Everyone at Oscar is really proud to officially launch our diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiative ‘Oscar Wildcats’.
This initiative is more than just a D&I policy document. It is a pledge to fight against social, political, and environmental injustices.
Andy Morrell, CEO of Oscar, said: “Oscar Wildcats is a multi-layered approach to diversity and inclusion. It’s our attempt to make sure that it’s no accident that we have a fair and equal environment for our staff.”
As a company, we agreed that simply being aware of and reactive to D&I issues, was not enough. Instead, we decided to proactively tackle these obstacles head-on, with Oscar Wildcats being the driving force to do so.
We want to show our support for the marginalised communities that have suffered because of inequality and do everything we can to end discrimination and exploitation. By launching the initiative, we’re making a commitment to put diversity and inclusion at the forefront of our strategy and every interaction we make.
Where did the idea for Oscar Wildcats come from?
The idea for Oscar Wildcats was sparked in support of the Black community following the police killing of George Floyd.
Whilst Oscar have always supported diversity, this incident and the Black Lives Matter movement made us realise that it's simply not good enough to sit on the side-lines and quietly support diversity and inclusion. Reflecting, we recognised that we hadn't been as forward-thinking as we have thought we were.
Andy Morrell, CEO of Oscar, said: “You have to actively encourage inclusion rather than just not have a lack of diversity.”
What’s the story behind the name ‘Oscar Wildcats’?
The name ‘Oscar Wildcats’ was inspired by the father of an Oscar team member.
Around 25 years ago, the father (whose nickname was ‘The Wildcat’) was targeted in a horrific racially motivated attack by police. The incident had significant impact on the family and affected the life of the Oscar team member. Through Oscar Wildcats, we hope to build a legacy - not just for this family, but for all who have encountered the social injustices we so often see among communities.
The Wildcat name and logo were created to encourage people to ask questions, and to give our team members the opportunity to speak about this ethos. From now on, members of the Oscar team will be known as Wildcats, and the #TeamOscar social media hashtag will be replaced with #OscarWildcats.
As well as this, we felt as though the traits of a wildcat reflected our approach to fighting injustice, as the species is known for its ferocity and robustness.
What are actions are we taking?
A launch event - we will be physically celebrating the launch of the Oscar Wildcats initiative when Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have been lifted.
Neuro-diversity training for team members.
The Oscar Wildcats Scholarship - a partnership with four Houston-based high schools from underprivileged areas. We provide financial support toward college funding and opportunities for students to gain experience through Oscar internships.
Pride Month social media take over. We hope to educate ourselves and others on the daily difficulties the LGBTQ+ people face and hope to build a supportive community from all backgrounds.
Wildcat branded areas of our offices - the Wildcat arena in our Manchester HQ and the Wildcat saloon in our Houston office keep the Wildcat Way present in our team members’ minds.
Flexible working - improving workplace equality by accommodating the work/life balance needs of our team. As well as making the lives of our team better, this way of working provides Oscar with an agile and diverse workforce.
Internal Talent attraction strategy - we’re proud to have such a diverse workforce. With internal recruitment, we’re always looking for potential team members from a range of backgrounds.
Tailored incentives - incentivising our team based on individual interests and providing a wealth of personal resources and support. For example, sending our female leaders to a female empowerment talk hosted by Michelle Obama, or our football-mad employees to the Euros semi-final!
The steps we are taking -
Adopting bold strategies to fight injustice.
Improving transparency about policies and progress.
Educating ourselves on the matters that are important.
Identifying areas of injustice within the communities we operate in.
Effectively tracking the impact of our actions.
Donating to social justice organisations.
The Wildcat Way – Our Pledge
We are better when we work together as equals
I am part of the solution
Love your differences
Don’t tolerate discrimination
Create inclusivity wherever you are
Always speak out against intolerance
Trailblaze and be an example for others to follow
Stand up and be heard