EMPOWERING FEMALE TALENT BY PROMOTING CAREER DEVELOPMENT

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

Lincoln Financial GroupBut 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: 

  • Received perfect scores of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index for five years running.
  • Maintained a 100% score on the Disability Equality Index for three consecutive years.
  • Earned a “Best Places to Work” designation from the U.S. Business Leadership Network and the American Association of People with Disabilities.
  • Landed in the top third of the Forbes Best Employers for Diversity for 2020 list, which has featured Lincoln for three consecutive years.
  • Newsweek’s 2020 America’s Most Responsible Companies list recognized Lincoln as #37 overall. This ranking evaluates 2,000 public companies to determine which firms rank highest when it comes to doing good.
  • Lincoln also ranked #66 on the 2020 Forbes JUST 100 list of public companies that are “doing right by America,” which looks at factors like equal opportunity for employees, and treating customers fairly and inclusively.

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.”