(Music up) Michelle: I was six years old when I was first diagnosed with dyslexia. My first-grade teacher identified my disability. Often, people with disabilities grow up believing that their opportunities will be limited. I took a job in the Highmark health plan business as a mail clerk in 1996. Following three promotions, I’m now the manager of administrative services for the Western Region. 21 employees report up to me. It’s been a wonderful 20 years. I’m very proud to see Highmark Health recognized as one of America’s Best Places to Work for people with disabilities. I’ve had tremendous support from my managers. They’ve encouraged me to discuss my challenges with dyslexia. And they’ve helped me to succeed at my job, down to the details. They pushed me to earn my bachelor’s degree, to seek promotions, to never be afraid. As a person with dyslexia, I’m different. I think in a different sequence. And that’s what having a diverse workforce is all about. It’s about bringing all kinds of talented people together, so that we can push for better solutions for our customers and patients, who are diverse--just like us. Think of it this way: If we were all the same, and we all thought the same way, Highmark Health wouldn’t be the leading health and wellness organization it is today. It’s been a great place for me. And I’m helping to keep it that way. (Music out)
At Highmark Health, we are committed to being open, inclusive and supportive to all. Our workforce includes talented people from every background. We welcome and value new ideas, different experiences and fresh perspectives.
For us, supporting a diverse and inclusive workforce is more than the right thing to do. It makes us stronger as a business and more innovative as a group positioning us to be highly effective at serving our customers and communities.
Read on to learn more about our comprehensive efforts including our Business Resource Groups (BRGs), executive sponsorship, programs, commitment to supplier diversity, awards and recognition and other resources.
Executive sponsorship is critical to the success of corporate diversity and inclusion. At Highmark Health, executives sponsor diversity and inclusion at three distinct levels: within the board of directors, through an inclusion advisory council and through sponsorship of our BRGs.
This committee includes board members and executive leaders who oversee the work of our corporate diversity and inclusion team, assist in the development of goals and strategy and establish accountability for results related to those efforts.
Comprised of executive leaders across the enterprise who collaborate with the office of diversity and inclusion, the IAC guides their respective business units in implementing and sustaining successful diversity and inclusion practices. They lead by example and consistently work to ensure that Highmark Health demonstrates a culture of inclusion that will enable us to meet the needs of our diverse employees, customers and communities. Through partnership, counsel and support, they assist in driving diversity and inclusion initiatives that enhance and are aligned to the mission, vision and values of Highmark Health.
Chartered in 2017, this council of military and veteran employees, as well as senior executives and stakeholders, partners with and advises our enterprise on enhancing our strategy to become an employer of choice for veterans, military personnel, and their families.
Executive sponsors and champions from across our company guide our BRGs in order to align and impact all areas of our business, workplace and community.
BRGs serve and operate as an inclusive network of employees. Led under executive sponsorship, the groups share personal knowledge and experiences to enhance professional growth, promote cultural competency and multicultural awareness and positively impact our company's bottom line. BRGs contribute to our competitive strength in the health care industry by enhancing our organizational capability through targeted market intelligence, development of human capital, diverse leadership development and community outreach programs.
The Abilities BRG raises awareness about the needs of, and offers support to, people with disabilities and their caregivers in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Abilities BRG encourages workplace inclusion, equality of opportunity and best practices in recruitment. Its members also build community partnerships through educational-to-career experiences for students with disabilities, advocate accessibility to Highmark Health facilities, act as a champion for customers with disabilities and serve as a voice for those who care for or support people with disabilities.
BNet supports the strategic initiative to empower black employees in achieving great business results for the workplace, marketplace, and community.
BNet supports and inspires employees through its activities, relationships, leadership development, unique perspectives, and commitment to advancing corporate goals while creating an environment that celebrates diversity within the organization and throughout the community.
GenNEXT is a cross-generational BRG that leverages the unique skills and perspectives of Gen X and Gen Y employees to influence our direction and relevance in the workplace, marketplace, and community.
GenNEXT promotes cross-generational understanding, collaboration, and leadership, and leads initiatives and programs that explore career paths and professional development across the enterprise.
The LGBTA BRG leverages diverse LGBTA experiences to help promote inclusion among employees, enrich community outreach efforts, and foster marketplace excellence. The LGBTA BRG brings together lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and their allies to cultivate openness and encourage different and inclusive thinking from the very top of the organization down.
The LGBTA BRG is instrumental in ensuring that our enterprise is the best LGBT employer that it can be by building community partnerships, partnering with human resources to educate leaders and the workforce about the LGBTQ community and marketplace, and acting as a focus group for our companies in offering the right insurance products and services to LGBTQ communities and our employees.
The SALUD BRG leverages our Latino and Hispanic talent to develop business opportunities in the workplace, marketplace and community.
SALUD collaborates and partners with the Latino and Hispanic community to support customer needs and enterprise efforts to recruit and retain diverse talent. The group promotes personal accountability and equitable opportunity of diverse talent through professional development programs and supports marketplace excellence through education of multicultural business and language capabilities.
The V.E.T.S. BRG provides a platform for the communication and sharing of common challenges and opportunities, and establishes a network for promoting the professional development of employees.
The V.E.T.S. BRG partners closely with business leaders to leverage the viewpoints of military personnel and veterans in areas such as recruitment, retention and professional development, and it served as a fundamental resource in developing an enterprise-wide military and veteran talent strategy. The group also fosters community partnerships through volunteer opportunities and fundraisers to help military and veteran families. Learn more about opportunities for military veterans.
The Women's BRG leverages the perspectives of women within the diverse markets and partners with senior leadership across the enterprise to develop campaigns, products and services that empower women through all walks of life. The Women's BRG also develops strategic initiatives to retain, develop and attract high-performing women in leadership roles through a series of personal and professional development programs and initiatives in which members share information, volunteer, mentor, and learn from peers and women executives within our organization. The Women's BRG champions workplace benefits that support women in their careers and strives to equip women with tools and resources to make successful decisions in health care, finances and professional development.
Throughout the year, we support programs and initiatives that facilitate diversity and inclusion in the workplace, in the marketplace and in the community.
Named after Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, the Rooney Rule was first instituted within the Steelers organization and later across the entire National Football League. Rooney believed that to truly grow his organization, he would need to bring in new perspectives. His rule required that at least one minority candidate be part of the candidate pool for all coaching and front office job openings.
Similarly, at Highmark Health, our top leaders are committed to interviewing at least one diverse candidate for any open position at the director level and above. A diverse candidate is someone who differs from the makeup of the particular hiring group. He or she could be a person of a different gender, ethnic, cultural or generational background or a veteran or person with a disability. By implementing the "Rooney Rule" at Highmark Health, we ensure that we are building leadership that reflects the diverse consumers, patients and members we are proud to serve.
Educating our workforce is a key pillar of our diversity and inclusion efforts at Highmark Health. We provide educational opportunities to teach fundamental concepts such as unconscious bias, honoring differences and the business case for diversity. Through these key learnings, diversity and inclusion works to equip employees and leaders with the tools and best practices in building, engaging and working in a diverse workforce and delivering to a diverse marketplace.
Additionally, we support talent management and development through counsel and education and collaborate on strategies that attract, retain and elevate diverse talent. Our BRGs offer a number of developmental opportunities for our workforce including mentoring, professional workshops and networking.
It's not just what we communicate, but how we communicate that is critical to the engagement of our employees, customers and communities. As part of the work and partnership with the business, diversity and inclusion and our BRGs offer communications support in language, accessibility and cultural nuances. "Inclusion Begins with You" is our campaign strategy to promote an inclusive workplace and business practices. In partnership with our corporate communications team and social media, diversity and inclusion has provided education and increased awareness to support better outcomes for our employees, customers and patients.
Just as important as the impact we have inside our buildings, we work to impact the communities outside of our buildings through community engagement and leadership. Through our employees and business resource groups, our company reaches a number of community programs and initiatives.
Our supplier diversity program promotes business opportunities for diverse suppliers, including minority-owned, woman-owned, historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone), service-disabled veteran-owned, veteran-owned, small businesses and other disadvantaged business enterprises in the various communities we serve.
In recognition of Highmark Inc.'s supportive and inclusive culture for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning employees, the company has earned distinction as a "Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality" from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Highmark qualified for the award by receiving the top score of 100 points in the 2017 and 2018 national Corporate Equality Index, which benchmarks corporate policies and practices pertinent to LGBT employees, helping businesses to compare themselves to those that are leaders in diversity and inclusion.
In 2015 and 2016, Highmark Health was recognized as a "Best Place to Work" in the "Disability Equality Index." The index is a new national benchmark established jointly by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the U.S. Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®). Points were awarded on the basis of four criteria, including culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices, and community engagement and support services.
In 2017, our SALUD BRG was awarded Vibrant Pittsburgh's ERG/BRG Marketplace Award for its efforts in helping our organization cultivate marketplace opportunities for the organization through culturally competent sales and customer service, and for creating innovative, marketplace-focused business solutions in the Hispanic and Latino community.
Highmark Health is one of three Pennsylvania businesses to be recognized by the Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, with the Above and Beyond Award for extraordinary support of its employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. The ESGR Above and Beyond Award was created to publicly recognize American employers who provide extraordinary patriotic support and cooperation to their employees.
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 15,400 clubs in 135 countries around the world. Members of Toastmasters regularly give speeches, gain feedback, lead teams and guide others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere. There are many levels of awards that can be achieved in communication and leadership, as well as a variety of tracks for specific interests in speaking. Since its charter, Highmark Health's BRG group earned the "Distinguished Club" designation, the "Select Distinguished Club" designation and the "Beat the Clock" award for membership. Several of our members have achieved competent communicator and competent leader status and are currently working on advanced program tracks.