Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workforce is about empowering everyone to bring their unique skills, talents, perspectives and lived experiences to the table. It’s about creating an environment that encourages people to bring their whole selves to work — free from bias, fear or discrimination. A diverse, equitable and inclusive culture embraces genuine and productive connections across historically disconnected groups so everyone can develop and thrive.
Importantly, there is also a significant business case for DEI — research finds diversity in the workplace leads to better decision-making and enhanced innovation, resulting in a more engaged and productive workforce. A report from McKinsey also states a strong business case for gender, ethnic and cultural diversity in executive leadership, finding that companies with diverse executives are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability. Further, a report from Catalyst shows that diversity and inclusion helps reduce absenteeism and turnover, increases job satisfaction and reduces discrimination and harassment.
“Now more than ever, it is crucial that we take action to support the development of diverse, highly qualified employees and leaders, not only for today but for future generations,” Ryan said.
At Cigna, this commitment to DEI is critical at the earliest stage of professional development and must continue to the highest levels of leadership. Case in point: Cigna recently joined more than 80 leading U.S. companies, including Apple and Google, in encouraging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the ability to consider race in college and university admissions. The amicus brief argued that race-conscious admissions at universities play a vital role in developing a highly qualified, diverse workforce. Students benefit from diverse voices and peers — diversity is an important piece of higher education, fostering greater creativity, perspective and decision-making.
One thing is clear: There is much work to be done to foster and support DEI in education and the workforce. Beyond our recent action at the Supreme Court, Cigna is recruiting, retaining and developing historically underrepresented talent, and leveraging external partners and internal employee resource groups that help us achieve our DEI goals as part of our broader Healthy Society and Heathy Workforce ESG commitments.
Building Relationships To Recruit Underrepresented Talent
DEI and workforce mobility are at the foundation of our culture at Cigna, and we are proud of the actions we’ve taken to address racial equity and advance opportunity and mobility, highlighted in our recent recognition on Just Capital’s 2022 Workforce Equity and Mobility Top 100 List. At Cigna, these efforts start at the earliest stages of recruiting and workforce development. In 2020, we launched the Building Equity and Equality Program, a five-year initiative to expand and accelerate our efforts to support diversity, inclusion, equality and equity for historically underrepresented communities.
As a core part of this initiative, we work to build a pipeline of diverse, qualified talent who are empowered to grow and thrive within our organization, and we partner and build relationships with a number of external organizations that help us support and achieve our inclusion and advancement objectives.
Cigna’s talent acquisition team is on the ground at community events, colleges and universities, professional conferences, job fairs and embedded within community organizations to find the best and brightest talent — regardless of age, race, ethnicity, veteran status, sexuality or gender identity. For example, as part of our partnership with Hartford Youth Scholars through the Building Equity and Equality Program, Cigna donated funds for school supplies for underrepresented students and provided hands-on professional development trainings, one-on-one coaching and mentoring and mental health workshops — all while providing guidance and information about a future career path at Cigna.
Through the Building Equity and Equality Program, Cigna also works directly with a number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) — including Howard University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, Fisk University, Tennessee State University and Texas Southern University — to double down on our efforts to recruit Black students into our workforce. In addition to recruiting, we work directly with HBCUs to provide solutions and programming to support students’ financial health, mental and physical well-being and to provide career advice and onboarding support for new hires. Beyond this core group of long-standing partners, Cigna is working to build relationships with all 107 HBCUs across the country to build deeper relationships. Recently, we sponsored the inaugural Invesco QQQ HBCU Career Classic With HBCU Heroes and Cigna’s talent acquisition team attended to coach, recruit and hire students for open roles at Cigna.
Further, Cigna invests in national career conferences and expos across the country that connect our talent acquisition team with a wide range of historically underrepresented groups. In 2021, the Cigna talent acquisition team participated in the Forte Foundation MBA leadership conference for women, the Anita Borg Foundation’s Grace Hopper Celebration to help women and non-binary technologists succeed, the MBA Veterans annual career conference and the Disability:IN national conference and career expo, to name a few.
Read more at newsroom.cigna.com.