Talking Diversity & Inclusion with Teresa Bentley: Part 1
Diversity and inclusion is one of the big topics in today’s business world. We chatted about some of the key issues with Teresa Bentley, who is currently leading the London Market Group’s (LMG) Talent and Diversity Programme. This is the first of a two-part interview in which she shared her experiences and insight.
Teresa Bentley, is a Psychology MSc and Technology Management MBA and a qualified independent change and transformation professional.
At London Market Group, Teresa is responsible for the award-winning London Insurance Life (LIL) talent attraction campaign and has been personally recognised for her contribution to talent and diversity. She recently received a Chartered Insurance Institute Public Trust Award and the 2018 London Market People Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award for her work at the London Market Group.
What is diversity and inclusion and why is it important to the LMG?
The LMG’s London Matters reports published in 2015 and 2017, highlighted the need for the London specialist insurance market to attract new and more diverse talent into the market, to remain relevant to its increasingly international client base.
A subsequent report on talent identified that the London market tended to ‘fish’ for talent in the same ‘pool’. This was not only limiting access to new talent, but also reducing the diversity of the talent it attracted. Armed with these findings, the LMG set up a programme tasked with building a diverse, dynamic workforce drawn from people with different thinking and a range of ages, gender, ethnicity, skills and backgrounds.
What are the biggest diversity factors?
Without diversity of thought, personalities, experiences, cultural and social backgrounds and skills, there is a danger that ‘group think’ prevails, which stifles innovation and fresh thinking. Having a diverse workforce encourages a diversity of ideas and problem-solving skills, that are vital to business success when operating in a fast-changing and international marketplace.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers to entry for the industry?
Historically, the London market has tended to attract talent via tried and tested routes and via people already working in the market. This situation has contributed to the London market having an image problem, that it is dull and traditional in its outlook.
Many people also mistakenly associate insurance with personal insurance - call centres and meerkats - rather than the complex commercial risks that the London market covers. We are keen to dispel this image and demonstrate that the market is changing fast, and that it offers a variety of exciting career opportunities that suit a wide range of different personality types and skills.
What are your biggest challenges when looking at diversity and inclusion, particularly in the London market?
There is a lack of diverse senior role models to encourage and nurture diverse talent in the market. This can lead to a lack of understanding of what action needs to be taken to make working life in the London market more inclusive to all.
What are you implementing or planning on implementing to negate these barriers and challenges?
Two years ago, the LMG launched the London Insurance Life (@LIL) talent campaign. It was designed to interest a new generation of young people in a career in working in the London market and to change their preconceived ideas. It’s a true market collaboration as @LIL is run by the LMG and supported by market ‘ambassadors’, who are young people who work in the London market and help to promote it and the range of career opportunities it offers. We have 130 volunteer ambassadors who are relatable role models, helping to attract a new generation of diverse talent into the market.
The @LIL campaign uses social media channels that are integral to young people's lives (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), to change perceptions about working in the insurance industry and demonstrate that the London market is a vibrant, inclusive place to work and to promote entry-level job opportunities.
There is also little point in attracting new and diverse talent if the market isn’t open to recruiting and retaining this talent. This is one of the reasons that we launched our diversity in action showcase series. It delivers free events aimed at London market hiring managers and HR professionals. The goal is to provide inspiration in how they can recruit and retain diverse talent.
These events are very well received and are attended by representatives from numerous market firms. 93% of attendees to the events said that they felt inspired by the event.
More to come
We’ll be publishing the second part of this interview next week.
In the meantime, Interim Partners would welcome the opportunity to discuss any or all aspects of your firm’s diversity and inclusion programme. We have a cohort of experienced interim managers like Teresa who can deliver a succinct programme around your requirements.