The Hartford: A Deliberate and Courageous Transformation (Practices)Mar 30, 2023
The Hartford, a Fortune 200 insurance company, has embarked on a journey of significant change born more than ten years ago when many companies were reimagining their futures in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Over the years, The Hartford has created a sustainable diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) culture by taking a whole-company approach—implementing accountability measures, addressing unconscious bias in systems that support talent management, and revising other processes and systems throughout its operations.
Its unique DEI strategy, which was accelerated and expanded in 2017, comprises board governance, CEO engagement, leadership accountability for the achievement of representation and pay data goals, and a commitment to the practices that encourage and enable all people to participate and achieve their full potential.
From the CEO to customer-facing employees and managers, The Hartford’s employees are actively engaged in planning and executing programs to drive DEI results. Its innovative business unit DEI councils help to design and cascade an organization-wide DEI agenda to all employees, creating customized plans tailored to the unique needs of each business unit.
The Hartford adapts to change and faces challenges head on. Before the pandemic, the company emphasized the importance of in-person interaction but also had many remote employees. That enabled the company to seamlessly shift to a largely remote and hybrid workforce during a time of uncertainty. Its hybrid and remote-work model aims to equitably include all employees regardless of where they work and provide flexibility.
To reinforce its culture of inclusion, the company also holds discussions on sensitive issues through Courageous Conversations Circles, which enable employees to respectfully exchange perspectives through open dialogue to better understand each other—even when they disagree. The program acknowledges that some employees’ experiences in and outside of work cannot be separated.
Highlights of The Hartford’s initiative:
- CEO Chris Swift is deeply involved in the initiative through his participation in Courageous Conversations and by receiving quarterly updates on the company’s DEI progress. Executives and senior leaders actively participate in many aspects of the initiative, such as sponsoring employee resource groups (“ERGs”) and business unit DEI councils.
- Leaders are genuine proponents of DEI as both a key to business success and driver of a company culture in which all employees can bring their authentic selves to work. Leaders and managers are accountable for their behaviors and talent decisions and their results are linked to their performance and compensation.
- ERGs play a large role in shaping The Hartford’s culture. ERGs have established and supported many of the initiative’s components, including programs that support the advancement of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. ERGs have provided leadership opportunities and contribute to the advancement of employees from marginalized communities.
- The Hartford places great value in its customer-facing employees, providing a robust pipeline for those workers to ascend into management and corporate roles if they so choose. The company looks to those employees to recruit talent and ensures that they can be included in DEI efforts through, for example, offering programming at numerous times to include those shifts.
Since 2010, women’s representation among those SVP and above increased from 18.4% to 42% (23.6 percentage points); among VPs and AVPs, it increased from 31.9% to 36.1% (4.2 percentage points). Since 2017, women of color’s representation among those SVP and above increased from 0% to 12% (12 percentage points) and among VPs and AVPs it increased from 1.9% to 4% (2 percentage points).
About The Hartford
The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits, and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity.
To learn more, download the full report on this Award-winning initiative.
Tune in below to Catalyst President & CEO Lorraine Hariton in conversation with leaders from The Hartford on their Catalyst Award-winning initiative. Their discussion illustrates how The Hartford is reaching their gender equity goals with intention and commitment—and how other companies can learn from them to ensure that #InclusionThrives.