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Prudential leaders spoke with about steps the company is taking to not only promote equity and inclusion but combat racism in the workplace.

July 15, 2020

Vicki Walia, Prudential’s chief talent and capability officer, and Ronnie Charcalla, vice president, diversity, culture and engagement, Inclusive Solutions, were featured in a July 12 article on about what it means to be an anti-racist company.

“You need senior leaders to be held accountable for creating a diverse organization. I’m a big believer in, ‘You get what you measure and you get what you reinforce.’ What we really want is a pipeline of diverse colleagues who are going to be able to grow through the ranks of the organization,” said Walia. To that end, starting in 2018, Prudential began tying the long-term compensation of its most senior executives to diverse representation goals.

Prudential was one of only five organizations—including a staffing agency, an arts nonprofit and a culinary institute—spotlighted in a series of case studies that outline innovative steps they are taking to banish racism in the workplace.

Among them is the creation of Prudential’s Inclusion Council, comprised of C-suite leaders as well as the heads of the company’s eight Business Resource Groups, which promote inclusion and share unique perspectives of Black, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, differently abled, LBGTQ, veterans and other employees. The council meets quarterly to discuss ways to make Prudential more inclusive.

Charcalla cited other examples of how Prudential has rethought how it develops talent through inclusive practices. One example is the opportunity each year for a group of women of color, who are chosen through a nomination process, to participate in an eight-month leadership program in partnership with Blue Circle Leadership, which offers training to develop strong and diverse teams.

“More than 75% of the women who graduate from the program have received stretch assignments or promotions, and we’re looking to roll out a similar program for mid-career men of color,” Charcalla noted. Prudential has also begun to introduce “cultural intelligence” training and expanded training to combat unconscious bias for managers, with the goal of helping supervisors become more aware of potential blind spots.

The efforts seem to resonate with employees. In Prudential’s most recent annual employee engagement survey, 83% of employees gave favorable scores to the company’s inclusivity practices. People of color and women awarded similar approval ratings.

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