In State Farm CEO Michael Tipsord’s 2020 Founder’s Day address, he committed to creating forums for internal dialogue as a way to provide support for employees so they feel seen and heard, and their experiences are recognized. In his message, he also called on leaders to continue Conversations Worth Having by creating spaces for employees to have meaningful discussions.
In an effort to create those opportunities for ongoing dialogue and meaningful discussions, the D&I team has coordinated live Yammer conversations, executive listening sessions, panel discussions and small group dialogue meetings. As another opportunity, employee videos are being created to encourage ongoing dialogue that will build trust, encourage compassion and open-mindedness, and reinforce the State Farm commitment to a culture of diversity and belonging. In these videos we’re calling Stories Worth Sharing, different employee groups share their lived experiences, providing opportunities for employees to have more open, honest, and empathetic conversations and better understand the experience of others. Discussion guides, including conversation starters, message points, and other resources will accompany each video to aid in ongoing dialogue. The first set of videos centers on the lived experiences of Black/African American employees.
Feedback for the first set of videos has been overwhelmingly positive. Employees have shared that their eyes were opened, they learned, that telling the stories was important. Many expressed that they could relate, and felt relief that these topics are being openly discussed and shared.
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.