Why Our Folks Work Finest When They Select The place They Work

Jennifer Weaver, CIOand Shannon Clark, Distant Expertise Supervisor at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Jennifer Weaver, CIOand Shannon Clark, Remote Experience Manager at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Jennifer Weaver, CIOand Shannon Clark, Distant Expertise Supervisor at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Each time we’re requested to share a hit story from our transition to a remote-first work mannequin, Sherry Crawford springs to thoughts.

Sherry’s a software program high quality assurance analyst who’s been with BlueCross for 33 years. In her function, she helps and checks software program modifications for various areas throughout the corporate, together with our member-facing BCBSTN app and our BlueAccess shopper portal. She’s additionally considered one of our totally distant staff.

Although she labored from house at some point per week earlier than the pandemic, Sherry informed us she embraced the chance to be totally distant.

“Since I don’t should drive to campus, I’m utilizing that additional time within the morning to mentally put together for the day and the duties I want to finish,” Sherry stated.

Sherry additionally famous she will be able to focus higher attributable to fewer interruptions, and her stress ranges are decrease becauseshe can sleep a bit later.

Our Distant-First Strategy

Our expertise and digital groups are right here to resolve enterprise issues and enhance our customers’ and members’ expertise. And we will’t try this except our staff really feel we’re supportingtheir wants. Our shift to distant work wasan alternative to supply staff like Sherry the flexibleness that issues to them.

 ​We initiated enterprise-wide surveys that had been particular to distant work, along with our annual worker engagement surveys 

BlueCross has greater than 6,500 staff in 32 states — a geographic presence that’s doubled previously 5 years — and 89 % of our employeesprimarily work at home full-time. Our pursuit of a nationwide worker presence has allowed us to focus on markets with sure hard-to-recruit talent units.

Just a few hundred staff are frequently on-site at our headquarters in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., and in our Memphis and Nashville workplace areas, however they’re allowed to work at home as typically as they like. We use our workplaces for crew constructing and reconnecting, not making folks really feel obligated to be there.

Total, our staff’ response to distant work has been overwhelmingly constructive, as evidenced by our continued excessive engagement scores:

• 92 % general engagement

• 98 % perceive how they contribute

• 98 % take pleasure in working remotely

Distant work isn’t a brand new idea for us, however after we determined to ship all however our ‘lights on’ crew to work at home full time in early 2020, we knew we needed to strategically anticipate challenges with this shift — that approach, we may very well be prepared with options. We applied a crawl-walk-run method to hearken to suggestions, make modifications, alter issues that weren’t working, and construct on those who had been.

We initiated enterprise-wide surveys that had been particular to distant work along with our annual worker engagement surveys. We additionally created advisory committees for each staff and senior management. We modified by enhancing sources and rising flexibility.

We care about defending our members’ data, so we have already got strict data safety insurance policies and procedures in place.However with so many staff engaged on BlueCross-issued laptops outdoors of our community, these protections needed to be enhanced. We’ve round 800 expertise professionals on employees which can be accountable for defending our members’ information, sustaining safety protocols, and preserving data expertise techniques working at optimum ranges throughout the corporate, and we needed to spend money on the fitting digital and digital collaborative instruments.

Nevertheless, there have been some issues we didn’t wish to change. We knew the important thing to making sure this work modelwould be a successwas inretaining our firm tradition.

Constant Connectivity

To present staff the chance to reconnect in particular person, whether or not for business-related wants or simply to see one another, we started internet hosting month-to-month ‘Welcome Wednesdays’ at our Chattanooga campus, the place lunch is offered for workers. Managers are inspired to schedule crew conferences on today and create in-person collaboration alternatives for distant staff. They’re additionally inspired to make use of our on-site innovation labs for technique and brainstorming periods.

In fact, we additionally should stay up for ourlong-term future.BlueCross is a expertise firm, and we imagine our future is within the palms of homegrown tech expertise. That’s why we’ve created our personal expertise pipeline with the BlueSky Tennessee Institute. This system, a partnership with East Tennessee State College, provides college students fascinated by tech careers a path to a bachelor’s diploma in computing in simply over two years with little to no debt. In 2022, we welcomed our first cohort of 30 college students.

We see BlueSky Institute graduates as the long run leaders of BlueCross, and mentorships with members of our management crew, in addition to enterprise data expertise employees, are an integral a part of their expertise. Our second cohort — an extra 30 college students — arrives in August.

At BlueCross, we all know the modifications we have made — and the points of our tradition that we have retained — have given us a aggressive edge in a troublesome market. We additionally notice we nonetheless have work to do to construct stronger connections with new distant staff. However that is our dedication, as we wish extra crew members like Sherry Crawford, extra distant employees, and extra tech-focused people that can assist us serve our members and fulfill our mission of offering peace of thoughts by means of higher well being.