For our Day of Understanding activities in February 2020, we chose Racial Bias and How to be an Ally as topics for discussion, using a diverse panel of executives to start the conversation by sharing their stories and experiences and inviting employees to openly share theirs. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and an opportunity to engage employees in ongoing meaningful dialogue on a variety of challenging topics was identified.
Follow-up discussions took place throughout the year and are ongoing, using a variety of formats including panel discussions, small team discussions, scheduled live Yammer sessions, and small group discussions. We’re calling these “Conversations Worth Having.” A toolkit including resources, templates, videos, tips, and conversation starters was developed to assist leaders with having these conversations. The panel discussions were recorded so that employees could view them later if they were unavailable at the scheduled time.
Attendance at both panel events was very high. The second panel event, focused on Social Injustice and Steps to Making Change, was the highest-attended live desktop event in the company in 2020. Both recordings were viewed by thousands of employees. In the quarter following the Day of Understanding panel, the company’s overall Diversity score rose to its highest point since the measure was put in place. Feedback from employees reflected appreciation for the open, honest sharing. They reported increased trust in leadership and gratitude for the vulnerability displayed. Employees expressed that they had been feeling that these topics were off-limits in the past, and shared a sense of relief that they could be their authentic selves at work.
State Farm strives to be known for our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We are stronger and better together when we seek the broadest perspectives, invite fresh, new ideas and encourage healthy, respectful debate. But these are just words. We make this real when we each commit and empower ourselves to continue to nurture an environment where diversity and inclusion are welcome and expected in everything we do. Our customers and associates deserve nothing less.