What is your mission statement for diversity, equity and inclusion?
We view racism as a public health crisis, and health care as a racial and social justice issue. We stand for promoting equity and inclusion, for fighting racism, for uniting to build healthy communities. We know firsthand that health care must be inclusive and accessible to diverse populations. Our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is incorporated into all aspects of our company, including our corporate strategy, annual goals and day-to-day business operations.
Please give an overview of current D&I efforts (please include any metrics to support impact)
BCBSMA DEI strategy consists of five pillars (Career, Community, Culture, Commerce, Care) which we measure annually against an established set of best practices. We began measuring and tracking DEI progress in 2018 when we adopted The Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Benchmarks scorecard. The scorecard provides a global, comprehensive framework that enables us to measure and benchmark the maturity of our DEI efforts year over year.
Each pillar is led by a senior executive who is responsible for setting and executing annual goals. Progress towards goals is tracked, scored annually and ultimately reported to the CEO. The five-tier maturity model, which ranges from “Inactive” to “Best Practice,” enables us to hold ourselves accountable, both internally and externally, to our Health Equity Plan.
Over the last three years, our DEI maturity score has increased as we have implemented important programs. Between 2018 and 202, our overall score increased by 17%, moving us from the “proactive” to “progressive” category.
What shift have you made to be more inclusive and create a sense of belonging with the pandemic and social justice issues impacting the workforce?
During 2020/21 we renewed our focus on Health Equity and Culture. We made a significant investment in training for leaders and member-facing associates. We also used employee pulse surveys to uncover opportunities to engage in dialogue and deploy wellness interventions to improve the health of our employees. Two standout programs are:
- 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Immersion, which is an experiential and educational program required for all leaders that builds a fact base critical to understanding inequities in the financial, social, educational, and political systems. Leaders take the experience (and content) and carry forward the engagement to their teams by convening safe spaces for conversation.
- Cultural Competency in Healthcare training for all clinicians and customer service associates. The curriculum focuses on unconscious bias and how race, ethnicity and language is critical to providing service and care to our increasingly multi-cultural membership. The training also provides tools and teachings that help to maintain an inclusive operating environment.
What lessons have you learned and what words of advice can you give (especially with the current political climate)
During one of many diversity dialogues that took place in 2021, an associate mentioned that racism is a smooth operator, meaning if you don’t know what to look for, you’ll never see it. Don’t assume racism and equity is understood by your colleagues. Take the time to build a vision for the future and connect it to business goals today. Creating accountability with metrics embraced by the C-Suite is the surest path to progress.