May 20, 2021
David Cordani: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Is Not Just the Right Thing to Do – It’s a Business Priority

Having a culture that respects and celebrates what makes each of us unique fuels our mission and drives forward innovation that enables us to better serve our customers, clients, partners and communities. At Cigna, diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do, it’s a core building block of our business strategy.  

This commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has been recognized by DiversityInc with Cigna ranked 33 among the top 50 companies for DEI in the nation, up nine spots from last year. For the first time, Cigna was also named to three specialty lists: top companies for LGBTQ employees, (#19) and top companies for employee resource groups (#3) and the list of top companies for environmental, social & governance (ESG).

“Cigna’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is at the heart of our mission to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve,” said Cigna President and CEO David Cordani. “We strive to Stop. Listen. Understand. To pause and make the effort to listen to one another’s perspectives, with empathy. This is who we are as an organization as we seek to deliver affordable, predictable and simple care to our more than 175 million customer relationships worldwide, and the surrounding communities where they live and work.”

Cordani joined DiversityInc CEO Carolynn Johnson as part of its Top 50 event to talk about where we are and the work that remains.

Responsibility to make a positive impact

Cordani shared that companies have a role to play in bringing about societal change, and their mission and values should help focus these actions. From this perspective grew Cigna’s Building Equity and Equality Program, a five-year initiative to expand and accelerate efforts to support diversity, inclusion, equality and equity.

“We believe, and I personally believe, that corporations have a role and have a set of responsibilities,” said Cordani. “We believe the role should be informed and heavily guided by the mission and purpose of the corporation.”

Cigna wants to move the needle on longstanding inequity in the health care system that was further exacerbated by the pandemic. To do so, we focus on community partnerships and local solutions – most recently by supporting the needs of minority- and women-owned businesses in Los Angeles in partnership with Ervin “Magic” Johnson, as well as in South Florida, Houston and Memphis by providing free flu shots, PPE and other resources to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Cigna also continues to focus on helping people in the areas that need it most – in 2020 alone we gave $60 million in charitable giving to community nonprofits, which directly impacted 4.3 million people.

“Reflecting the highly personalized nature of health care, our approach is grounded in making a difference one person at a time,” said Cordani. “We will continue to challenge ourselves to do the hard work it takes to chart a path forward that contributes to creating the kind of world we want to leave for our children.”

Using data to measure progress

Cordani said data helps companies, including Cigna, hold themselves accountable, especially when it comes to meeting diversity and inclusion goals.

“Data is a powerful tool when you’ve used it responsibly as a guide to action and as a relentless continuous improvement set of actions for the organization,” said Cordani.

One example of how data helps Cigna track success is how it monitors its compensation practices to promote pay equity.

Cordani shared that Cigna is intentional about promoting fair pay and opportunity. By benchmarking compensation by role, monitoring for potential disparities, and in the hiring process, Cordani said, the organization has eliminated the practice of asking for applicants’ compensation history.

Cigna’s 2020 pay equity analysis of U.S.-based employees found that:

  • Female employees earn 99.9 cents for every dollar earned by similarly-situated male employees.
  • Employees from underrepresented groups earn 99.7 cents for every dollar earned by similarly-situated white employees.

Read more about Cigna’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the Cigna Connects report.