Celebrate Diversity Month: How Agencies Can Integrate DE&I Practices in Their Offices

From the Desk of HR Solutions 

OIA strives to promote, progress, and protect independent agents across the state. We’re committed to providing resources and opportunities for agencies to embrace diversity and drive change so the independent agent community can thrive.  


April 2024: Celebrate Diversity Month 

April marks the recognition of Celebrate Diversity Month, a celebration first enacted in 2004 to honor the diversity of those around us. Putting aside the political dialogue, a focus on diversity gives organizations the opportunity to reflect on the strategies that help their team members feel seen, heard, included and valued.  

When you are part of a majority group it is often difficult to understand how everyday actions, consciously or unconsciously, may leave members of a minority group feeling left out, unrecognized or unappreciated.  

Race, gender, sexuality, faith, socio-economic status, family upbringing, and health status are just a few factors that contribute to individual diversity. Making sure there’s room in your organization to recognize, celebrate, learn from and invest in all employees can help improve employee attraction and retention.


Diversity Matters for NextGen & Beyond 

Gamma Iota Sigma, the nationwide collegiate student organization for students interested in insurance, risk management, and actuarial science, released their Annual Recruiting Survey Report for 2023. The survey made it clear – young people are prioritizing diversity in their career decisions and taking notice when it’s lacking in an office. 

“In 2023, 39% of survey respondents felt there was sufficient diversity in their internship or full-time employment, which was a 22% decrease from 2022. Further, the report found that when it came to the job search, the largest group of respondents, 36%, said the primary place they look for jobs are career fairs and the GIS Annual Conference.”

Additional findings from students surveyed revealed that 47.30% of respondents felt employers demonstrated fairness in recruiting practices. 43.24% found diversity in the leadership team at their company. These statistics serve as a reminder that while strides have been made across the industry, there is still work to be done. To continue attracting and retaining young talent in the independent insurance industry, its important that agencies focus on building cultures that are conscious of best practices around diversity and inclusion.  


Ways to Celebrate this Month 
  1. Participate in Trainings – As a member of the OIA, you have access to the library of resources from the Big “I”. We encourage you to register for The Inclusive Agency Training Series, a go-at-your-own-pace online training. You could also participate in a facilitated cohort. The training builds awareness of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) best-practices and the business case for your agency. Register here! 
  2. Host Open Conversations Speak with your staff about ways your agency could improve diversity and inclusion efforts. Within those conversations, making sure that active listening is the main driver in your approach is key.
  3. Get Involved in the Community Establish relationships with businesses and organizations owned by individuals from diverse backgrounds. You could also volunteer or make donations to local organizations that actively work to better the community around them.
  4. Consciously Diversify the Ways to Search for Talent – Be open to bringing in new talent to your agency that may have different experiences than your traditional employee, or even semi-relevant experience. There are many professional organizations that have ways of sharing job opportunities with their members. Consider bridging hiring efforts with groups like the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA); they have their own job board!
  5. Collaborate with the OIA – HR Solutions has resources to ensure your policies and practices are equitable through advisory services and other tools. We’re available to assist in re-inventing your procedures, sharing ideas for boosting diversity and inclusion, and connecting you with resources from various vendors.  Reach out to our team!  



As seen in recent reports, the focus on diversity and inclusion supports a business’ health, particularly as young talent enters the workforce. Here are three quick examples to enhance DE&I at your agency: 

  1. Make sure your time off/holiday policies are inclusive of all religious practices or cultural celebrations (such as Juneteenth).
  2. Complete a quick payroll audit to make sure employees with similar experience and performance in similar jobs are compensated equitably. 
  3. Ensure your employees feel welcome to dress in ways custom to their culture. 

We understand navigating DE&I topics and practices can prose a lot of questions. As we promote, progress, and protect independent agents across the state, OIA and the Big “I” are available as a resource and partner in driving change in the community.  



Big I, Diversity Resources  

National Today 

Program Business 

Gamma Iota Sigma Annual Recruiting Survey Report, 2023  


About the Author 

Brian Lawrence is the Director of HR Solutions for Ohio Insurance Agents. He is responsible for providing HR support and resources for the membership. His HR career spans 25 years across Insurance, Financial Services, Healthcare, and Association Management. Much of his experience includes 20 years at Nationwide, where he spent seven years as an HR Director/HR Business Partner providing strategic support to executive leadership teams across P&C, Commercial and Non-Standard Customer Service Operations, Life Insurance and Annuity Operations, & Nationwide Pet Insurance. 

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