Since 2019, Indianapolis-based OneAmerica has added approximately 200 new jobs—many of them in central Indiana.
As the insurance and financial-education company has grown, it has implemented a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy that has resulted in meaningful improvement in the diversity of its employees.
Since 2014, its number of team members who are people of color across various positions has been on the rise.
That year, no people of color were on OneAmerica’s executive council. This year, the proportion is 17%. People of color in senior leadership has grown from 3% in 2014 to 19% now; among people leaders, the figure has doubled, from 8% to 16%; and in the total workforce, it’s gone from 16% to 24%.
Karin Sarratt, executive vice president at OneAmerica, told IBJ the company has not set hiring goals for diversity. There are no quotas. Rather, OneAmerica has put emphasis on educating hiring officials, hiring managers and leaders, and even teams engaged in the recruiting process.
“We have an educational component that really speaks to the right way to engage in behavioral-based interviews, so that we know that people are coming prepared and equipped to engage in having a discussion about someone’s experiences and what makes them suitable to be a great teammate at OneAmerica,” she said.
The company also does group interviews, so one person’s perspective on a candidate isn’t the only one heard.
Also, OneAmerica makes inclusivity part of its culture.
“We want people that don’t look like us, that have diverse backgrounds, diverse experiences,” she said.
That’s in part because OneAmerica serves a diverse population. If its team is diverse, the company will do a better job meeting the needs of all its policyholders, she said.
“We don’t have mandates or requirements,” she said. “We just speak with our leaders about trying to—we call it—fish in different ponds and making sure that we’re not always going to the same place time and again for our recruiting efforts.”
Beyond hiring, OneAmerica has taken other steps to make the company more inclusive.
It’s launching two business resource groups: one for women and one for African Americans. And following the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, which sparked protests across the nation, including in Indianapolis, the company held voluntary small-group discussions with OneAmerica associates nationwide.
“It was an important time for us to have some bridge-building, and we made room for everyone’s voices in terms of sharing their experiences. And that had a dramatic impact on our culture and, at least for me, I think that was a defining moment in terms of our efforts to build awareness,” Sarratt said.
From that, the company has launched some DEI courses for employees, to help them learn where they’re at in their own DEI journey.
Perhaps most successful is its Pathways Program, which began in 2018 as a way to ensure that every OneAmerica job is family-sustaining. That program has expanded to provide underserved high school students and recent graduates a chance to learn about the industry and gain important work skills.•
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