Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards winner: Cova – Insurance Age

Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:45 pm

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Coveas director of HR and learning Lisa Meigh and chief operating officer Adrian Furness collected the award from Stephanie Denton

Following last month's Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards, we caught up with all the winners. Today, we talk to Lisa Meigh, director of HR & learning at Cova, about the insurer's win in the Staff Empowerment category.

Can you explain what Cova has done to create an empowered staff culture across the business?

Cova Insurance has a clear strategic goal to be a great place to work. Our inclusivity strategy supports this goal by ensuring we do the right thing for our employees. We believe getting this right makes our business stronger and delivers better outcomes for our customers.

Our broader D&I strategy has helped to drive employee engagement and establish a culture where our people feel empowered to get behind the issues that matter to them.

Cova Minds is a mental health initiative led by employees and sponsored by a Cova Insurance executive director.The initiative has been driven by the passion, kindness and energy of our people who have taken ownership to facilitate an organisational cultural shift around attitudes to mental health.The outcome has been to establish a safe and supportive work environment, where mental health can be openly discussed without judgement.

To support this, weve trained up mental health first aiders, trained dementia friends, partnered with a mental health advocate (Luke Ambler) to run resilience workshops, openly shared personal stories of mental health, held well-being events such as yoga, created chill-out rooms in each site, and run vulnerable customer workshops to increase the empathy within our organisation for those suffering with mental health or dementia.

Since it was launched, what has the response/impact been?

Since the launch of Cova Minds, we have seen a positive turnaround in attitudes towards mental health at work.It has been inspiring, honest and brave of our people, including members of our senior management and executive team, to share personal stories of how they have dealt with mental health challenges.The impact has been powerful.

We now have over 30 mental health first aiders covering all sites to ensure help is always at hand and we have over 460 dementia friends, all providing extra support for our people and customers who might be struggling with the mental health issues.

The key to the success of this initiative has been empowering our people. We believe that by really getting this right, our business is stronger, and we can deliver better outcomes for our customers.

The importance we place on our people is evidenced through our Gold Investors in Peoplestatus and Best Companies Employee Engagement survey results. Over 90% of our people say Cova Insurance can be trusted by customers/clients, and weve been named one of the top 75 companies to work for in Yorkshire & the Humber.

We also hold the highest available accolade from the Institute of Customer Service, ServiceMark with Distinction, for our personal lines, commercial & high net worth claims departments.We think this really shows that employee engagement goes hand-in-hand with delivering great customer service.

Where could this initiative go next?

Weve had an unprecedented reaction to our resilience workshops that we ran with Luke Ambler.

They were so popular thatweve extended these and will run more on a range of topics, all aimed at giving our people the tools to be able to deal with mental health issues.

How supportive is the group in terms of raising the profile and boosting the acceptance of D&I across the business?

The group have been unbelievably supportive in raising the profile and acceptance of mental health issues in the broader context of workplace inclusivity. It doesnt get much more real than people in high profile roles talking about their own mental health challenges to convince others that its OK to talk.

We believe one of the reasons the mental health message has resonated so powerfully across the business is that mental health affects so many people in so many ways.Its the number one cause of disability worldwide, with one-in-four of us experiencing it at some point. Within our business alone, this represents around 500 employees, emphasising the importance of reducing the stigma of mental health as a key element of our commitment to workplace inclusivity.

What was it like being a winner at the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards?

It was an incredibly proud moment, not just for me but for our amazingly passionate people across our business the people that have been owning and driving our D&I activities and making Cova Insurance such a great place to work.

We brought the award straight back and gave it to our D&I ambassadors and the award is now being circulated around our offices. This award was a recognition of the importance we place on empowering our staff and we couldnt be more delighted.

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Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards winner: Cova - Insurance Age

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December 31st, 2019 at 11:45 pm