles at Aviva and now over 90 interns have completed the programme, including a virtual one in 2020.
Black History Month
We also celebrated Black History Month last October. The objective of Black History Month is to raise awareness of Black History and celebrate Black culture, and we celebrated this through virtual means due to the pandemic.
Amanda Blanc, Chief Executive Officer of Aviva said: “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.”
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