RANK NO. 9: Blue Cross Blue Shield MA
LOCATION OF HEADQUARTERS: Boston, MA
# OF EMPLOYEES: 3,700
CEO: Andrew Dreyfus
CDE: Stephanie Browne, CHIE
MISSION STATEMENT FOR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
At BCBSMA, our mission is to create an inclusive and diverse organization that actively embraces the uniqueness of our associates, partners and community to drive growth and support our core values. We organize our D&I efforts around four “Cs” that we use as a framework to guide our strategy:
- CAREER: Recruit, respect, and retain an inclusive, developed, diverse workforce
- COMMERCE: Deliver company products and services to meet our customers’ needs through the lens of diversity
- COMMUNITY: Support our external partners to address the health and wellbeing of our diverse community
- CULTURE: Achieve an effective and culturally competent organization through our inclusive workforce
OVERVIEW OF CURRENT D&I EFFORTS
Our current D&I efforts and initiatives are aligned with our four Cs.
From a career perspective, we are very intentional about driving a diverse and inclusive workplace where associates feel inspired to grow their careers within the company. We foster this through initiatives such as internal networking and hiring events, a wide array of online and in-person development opportunities, and a rich benefits program. We recently updated our employment brand to better reflect the rich cultural diversity of our associates with a campaign featuring our employees and how they bring their authentic selves to work (captured by the tagline “Bring your true colors to Blue”). The campaign will be used for all our online and in-person recruitment efforts.
Our efforts to impact commerce are reflected in our work to ensure we meet our members’ unique needs. We create our products and services through a diversity lens, and ensure our marketing efforts reflect the multiculturalism of our consumers across the board. One example is a recent initiative to help better serve our Medicare population. Medicare is a segment where we sell mainly sell direct to consumers, so it’s really important that we understand the different cultural backgrounds and personalities of our seniors, as well as what they need and value in their lives, and in a health plan. To bring us closer to our senior members, we created five different relatable “personas” using statistical data and information gathered from extensive interviews with them. These five personas bring our seniors’ unique health care needs and wants to life. They help us see our Medicare members as whole people, which helps us provide them an even more tailored and personalized consumer experience.
This extends to our efforts in the community. In partnership with our Corporate Citizenship team, we support programs that target some of our most vulnerable populations and communities. We also have a rich supplier diversity program that ensure we are working with a variety of divers vendors. Additionally, our eight employee resource groups (ERG), with more than 1,400 members, are active and visible in our communities, aligning their ongoing programing with opportunities to showcase Blue Cross’s commitment as a diverse employer and company. Recent initiatives include “Light it up at Blue,” an autism awareness campaign driven by our Empowering Abilities ERG, and “Flags for Vets,” an effort organized by our veterans’ ERG that commemorates veterans at Bourne National Cemetery each May. Our ERGs also regularly host forums, such as our Black History Month’s, “Black Girls Rock” event, highlighting black female healthcare leaders.
Our efforts to drive a D&I culture permeate through all levels of the company. Our President & CEO Andrew Dreyfus, who has made D&I a priority during his tenure, earned Boston’s prestigious Rosoff Champion of Change award this past spring.
Our D&I team creates opportunities for associates to expand and share their perspectives with initiatives such as our Diversity Dialogues series, a forum for internal and external participants to discuss a variety of topics. The most recent topic, “Unconscious Bias,” earned a GK10 equity driving initiative award from Boston’s diverse networking event Get Konnected!
Our efforts to drive inclusion haven’t gone unnoticed. We received:
- Accolades from the Boston Bar Association on a partnership between our Latino ERG and legal team
- Recognition as one of “Mogul’s” Top 100 Innovators (Mogul is an online platform for women to connect, exchange resources and share opportunities), in D&I in 2018, and a
- Recognition for achieving 100 percent on the HRC’s (Human Rights Campaign Foundation) 2018 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workplace equality.
This year we adopted a new best practice D&I scorecard to track our results. Annually, our D&I team, Diversity Council and our business areas set enterprise goals to increase our maturity within each of the 4C pillars. There are five maturity levels and a set of target best practices in each pillar. The business uses the scorecard to evaluate and track progress on each “C” year over year.
OBSTACLES ENCOUNTERED AND HOW THEY WERE OVERCOME
One of the biggest obstacles we consistently work to manage is changing mindsets. This includes everything from checking our biases, to getting associates to lead and work inclusively, to understanding our full D&I strategy. Recently, our organization pushed to change the mindset of our senior leaders to support our new career brand campaign that highlights the uniqueness of our associates. We needed to create the case for why our career brand needed an updating, which included: changing perceptions of an insurance company from old and stodgy to innovative and inclusive; showcasing our associates’ diversity; highlighting our array of professional development opportunities and; showing up as an employer of choice at career fairs, college campuses and networking events.
We researched current marketplace perceptions of our organization, held focus groups to understand what we are doing well and evaluated reactions to our brand at external events. We uncovered perceptions of our brand that did not reflect the richness of our work environment. We shared our analysis and changed our leaders’ mindsets.
LESSONS LEARNED / WORDS OF ADVICE
Our CEO sent a message to all 3,700 of our associates after the events in Charlottesville, VA. Reiterating our company values, what we stand for and what we vehemently oppose, he said, “I’m reminded that now, more than ever, we need to stand together to uphold our shared values of freedom and equality that have made our nation great. At our company, we believe that embracing the diversity of people, thoughts and ideas makes us stronger. We reject any form of hatred, racism, bigotry and intolerance.”
In this current political climate, we know that our associates are impacted by events in this country and abroad. And while some topics may be sensitive and difficult to approach, we’ve learned that it is important for our leaders to speak up about their commitment to creating an inclusive work environment. We may not be able to control the external circumstances in which we live, we can create a workplace that is supportive, safe, and welcoming of different people, ideas, and experiences.