Psychological safety is key to allowing employees to thrive

To further systematise If’s work and to ensure real change, where diversity and inclusion-related thinking and actions become fully integrated into actual day-to-day operations, Ran Lavie was appointed as If’s first Diversity and Inclusion Manager in 2020.

With a role that is both very strategic and hands-on at the same time, days never become routine for Ran Lavie, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at If. Relationship-building is a natural part of a job that demands cooperation with most parts of If, and the activities vary from deep-diving into academic literature, reporting and conducting measurements internally within If, to establishing focus and exploration groups across the organisation, and working on how If can appeal to a more diverse group when we are recruiting – to mention a few.

Diversity and inclusion maturity model

The need for the systemisation and creation of a structured approach to this area has resulted in a diversity and inclusion maturity model that will lead the way in 2021.

‘The maturity model depicts If’s current state and can also be seen as a wide roadmap that shows If’s step-by-step approach to becoming a more diverse, equal and inclusive company, and secures a consistent way of sustaining a deep and meticulous change within our company’, says Ran Lavie.

He describes the model as the foundation for an organic process that will grow and become a natural part of more and more parts of If’s business.

‘The model’s fundament is compliance, not only with laws and local legislation, but also with internal policies that clearly tell us what is expected of all of us and what we want to achieve. From a systematic point of view, we integrate the diversity and inclusion agenda in existing processes in various support functions and teams to ensure we systematically improve and address pitfalls in our work’, he says.

‘At If, we have come a long way when it comes to gender equality, but we need to expand what is included under diversity – for example, sexual orientation, age, disability, social class, religion, ethnic group and national identity – and how these affect each other and our behaviour, perceptions and potentially misconceptions. In order to do so, we need to start with ourselves and make sure our actions are based on substance and science, and ensure that we are truly committed to this change’, explains Ran.

Give room for empowerment

The biggest potential, however, lies in each and every one of us.

‘Diversity and inclusion isn’t a one-person show. It’s about each and every one of us working with ourselves and these issues and promoting it’, says Ran.

Ran points out that one challenge for the insurance industry is that it is, by nature, very meticulous and a lot of the work lies in the details. He therefore emphasises the importance of thinking about how we can ensure there is more room for freedom and experimentation, and greater empowerment for all employees at If.

‘We want to empower our employees and make sure we have a culture where everyone feels safe to speak their minds. We need to make sure we have an inclusive environment at If that promotes curiosity and a genuine interest in each other, and where people don’t feel as if they need to hold themselves back for fear of making mistakes. Psychological safety is key to allowing employees to thrive’, he says.

Ran emphasises that this culture is also something our customers will benefit from, and that it is extremely important how we meet our customers, and how they perceive us.

‘To fulfil our role in society, we need to acknowledge the fact that all our customers are different. If we lose sight of who our customers are, we will not be able to communicate in their language and we will fail to understand their needs. We need to reflect society. Insurance is for everyone’, concludes Ran.

Ran Lavie photo.

Ran Lavie

Diversity and Inclusion Manager, If