Engaging Men as Allies
At Liberty Mutual, diversity is about all of us and inclusion requires all of us. To create a diverse and inclusive workplace, we need everyone all in. We know that men serving as allies can help strengthen Liberty’s D&I efforts and increase collaboration across differences. We wanted to find an effective way to let men know they have a crucial role in this work and provide tools to help men become more effective allies.
We started by intentionally focusing on increasing gender collaboration skills through a six-week immersive online learning pilot and with gender collaboration dialogues in partnership with our women and male allies ERG, [email protected]
In 2014-15, we held listening sessions with male employees across our offices. These sessions informed our Men as Allies initiative.
We launched Men as Allies in 2016. This ongoing initiative includes learning resources and actionable steps to help men increase their D&I and collaboration skills. A dedicated intranet site and discussion forum provide spaces to learn, act and share ideas around allyship.
- Liberty’s first Men as Allies Summit was held in December 2017. This event was an all-day, employee-only learning experience. Eight of our senior leaders, including Chairman and CEO David Long, attended and shared their stories.
- David Long’s directs sent personal email invite to their top-ranking male leaders asking them to attend.
- Speakers included gender collaboration experts and Liberty employees.
- Highly interactive event included breakout sessions with small group discussions, both among men only and with female dialogue partners.
- Resource takeaways, including ten actions male allies can take to help create a more inclusive workplace.
- Session participant surveys were used to assess men and women’s view of current gender collaboration. Results were shared at the summit and the gaps in scoring were utilized to demonstrate differences in point of view. Seeing the gaps was deeply motivational for the men.
- A successful Men as Allies Summit with 450 men and women attendees. When asked if the Summit was a valuable use of their time, the response was a 4.58 out of 5 rating (Strongly Agree)
- Participants rated “I understand the business case for being an ally” a 4.62 out of 5.
- Increased participation and discussion on our Men as Allies intranet discussion forum
- Increased attendance at [email protected] and other ERG and gender-focused events
- Best practice that has helped shape our most recent initiative, Race & Ethnicity Collaboration
- Watch highlights from the 2017 Men as Allies Summit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdClYYQj4Ro&t=35s
In 2019 we are building upon what the Summit started. This includes:
- Launch of the Men as Allies Council in 2018. Members are men and women who support strategies and rollout of Men as Allies activities across all lines of the business. Currently, they are working to expand support of allies joining ERGs and addressing issues beyond gender collaboration, like race & ethnicity and LGBTQ+ collaboration.
- Active posting and sharing on our Men as Allies intranet discussion forum.
- Men as Allies discussion guide with videos, reflection questions and calls to action. Used by volunteers to facilitate groups of 10-20 people.
Attracting, retaining and advancing women at all levels is critical for any company that wants to succeed in today’s global marketplace. Initiatives like Men as Allies and Race & Ethnicity Collaboration, as well as the work of our ERGs and allies are crucial. We’ve made great progress in the last six years, though like other companies who have taken the CEO Action for D&I pledge, we still have more to do.