Case Study: The Chubb Corporation—Reach Up, Reach Out, and Reach DownJan 11, 2006
Chubb’s diversity initiative, Reach Up, Reach Out, and Reach Down, is a comprehensive effort that focuses on building an inclusive culture in which employees are empowered to take charge of their careers while reaching out and coaching those around them. This is facilitated by 1) a rigorous talent-management system, including high-potential identification programs; 2) an array of learning and development offerings; and 3) powerful Employee Resource Groups—the Minority Development Council, Women’s Development Council, Gay and Lesbian Network, and Asian-American Business Network—which identify external business opportunities, serve as mentoring/ networking groups, act as a leadership development training ground, and regularly communicate with senior leadership and Chubb’s Board of Directors. A variety of programs target women of color specifically.
In addition to strong communication and senior leadership support, Chubb utilizes many formal accountability mechanisms to achieve success. Employees are responsible for driving the culture of inclusion. Specifically, all managers are expected to demonstrate diversity efforts as part of their annual performance evaluations, with ratings ultimately impacting their merit increases and bonuses. Senior managers set objectives around developing and promoting diverse candidates and report progress to the Chief Diversity Officer and CEO, who in turn report out to the Board of Directors. The managers who demonstrate the most advancement as well as those who achieve the best results for the year receive sizeable bonuses to re-invest in a diversity-related program. Finally, Chubb’s biannual employee engagement survey measures attitudes on work environment, including perceptions of diversity and inclusion.
While Chubb’s initiative has built an inclusive culture to benefit all employees, it has notably worked to advance women into leadership. Women’s representation at the senior vice president level increased from 16 percent in 2001 to 23 percent in 2005; at the executive vice president level, women’s representation increased from 0 to 17 percent during this time. Women of color representation improved as well, with vice president representation increasing from 4 percent in 2001 to 13 percent in 2004.