Lincoln Financial Group: The Importance of Committing to Actionable Change & Racial Equity

by Savoy Staff

By Allison Green Johnson, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Head of Culture & Engagement, Lincoln Financial Group

Since the end of May – sparked by the tragic death of George Floyd and actions of Amy Cooper in NYC’s Central Park – Lincoln Financial Group has amplified our support and commitment to advance racial justice, internally and beyond. As a company, at every level of the organization we have had numerous meaningful conversations about racism and discrimination, and these discussions have involved many of our leaders and employees sharing their own experiences with racism or taking the opportunity to ask questions and make recommendations about how to be better allies. There was and still remains a need for companies to be more open and candid about race and racism, we have answered that call.

At Lincoln, the conversations we have held, along with employee- centric surveys have helped us to form specific actions, developed by our executive leadership team and a special committee formed from Board of Directors, that will further our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion as a company and drive meaningful, measurable change.

Lincoln’s planned commitments and actions to address racial justice, equity, and inclusion include the following:

  • Implement sustainable and integrated practices in recruiting, retention and development to increase Black populations at Lincoln, such as bringing in dedicated diversity-focused recruiters.
  • Focus on increasing minority leadership – grow minority representation at the Officer level by 50% over the course of three years, with a special focus on the Black Officer population.
  • Explore how to formally tie leadership compensation to Diversity and Inclusion objectives – embed Diversity & Inclusion into the compensation process for senior leadership.
  • Expand the Diversity & Inclusion function at Lincoln, which will continue to support enterprise-wide and business-specific efforts.
  • Continue to grow Lincoln’s professional network of Black financial advisors and planners to support advisor recruiting and development efforts, and to help define new strategies for supporting Black clients.
  • Continue conversations about race across the organization.
  • Combat racism and bias in today’s society by preserving the history of the Black experience and its relationship to American culture and progress, via a $1-million contribution to The HistoryMakers over a period of time. The HistoryMakers is the nation’s largest African American oral history video archive. Many of the contributions and accomplishments of the Black community have largely been untold and unrecorded – Lincoln will help address this injustice by investing in the preservation of Black history in America for the purposes of education, marketplace and community engagement.
  • Leverage the Lincoln Financial Foundation to further support Black communities, by giving to nonprofits with demonstrated success in advancing Black communities, and by engaging with leading philanthropic membership organizations that focus on equity-based grantmaking.
  • Empower and grow our Business Resource Groups to establish a financial literacy/wellness community of practice to demonstrate LFG’s commitment in diverse communities and constituencies.

Committing to actionable change, and having people understand why you are doing so is important. As my colleague Ellen Duffy, SVP, Employment Law, reminds me, the goal of these initiatives is to provide equal opportunity to those groups who have been systematically denied it.  Companies need to focus on race as one element among many in their hiring practices because we still don’t have equal opportunity in America. As companies committed to Diversity and Inclusion, it is our responsibility to act to stem the effects of continuing discrimination. Blacks have been discriminated against based entirely on race for hundreds of years. In an increasingly multicultural society, a commitment to diversity and broadening the boundaries of inclusiveness of American institutions is economically necessary and morally imperative.

Diversity and Inclusion should be an intrinsic part of a company’s culture- as it is here at Lincoln. As a company, we’re committed to equality and justice for all, not just within our operations, but throughout the communities in which we work and live and we encourage other corporations to join us as allies in the ongoing commitment to advance racial equity.

(Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates.  Affiliates are separately responsible for their own financial and contractual obligations.)



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