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Why BlueCross is recognized by Forbes as the nation’s third best employer for diversity and inclusion

For the second consecutive year, BlueCross has been selected as one of “America’s Best Employers for Diversity” by Forbes. And we’re proud to say that we’ve improved our ranking since last year’s inaugural list named us No. 33 in the nation.

Our 2019 ranking, announced on Jan. 15, places us at No. 3 out of 250 companies in the U.S.

BlueCross Forbes best employers for diversity 2019That’s above other Top 10 companies like Netflix, Penguin Random House and Visa. According to Forbes’ methodology, we are the nation’s top health insurer in terms of our focus on diversity and inclusion. 

Word of mouth

It’s worth noting that the methodology behind these rankings is not based on any formal participation or jockeying from the companies included.

Forbes sponsored an independent, third-party study that surveyed 50,000 workers at companies around the country. 

The rankings are based primarily on responses from workers at each company, along with publicly available information and non-employee recommendations as secondary factors. So this recognition is truly a testament to BlueCross employees and their contributions to our inclusive and culturally competent workplace.

“It’s an incredible tribute to be recognized by our employees as a national leader in diversity,” says Ron Harris, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at BlueCross. “It’s even better to know that this culture belongs to all of us.”

“Together, we’ve intentionally created a wonderful place to work, where every employee is valued, respected, and trusted as part of the team.”

Our approach to diversity and inclusion

BlueCross is a mature diversity and inclusion employer, and that required a lot of intentional effort over a number of years.  The results of those efforts are a strategic plan in which diversity and inclusion are fully embedded.

BlueCross Power of We Ron Harris
Ron Harris, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at BlueCross, addresses attendees at the 2018 Power of We Workforce Diversity Conference

This plan requires diverse candidate pools for management-and-above job openings. It sets measurable goals for diverse supplier relationships each year, as we support small and minority-owned businesses and seek new business development opportunities with vendors who demonstrate diversity within their companies.

BlueCross also thinks beyond race and gender – age, generational differences, physical and mental abilities, religious beliefs and socioeconomic circumstances all factor into our strategy. This is yet another way we reflect the diversity of the cities and state in which we operate.

In addition, the Diversity and Inclusion department reports directly to the CEO, which demonstrates that the senior leadership team believes in these goals. 

How we’ve kept building

For all of our success, cultural competency remains a work in progress in BlueCross. That’s why, in 2018, we continued navigating our way forward with a number of initiatives.

Following our 2018 recognition by Forbes, a number of our business partners and customers reached out to us about our approach to diversity and inclusion. Our Power of We Workforce Diversity Conference, held in Nashville last October, allowed us to share what we’ve learned along the way and foster dialogue with fellow Tennessee businesses, community leaders and decision makers.

We took lessons learned from the event and shared them with the broader business community to increase cultural competency and help companies compete for talent.

Our support of Project SEARCH helps students with learning disabilities establish a career path.

BlueCross also supported Project SEARCH, a program designed to give young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities valuable work experience. Our Chattanooga office welcomed eight senior-year students from Hamilton County schools as interns and provided opportunities for them develop the kind of life and professional skills that will help them find gainful, competitive employment.

Supporting Project SEARCH is but one way that we continue to foster workplace inclusion for the differently abled.

Looking ahead

While we are honored to receive this Forbes recognition, these honors are not why we seek to be an inclusive and culturally competent workplace.

It’s the best way to do business for our employees and our members, and we will continue to ensure all voices are heard, give everyone a place a table, and proactively take steps to fully integrate diversity, inclusion and cultural competency into our mission of providing peace of mind through better health.

About Jesse Thompson, Senior Communications Specialist

A photo of the authorJesse joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2017. A Chattanooga native, he has more than 15 years’ experience in content creation, management, and strategy for consumer audiences, including a six-year stint in health care marketing.

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