Walk the talk for DEI

Diversity, equity and inclusion have become common buzzwords in corporate America. There’s even an acronym.

In conference rooms, board rooms, offices and hallways across America, DEI gets talked about – a lot. But few “walk the talk” like Tufts Health Plan, as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Lydia Greene so proudly puts it.

“At Tufts Health Plan, our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends beyond what we say,” said Greene. “It encompasses everything we do.”

Tufts Health Plan does this by design. “We represent the community and members we serve,” said Greene.

Equity in action

As a “firm believer in equity,” Greene is passionate about the organization’s commitment to gender pay equity. Tufts Health Plan was an original signer of the Boston Women’s Workforce Council’s 100% Talent Compact, a first-in-the-nation approach to reaching 100% equity for working women. Nora Moreno Cargie, the company’s vice president of corporate citizenship and president of its foundation, sits on the council’s board. And in 2016 Tufts Health Plan adopted a $15 minimum hourly wage, which we have since raised to $16/hour.

Our HR team reviews Boston-area living wage indicators every year “to make sure we’re above them,” Greene said. Sure, it’s good business, but as one of the region’s largest health insurance providers, it’s our responsibility.

Inclusion in action

Tufts Health Plan is just as fervently committed to inclusion – and that commitment serves employees and members equally well. Greene frames it this way: “It’s what makes us a great company to work for and to serve our members.”

With 100% scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s LGBTQ Workplace Equality Index and the American Association of People with Disabilities Disability Equality Index, we have the accolades to prove we’re doing exceptional work.

“These accolades demonstrate we have the practices and policies in place,” said Greene. “But what I’m most proud about is this came from our employees and Business Resource Groups. Employees wanted to do the work to apply for the awards, and it shows how committed everyone is to the goals.”

The workplace initiatives by BRGs illustrate this well. They’ve recommended training so nurses and care managers can better serve LGBTQ+ members. They offered a disability etiquette workshop to explore best practices for engaging people with disabilities in a personal and professional setting. They hosted a career readiness program for veterans transitioning to civilian life. And in the fall of 2018, they staged the first of what has become an annual celebration – a drag show in the company’s atrium, now with a Q&A included.

“In all these efforts, the goal is to showcase the value of differences, to build connections and create deeper understanding,” said Greene.

That’s what happens in a culture driven to “look at all sorts of issues,” continues Greene. “Everything is out on the table – and whether it’s bias about gender, race, culture, age or even body shape, we must all continue to learn what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes.”

And that kind of education pays off every day. “People are proud to work at an organization where they can bring their whole authentic self to work and trust they’ll be part of a community,” Greene said.