Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Award winner: Zurich's Maxine Goddard

D&I Maxine Goddard
Maxine Goddard, chair of the cultural awareness network at Zurich, picked up the award from Sian Barton

Following last month's Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards we caught up with all the winners. Today we feature the Race Equality Award winner, the head of sales operations and planning at Zurich Insurance, Maxine Goddard.

Can you explain the thinking behind the Zurich Cultural Awareness Network?

ZCAN’s mission is to support a culture of diversity, inclusion and tolerance by raising cultural awareness for our employees, communities and customers. We aim to enhance our cultural awareness across the organisation with respect to race, ethnicity, culture, religion and language.

Our purpose is to raise awareness of different cultures and beliefs and to promote and drive a more supportive and tolerant working culture within Zurich; adding new insights to the way we work and making changes to the way we operate and ultimately how we interact with our customers and within our communities.

Since launch what has the response/impact been?

Since ZCAN’s inauguration in 2018, employee engagement has grown year on year through various initiatives (intra-group initiatives, internal/external mentoring, school career fairs/mock interviews, work experience/apprenticeship/graduate recruitment, cultural events/calendar and joint industry/company events – The Network Of Networks, Insurance Cultural Awareness Network and Reach Society.

Where could ZCAN go next?

ZCAN is focussed on the following initiatives for 2020 and beyond:

Recruitment -  Working alongside Zurich’s D&I and HR teams respectively, to review current practices across Zurich UK (work experience/apprenticeship/graduate schemes and FTEs recruitment) to ensure that our hiring practices are reflective of the diverse communities and customers we serve.

Ethnicity Pay Gap -  Following the government’s Ethnicity Pay Reporting Consultation, Zurich UK is keen to review employee salaries across various locations and grades specific to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation. The aim is to understand if there are any prevalent discrepancies across our remuneration structures, and if recognised, identifying the requisite training and practices required to provide equitable pay practices across our UK businesses, and beyond.

Engagement -  ZCAN has always been active with respect to community involvement, and we are keen to increase these efforts in 2020 through increased engagement with our affiliated schools, charities and cross-industry groups. In addition, we will continue to support cross-group events/talks with Zurich’s WIN, Pride and DIG committees respectively, with the aim of creating a more inclusive environment for all employees.

Can you expand on why you think it is important to get involved in industry bodies like I Can and TNON and the mentoring of younger black, asian and minority ethnic individuals?

Involvement with industry groups has and will continue to be an essential aspect to ZCAN’s growth. Through such groups, we are able to benefit from the collective experiences and practices of their membership. This helps guide our current and forthcoming practices, initiatives and engagement.

How supportive is your employer in terms of raising the profile and boosting the acceptance of D&I across the business?

Zurich has been supportive with respect to promoting ZCAN and other D&I groups; Andrew Jepp (managing director, Zurich Municipal) is the ZCAN executive sponsor and he has been integral in guiding our initiatives and ensuring that we appropriate senior stakeholder engagement.

What was it like being a winner at the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards?

I am honoured to be the first recipient of the Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance award. While there is still a lot of work to do throughout the insurance industry to encourage inclusivity and diversity, it is encouraging to be a part of the growing awareness and importance around D&I within the insurance industry and the wider financial services.

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