“At its best, DE&I is about change,” he says.
Diversity and inclusion
by Mia Wallace
Discussing his DE&I journey to date in an interview with Insurance Business, Mark Lomas (pictured), Lloyd’s head of culture, revealed his somewhat unusual route into the industry. All of his education and professional experience has been in music up to the time his daughter was born. The musicians he was working with were going on tour but, for him, he said, it was important to be with his partner and his son.
“To keep myself busy, I accepted a role with a disability charity,” he said. “I had no idea of business etiquette and was probably a pain in the ass! One day, the regional manager said that I should share my observations about his ways of working in the National E&D Committee. It looked like a free train ride, a sandwich and some tea, so I said ‘yes’. That was the critical moment that started my career at DE&I. A manager thought that there was something interesting in my way of seeing things and he offered me an opportunity ”.
Lomas’ strong 20-year DE&I history is steeped in outstanding achievements and teachable moments, and he gave special credit to the fantastic colleagues he had the opportunity to work with along the way.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that in a role like mine, where you’re tasked with creating more inclusive cultures for everyone, you need to be able to answer the question from anyone in the organization: ‘What do you have? done for me lately?’.
“This was the question I was asked at my first all-staff event when I spoke proudly about making the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index Top 100, but not how that translated into a real difference to people. “, said. . “I have never forgotten that moment and it reminds me every day that to do a great job as a diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) professional, you have to represent everyone. At its best, DE&I is about change.”
Another major milestone was the first DE&I award she won while at the Law Society, Lomas said, which really gave her confidence in her approach to managing DE&I and delivering as a change process. His role as head of DE&I at HS2 gave him the opportunity to shape a system and organization, and deliver on that through procurement and contract management processes.
“We accomplished a lot as the HR team at HS2 and it was gratifying to see our strategy progress across the industry,” he said. And now to Lloyd’s! It’s a fantastic opportunity with some real challenges. Eighteen (18) months later, I am pleased with our progress, both corporately and in the marketplace, but there is much more to do.”
Reshaping Lloyd’s approach to DE&I
Referring to how he came to join the insurance profession, he noted that he first experienced Lloyd’s in 2014, when as a consultant he participated in an inclusive contracting review. That gave him an appreciation of the market, its complexities and the cultural challenges it has faced.
“When I felt we had successfully delivered the strategy at HS2, I began to explore new opportunities that could affect positive change, so when the role of head of culture at Lloyd’s came up, I was very interested in putting my name on it,” he said. . “Insurance, especially Lloyd’s Market, is a fascinating place from a cultural perspective. There are almost 400 years of history, which we must respect and celebrate, while being transparent about it.
“That is the approach we have taken with our work on Lloyd’s role in the transatlantic slave economy, where the results of the investigation and response will be released in November. Beyond that is modern history and the changes we need to make to ensure the market can go digital to become smarter, faster and cheaper, along with the broader need to ensure the market embraces diversity, the new thinking, new skills and innovation to cope with changes. talent expectations.
insurance is left behind
The market is definitely making progress, he said: It’s very close to reaching its goal of 35% women in leadership, and it’s seeing greater diversity across many characteristics at all levels, including leadership. But even though it is catching up, it falls behind. Insurance lags behind other financial services when it comes to the diversity of its workforce, and behind many other industries in terms of perception of new talent.
“In a 2022 Cybil study, insurance ranked 10 out of 16 in terms of the most attractive industries for talent, and it likely only ranked well because it was part of broader financial services,” he said. “It is true that insurance is probably five to seven years behind the leading industries in DE&I, but I strongly believe that we will catch up in the next few years.
“I see evidence of improvements in our Markets, Policies and Practices (MP&P) performance and in our annual culture survey. So I am very positive about the future of Lloyd’s Market.”
The key to a good strategy
Looking at what Lloyd’s ‘cultural strategy’ has achieved, Lomas highlighted the key to implementing a successful strategy: A good strategy has to set a clear goal and aspiration, he said. Introducing goals may seem contrived, and what matters is the action behind them, but they help define what is “good.”
“Then you also need to establish how you will achieve the aspirations over time and how progress will be measured,” he said. “Critically, the expectation of higher standards, best practices, and an enhanced culture must be embedded into performance and the broader objectives of the organization. We all win if we collectively turn the dial of culture. Better availability and access to talent means better performing teams, more product innovation from diverse perspectives, and ultimately a marketplace where people want to come and work.”
Glastonbury for DE&I
Also critical to moving the dial in DE&I are industry-wide events such as the Dive In Festival, which Lomas described as the “Glastonbury for DE&I.”
“It’s an excellent insurance industry initiative that started in London in 2015 and has become a global phenomenon in almost 40 countries, with 35,000 participants and tuned-in participants from 97 countries,” he said. “The scope of Dive In is truly amazing. Collaboration is what makes Dive In such a profound initiative – it is a great feat that requires a lot of organization and willing volunteers from all over the world.”
This year’s Dive In theme is ‘Unlocking Innovation: The Power of Inclusion’. Lomas noted that this translates to the need for business leaders to understand the importance of diversity in creating innovation and business success. As with all things, he said, there is also a need for evolution.
“In Lloyd’s strategy, we talk about making the market a destination for global talent,” he said. “As part of this year’s Dive In, we will be running ‘Dive In to Reverse Mentoring,’ a program that showcases the opportunity for leaders to pair with talent from around the world to foster better understanding, new perspectives, and more effective ideas.
“Dive In has been wonderful in supporting education around DE&I and ensuring learning is delivered in impactful ways. The next step for Dive In is to have that impact throughout the year, so over the next two years, we will evolve Dive In by adding new elements without losing the essence of the festival. Exciting times!”
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