African Caribbean Inclusion Group
African and Caribbean employees at AIG see the least career progression and are concentrated in support functions. Initial discussions with employees established the need for an employee resource group (ERG) and the African Caribbean Inclusion Group was created in 2013.
The network focuses on creating sustainable change through cultural diversity, personal development and talent acquisition and retention. This is achieved by improving members’ skill sets, sharing best practice with other financial services organisations and facilitating dialogue and awareness of issues around race diversity.
The initiative is employee-driven with the founder sourcing senior management and executive support as part of the founding team, including from the CEO who has recently been appointed as executive sponsor. The CEO has also championed initiatives such as unconscious bias training for middle management and mentors three network members.
The network has worked closely with AIG management and the HR and Diversity & Inclusion teams on issues including unconscious bias, middle management training, recruitment processes, exploring ways of capturing diversity data and the targeting of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) training opportunities.
The network has explored the development of emerging leaders and provided opportunities for members to develop and harness skills that are crucial to career progression. This has included a pilot mentoring scheme with KPMG, which has facilitated seven mentoring relationships, and an emerging leaders event attended by over 100 people from 20 financial organisations.
The network ran a two-week work experience programme with 11 students from the Harris Academy and held a one-day career development workshop for over 400 students to advise on insurance careers, personal branding and interview presentations. It also leads a university insight day with involvement from HR graduate recruitment and is tracking the rate of applications from students who took part.
The work experience programme is planned to run again this year to continue building a BAME pipeline, and feedback from students will be used to enrich the student experience. Student feedback is also being used to further develop the insight day.
The emerging leader event will be expanded into a series with expanded panellists and debate on how to share best practice and drive change. The progress of employees involved in the cross-company mentoring is tracked through feedback and follow-ups and AIG is looking at expanding the scheme further.
In the next year, the network aims to have between four and six projects which align with the network objectives and to implement a member resource pool/focus group. It is hoped these will increase member attendance by 150% and member engagement by 200%. The network has also received an annual budget to implement strategies and ensure sustainability and longevity.