Empowering Female Talent by Promoting Career Development (i4cp login required)

Productivity

The goal of Lincoln Financial Group’s Diversity & Inclusion
(D&I) practices is not to rack up accolades.  

But it’s hard to ignore the number of notices Lincoln Financial has
received for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. For example, the
Radnor, Pa.-based insurance and investment management provider has: 

Also in 2019, Lincoln Financial Group was named one of Forbes
Best Employers for Women
; the second consecutive year the bi-weekly
business publication has designated Lincoln Financial as such.  

This latest award is the result of an impressive array of programs and
initiatives designed to not only attract top female talent to Lincoln Financial
Group, but to give them ample opportunity to thrive and advance there.  

Encouraging innovation and new ideas

Just a few numbers help make a strong case for Lincoln Financial
Group’s place on Forbes’ 2019 list.  

Consider that women comprise 61% of the 12,000-plus workforce at
Lincoln Financial, which exceeds industry and government benchmarks for women
and minority executive and general populations. Women hold 50% of all
management positions within the company, and three of CEO Dennis Glass’s eight
direct reports are women. Lincoln’s Board of Directors is also uniquely
diverse.  

Having this type of diverse representation at every level of the
organization facilitates the exchange of perspective and ideas, which spurs
innovation, says Allison Green, senior vice president and chief diversity
officer at Lincoln Financial.  

“In turn, this empowers us with insight and opportunities to penetrate
new markets and to meet specific customer needs,” says Green.  

These exchanges have led to a variety of innovations and ideas that
help Lincoln Financial better serve its customers—and its own employees.  

One such idea is an educational series (for internal and external
audiences) designed to help women take charge of their personal and financial
futures. The result of a partnership between Lincoln’s Womens Business Resource
Group (BRG) and the company’s marketing department, the series includes
segments such as “How Do I Know What Type of Life Insurance is Right for Me?”
and “Developing a Plan.” 

In addition to creating awareness and engaging consumers, advisors, and
employees on a range of life insurance-related topics, the goal of this series
is to support the local communities where Lincoln operates.  

Through the Lincoln Financial Foundation and
employee volunteerism, the company also fosters cultural and community
awareness and equity by supporting programs and practices that eliminate
disadvantage, says Green. 

The women’s collective is one of Lincoln Financial’s seven BRGs, each of
which is focused on delivering events and programs geared toward supporting
members of their individual communities, as well as colleagues and
contemporaries—including women. These groups are employee-led, helping
embed diversity and inclusion in the company’s culture from the ground-up. The
other six BRGs include: Latino, LGBTQ, Asian-American, African-American, Veterans, and
People with Disabilities. 

For instance, Lincoln’s African American BRG partners with an external
women’s organization and female financial advisors to offer a financial literacy
workshop for women and local families at a community library. The company’s women’s
BRG also offers charitable contributions to support women in the
workforce.  

Advancement opportunities at every level

Naturally, such efforts aid in the recruiting of top female talent. And
Lincoln Financial actively promotes open roles to members of diverse, external
organizations such as Women in Insurance and Financial Services, and the
Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement.

The organization has also adopted hiring practices that ensure female
candidates are considered for leadership positions. For example, hiring
managers are required to include at least one woman and one person of color
among the candidates for each leadership-level opening at Lincoln Financial
(anything at the Assistant Vice President level and above).

And all of those who join Lincoln Financial have a wide range of
opportunities to further their professional development within the
organization.

“We have programs in place at every level to help women—and men!— advance
their careers with Lincoln Financial,” says Jen Warne, Lincoln’s senior vice
president and chief talent officer.

The company also hosts a Women’s Leadership Summit, where officer-level
women and other high-potential female (and male) employees convene with senior
leaders to gain insight on business challenges from each other as well as
internal and external speakers. Executive sponsors also select high-potential
women for external women’s leadership programs and executive coaching, says
Warne.

“Within each of our business areas, we encourage development activities
targeted at women in roles central to the success of those businesses,” adds
Warne.

For example, Lincoln’s MoneyGuard business hosts an annual, two-day
“Women of MoneyGuard” offsite meeting that encourages networking, sharing of
best practices and business education that targets high-potential women, she
says.

This commitment to female employees extends to financial advisors as
well. Lincoln Financial Network, the company’s direct-to-consumer sales and
financial planning affiliate, launched The WISE Group (Women, Inspiring,
Supporting and Educating) as an enterprise-wide initiative designed to better
support the needs of its female financial advisors as well as their clients.
Introduced in 2015, the group has hosted more than 600 advisors at 30-plus
events across the United States.

Additionally, all employees can attend online and face-to-face courses
covering subjects relevant to advancing their careers, says Warne, adding that
these programs include topics such as building business acumen, boosting
productivity, and achieving better work/life balance.

In total, Lincoln offers more than 200 courses designed to help ensure
that women are on the right path to achieving their career goals, says Warne,
noting the role of such initiatives in fortifying every facet of the
organization and its talent strategy.

“Diversity and inclusion strengthen Lincoln’s organizational culture,
attracts the best and brightest talent and creates a rewarding workplace for
all.”

Lisa Buckingham, LFG’s chief people, place, and brand officer,
summarizes the company’s approach:

“Our goal at Lincoln is to create a culture of belonging and empowerment. This is so important. We want our
employees to feel true equality and inclusion when they step foot in the door
every day—even if they are logging in remotely each morning!,” says Buckingham,
who oversees Lincoln’s human resources organization, the office of diversity
and inclusion, the Lincoln Financial Foundation, corporate social
responsibility, and all things related to the company’s locations,
communications, and brand.

“We want our candidates to feel it when they look at our website or
interview with us. And we want our customers to feel it too—our business resource
groups don’t just help us internally, they also help us better understand and
deliver on the unique needs and wants of the customers we aspire to serve.”

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