At Mutual of Omaha, employees are one of the insurance company’s greatest assets.
In today’s competitive business environment, a strong culture has become critical to attracting and retaining talent. While many companies are just beginning to build an environment that appeals to the best workers, Mutual of Omaha has been fostering its employee-centered culture for over a century.
“Our longevity doesn’t come from standing still,” says chief administrative officer Liz Mazzotta. “It comes from continuously investing in our employees who are taking care of our customers.”
Founded in 1909, the Omaha-based insurer serves nearly 5.2 million individual product customers and more than 45,000 employer groups serving 13 million members. But despite its long legacy, Mutual of Omaha is constantly reinventing how it services its customers—and its employees.
“I’ve never worked for a company that invested so much in its employees,” says Brian Molina, a supervisor in policy owner operations. Molina started as a frontline associate, and in less than five years, rose to a supervisor role. “My managers helped me get the training I needed and supported me whenever I wanted to tackle something new. Now I have my own team and helping them brings me absolute joy.”
The leadership at Mutual of Omaha is committed to empowering its diverse workforce to experiment, innovate, and grow in their own career paths through a series of offerings, including tuition reimbursement, coaching, soft skills training, and a wide variety of internal courses. The company created an accelerated leadership development program. The 18-month program provides in-depth professional assessment, individual and group learning experiences, and a development plan.
“Mutual of Omaha cultivates learning,” says Khanh Nguyen, a site reliability engineer who has worked for the company for more than 30 years. “I have always been given plenty of opportunities that have enabled me to grow both professionally and personally. Leadership truly cares for associates.” Nguyen sees this as a great benefit for information technology [IT] professionals. “We enable our IT associates to pursue constant learning to keep up as technology changes quickly.”
To continue supporting its workforce in a time of constant change, members of the executive leadership team hold listening sessions with the nine company employee resource groups (which collectively draw participation from one-third of all associates) to find out what is on their members’ minds. “These listening sessions have been absolutely critical to understanding our associates and adapting to their needs,” Mazzotta says.
Listening also helped leadership respond to evolving employee needs in tangible ways throughout the pandemic. They delivered desk chairs to associates’ homes, provided a dedicated team of nurses to field calls from employees with Coronavirus-related questions, and provided paid time off for pandemic-related needs. The company remains committed to flexible work, including in-person, remote, and hybrid arrangements.
This pursuit of listening and learning also supports an inclusive culture. More than 300 leaders attended training with the Racial Equity Institute in 2020 and 2021, and the company has now created its own inclusive leadership and accountability training program for both leaders and associates that focuses on four objectives: objectivity, belonging, voice, and growth. Through these actions, Mutual of Omaha hopes to continue to strengthen the culture where all employees can thrive.
“Our people are our greatest asset, and we work hard to support them every day,” says Mazzotta. “They are the heart and soul of our company.”