Enterprise-wide Inclusion and Diversity Priorities Set Forth by Willis Towers Watson’s I&D CouncilRetaining and attracting talent remain at the forefront of employers’ minds, with inclusion and diversity (I&D) representing one of their top concerns. The Willis Towers Watson 2019 Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey: Inclusion and Diversity found that 73% of employers have actions planned to communicate their I&D initiatives pertaining to workplace culture and policies in the next three years. Willis Towers Watson is certainly part of this 73%, however, it’s not so much an initiative but rather a fundamental principle incorporated throughout everything that we do.
With that being said, what’s a company without some written rules and objectives? Thus, we do have three, enterprise-wide I&D priorities that we integrate into our global framework:
1. Build a robust pipeline for underrepresented talent.
2. Meaningfully increase the level of overall diversity—including the number of women—in leadership.
3. Promote an inclusive culture, one that respects each other’s differences and celebrates what’s unique about each of us.
With over 45,000 colleagues serving more than 140 countries and markets, Willis Towers Watson emphasizes the importance of working together as one team to better serve our clients. By default, this one-team approach is already quite diverse simply given the global-nature of the company. Where we differentiate ourselves, however, is by celebrating these cultural differences.
Our Global I&D Council, led by members of our business and functions, define our I&D priorities and determine the vision to drive the biggest impact. This council truly sets the standards for our I&D initiatives. We have four, geography-led councils which translates our priorities for each region, making sure to incorporate local perspectives that deliver the greatest impact to each of our offices. With members from various businesses and functions, these councils ensure that our I&D priorities are directly embedded within our ongoing performances across the world. We even have a Global I&D Calendar that marks certain diversity-related topics and events that are coming up, such as World Mental Health Day, PRIDE, International Women’s Day, Black History Month and International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Willis Towers Watson also has inclusion networks, such as Gender Equity LGBT+, Multicultural or Young Professionals, working to recruit, retain and develop underrepresented talent. These networks are led by two local and/or global executive sponsors who promote the mission of their network, working to better connect and educate our employees, clients and local communities. The Multicultural Network, for example, aims to promote the various races, ethnicities, religions, languages and cultures that are represented throughout our organization. In 2019, we launched an initiative to build local Posse relationships in 10 cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Metro NY, Miami, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. One key goal of our partnership with the Posse Foundation is to increase the pipeline of diverse talent within Willis Towers Watson by having Posse Scholars apply and ultimately get accepted into our internships and open positions.
In regards to aviation specifically at Willis Towers Watson, our Aerospace team has supported the IAWA for many years, taking on the shared mission of advancing women leaders throughout the industry, with our former Airport Practice Leader, Melissa Harder, having been an active member prior to her retirement last year. Given Melissa’s avid involvement, a scholarship was created in her honor and will be granted to female aviation students annually to financially assist them with their studies. Karen Larby, our Transportation Industry Director of Strategy & Planning, will now assume Melissa’s role with the IAWA going forward. We’re thrilled to continue this partnership.
Willis Towers Watson recognizes the importance of an inclusive work environment, one that allows each colleague to not only feel heard and valued, but ultimately respected. At the end of the day, it’s the employees that make or break an organization. Thus, upper management must ask themselves: what does my team need? To which the answer is simple, really: they want to feel welcome and included at their workplace; they want to know that they have equal opportunities available to them; and they want to be paid fairly for the work that they do. If those wants and needs aren’t enough to motivate C-Suite execs to keep I&D at the forefront of their minds, research over the last 10 years has also shown that I&D positively impacts an organization’s bottom line. In short, it’s a smart business decision, one that Willis Towers Watson is proud to successfully champion.
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