Brokerage Ops the December 2023 issue

Building an Inclusive Workplace

When you get serious about diversity in your company, you’ll need to train your managers how to best find, hone and retain new kinds of talent.
By Ken Crerar Posted on December 1, 2023

It started with a desire, moved to aspirations and ideas, then evolved into plans that have now become realities. It’s both challenging and uplifting to see great ideals take on form and produce positive results.

Our initiative to introduce neurodiverse individuals to the realm of insurance is one of those success stories—one that is unfolding before our eyes with the help of Council staff and BroadFutures, a nonprofit that brings experiential learning to neurodiverse individuals so they can develop workplace skills. BroadFutures achieves this through paid internships, and The Council has been a proud sponsor of these young people for more than five years. It is the only paid internship program for young people with neurodiversity in the country.

Neurodiversity refers to neurological conditions, such as dyspraxia, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyscalculia, autistic spectrum disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and others that can affect memory, concentration or the way people process information. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 15-20 percent of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence. Given the prevalence of these conditions, the demand for programs such as BroadFutures is significant. Most existing internship programs do not address the needs of young people facing these types of challenges, which can significantly hinder their progress and the ability to maintain a job or stay in school.

I am proud to say that The Council was honored this fall with the BroadFutures 2023 Champion Award for ongoing and inspired dedication to building a diverse and inclusive workplace and championing the talents of neurodivergent young people.

It takes commitment to build accessible and inclusive environments that create a sense of belonging and connection, regardless of the worker’s background. I am proud to say that The Council was honored this fall with the BroadFutures 2023 Champion Award for ongoing and inspired dedication to building a diverse and inclusive workplace and championing the talents of neurodivergent young people.

But we’re not resting on our laurels. We are now expanding our partnership with BroadFutures to include a pilot program to help our member firms build out their talent pipelines to include neurodiverse interns and train managers who will work with these individuals and offer on-the-job intern coaching. While the recruitment piece is challenging for us all, we have found that having managers trained on awareness of workplace equity and appropriate accessibility accommodations is a critical component of neurodiversity inclusion. I encourage members who are interested in this pilot program to reach out to Julia Ruiz at Julia.Ruiz@ciab.com to learn more about collaboration in this area.

Early paid work experiences are the single greatest predictor of future success for young people with neurodiversity. With some training, support from BroadFutures and experienced Council staff, and goodwill, Council members can benefit from their commitment to a diverse industry.

Ken Crerar CEO, The Council Read More

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