A continuous journey
CNA’s DE&I program endures
As a nationwide company, CNA Surety recognized the importance of diversity and inclusion long ago. That long-held belief became an official part of CNA’s strategic imperatives in 2016 when Dino Robusto became Chief Executive Officer. “[I]n the years since, he, our Board of Directors, and our colleagues around the world have truly embraced that call to action,” said Heather Giordano, Vice President, Human Resources.
to cultivate an inclusive culture that celebrates individuals’ difference, attracts diverse talent and inspires a work environment that enables all employees to do their best work
CNA’s diversity and inclusion vision is “to cultivate an inclusive culture that celebrates individuals’ difference, attracts diverse talent and inspires a work environment that enables all employees to do their best work.” With their vision guiding them, CNA has worked through various iterations of their Diversity and Inclusion program, ultimately forming a council to lead the effort. Giordano serves as Chair of CNA’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, a group that includes senior leaders representing almost every part of the business organization.
A recent webinar in the Chamber’s DE&I Activator Series highlighted the importance of seeking participation from trusted employees and influential stakeholders as important first steps in developing a successful DE&I program. Developing a council or advisory group with broad representation is one way to accomplish this and is a proven strategy for implementing DE&I initiatives.
While the commitment to DE&I must be championed by the top of the organization, the program’s impact comes from being integrated into the fabric of the organization. “There are many ways our colleagues around the world can engage in our diversity and inclusion efforts,” said Giordano. “In fact, we provide them with a number of choices, something we believe makes this journey as meaningful to them personally as it does to us organizationally.”
Some of those options have become familiar in recent years, such as company-wide panel discussions about race, sexual orientation and what it means to be an ally, volunteer opportunities, or ongoing awareness training. Others are more unique, like their reverse-mentoring program where junior level employees mentor senior level employees. This creates opportunities for the junior level employee to share new perspectives and feedback with a decision-maker within the safety of a trusting relationship.
Employee resource groups are a popular way for larger organizations to provide support to groups who share a certain characteristic like gender, ethnicity, lifestyle or special interests. CNA offers eight different groups that are open to all employees, not just those who identify with the specific characteristic. Amidst the social unrest throughout 2020, participation in CNA’s employee resource groups grew by 37%.
We need to share, we need to listen, we need to reflect and learn to relate to each other with mutual respect and celebrate what makes us unique.
Paul Bruflat, Vice President, Commercial Surety, experiences diversity and inclusion as a personal journey that is more successful when we work on it together. “We need to share, we need to listen, we need to reflect and learn to relate to each other with mutual respect and celebrate what makes us unique,” he said. Bruflat believes that diversity and inclusion efforts will make businesses stronger and more vibrant, and give them a better understanding of their customers. “They are the reason we are in business, and we need to know best how to meet their needs and expectations.”
CNA has been on their DE&I journey for many years, earning a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for the past six consecutive years. While they may be ahead of the curve, they are not taking it for granted. “We’re proud of our progress, but it is our progress that inspires us to pursue more,” said Giordano. “Diversity and inclusion is an ever-evolving journey that by design will never be complete.”