Matt, one of my direct reports, recently shared a story about when he was stuck in Florida with some travel challenges. He had a big presentation to complete and deliver but wouldn’t make it home in time to access his Progressive computer.
He reached out to a local claims office for help, and Rudy came to the rescue. Rudy let Matt borrow a loaner laptop, and when it wouldn’t work with the software needed, Rudy loaned his own Progressive laptop to Matt. Matt was able to complete the work in time. To make things even better, he came by at 6:30 a.m. the next day to retrieve his laptop and take his new Progressive friend to the airport for his flight home.
This is only one of the many stories I hear from Progressive people on a regular basis. Each employee has at least one example of someone going the extra mile for a coworker or customer that they hold close to their hearts. One of the coolest parts of my time as the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) has been hearing these stories firsthand.
We are fortunate to work for an organization where our values guide our business decisions. They also define how we treat each other, and our customers, agents, business partners, communities, and investors. We hold ourselves—and each other—to a higher standard than most. Our employee base across the country continues to adopt a more hybrid work from home environment. Nurturing our culture will therefore be paramount in maintaining success as a company.
Our Core Values are our foundation
Our culture is unique because it’s grounded in our Core Values. Our Core Values include Integrity, following the Golden Rule, being focused on Objectives, doing everything with Excellence, and earning a Profit. And each of our 50,000-plus Progressive people own and contribute to our culture. It’s that individualism that contributes to who we are as a company.
We want employees to share their ideas, bring their diverse perspectives, and invest their unique energy in the work they do each day.
It's the respect we have for one another that solidifies this foundation. It also leaves us open to grow. We don’t want people to cover, we don’t want them to feel they are an imposter, or filter who they are in other ways. Respecting others is a very special part of our culture.
Maintain a growth mindset
Our culture is not static; it continues to morph and grow over time. Prior to the pandemic, although we had remote employees, we had a majority tied to office locations. With a newly dispersed workforce becoming the norm, it’s even more important that we grow to support those different needs.
We’re working hard to embrace the concept of location inclusion, where everyone feels included regardless of their work location. One of my favorite things before the pandemic was to walk past the incredible artwork hanging on our walls in our office locations. Progressive’s Corporate Art Collection is one of the largest in the country, so our employees in offices had the advantage of experiencing our art on a daily basis.
When 97% of our Progressive people went home, our Art Department fast-tracked efforts that went from emphasizing in-person events, to engaging with people wherever they’re located. Yes, that includes someone’s living room. If you’re an art lover, check out some of our eclectic pieces in our Progressive smartphone app!
We continue to reimagine our culture and programs to avoid focusing on offices first. For example, we’re rethinking our leadership training and career development opportunities to be more successfully accessed remotely.
We want to be intentional about including everyone, no matter where they are physically sitting (or standing).
Listening for the future
COVID shook things up in a big way. My team and I are just starting to fully understand the lasting impacts from how we work to how we build on our incredible culture.
Throughout my 18 years at Progressive, I’ve learned how to listen. You can’t embrace a growth mindset without a lot of listening. As CHRO, I get to see across all business areas how creative, compassionate, and engaged our Progressive people are. No one knows more about their work experiences than they do. I have been, and plan to continue, absorbing as much of their feedback as possible.
Progressive also conducts an annual anonymous Engagement & Culture Survey to continually gain direct feedback from our employees. We rank in the 97th percentile in relation to other companies of our size.
This doesn’t stop my peers and I from always looking for ways to evolve and meet employees’ needs.
We’ll continue to explore new events and learning opportunities where people can come together in an inclusive location where we can grow together. We’ll find even more ways to connect. This will only help our culture continue to thrive.