In 2013, employees throughout Progressive began working to change that notion. These volunteers started visiting local schools to teach science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills in a different way—through fun, real-world-driven “Crash Courses” developed by Progressive employees to reinforce STEM skills using insurance concepts.
Since then, more than 23,000 elementary, middle, and high school students across the country have engaged with one of these courses, learning how math can be used to predict car accident risk, how physics affects the flight of a baseball, and a whole lot in between.
The idea for Progressive’s STEM Progress® program came from an employee idea submitted for a companywide challenge from our Innovation Services department, a group dedicated to collaborating between business areas and exploring new ideas to see if they have business value. The goal of the STEM Progress program was to generate more interest in STEM-related careers from young students—and it seems to be working.
Each course in the program strengthens the crucial link between the classroom and the workplace, showing how many jobs at Progressive use the STEM skills students are learning at school. Our two newest courses—“Destination: Space Camp” and “Plan IT, Code IT, Test IT” for elementary and high school students, respectively, launched in 2017 round out our program of seven total courses.
“These days, students are starting to explore their interests and make career-path decisions earlier than ever before, so we want to inspire them to consider pursuing STEM careers in areas they’re passionate about,” says Progressive’s STEM Progress Program Coordinator Hannah Kam. “As we enter the sixth year of this program, we hope that offering these kinds of creative learning experiences will continue to inspire future generations of forward thinkers.”less
“Our workplace culture is one where we welcome and respect our employees for who they are, the ideas they bring, and the energy they invest toward our business goals,” says Diversity & Inclusion Manager Marisa Afzali. “One of the many ways we achieve this is through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These grassroots groups of employees are fully supported by executive leadership and enable us to explore and learn from our social and cultural differences in order to develop ourselves, support the people we work with, and advance our business.”
For example, Progressive’s Asian American ERG worked with business leaders and local independent agents in the Seattle, Washington, area to better serve the needs of Asian American consumers. We’ve also leveraged our Young Professionals ERG to provide key insights on first-time home buying experiences, which helped our homeowners business understand what’s important for Millennials when shopping for and insuring their all-important first homes.
Our Disabilities Awareness Network also recently partnered with our Real Estate group to provide input on physical improvements in our work environment. After a “tour” of one of our campuses through the point of view of people with visible and invisible disabilities, we made several changes—such as slowing down the time it takes for elevator doors to close—so all areas of our building not only comply with applicable legal requirements but are more user-friendly for everyone.
Employees who participate in one or more of our nine ERGs understand more about their colleagues and, in turn, our customers, by learning about their backgrounds, experiences, and ways of thinking, which often are different than their own. They also gain a wealth of development opportunities—from sharpening their skills to networking with other employees of all levels and skillsets from across the company.
As our business grows and hiring needs increase, our ERGs, and the inclusive workplace culture that nurtures them, help us attract the best and brightest job candidates and better serve the needs of our customers. To us, that’s just being true to our name–Progressive.less
Recently, Progressive CEO Tricia Griffith signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge—an initiative designed to help companies work together in advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. More than 300 other CEOs have also signed the pledge, which launched in June 2017.
Progressive also published a new report outlining its diversity and inclusion efforts. This report highlights Progressive's accomplishments, summarizes its opportunities, and showcases its talent. It also includes the results of a companywide pay-equity analysis showing that for Progressive employees with similar performance, experience, and job responsibilities, women earn at least $1 for every $1 earned by men, and people of color earn at least $1 for every $1 earned by their white coworkers*.
To show our support for nondiscrimination policies in our headquarter state, Progressive also joined the Ohio Business Competes coalition. Ohio is one of 39 states that don’t yet have policies protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. By joining this coalition, we’re helping to send a message to lawmakers, encouraging them to enact nondiscrimination policies at the state level.
As a highly visible Fortune 500 company, advocacy matters. Signing the pledge and joining the coalition are both very public statements of Progressive’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
As a further sign of our commitment, in 2017, we introduced a new series of e-learning modules and in-depth discussions, designed to demonstrate for Progressive managers how certain leadership behaviors can help us create an environment where employees, customers, and business associates feel welcomed, valued, and respected. It also tackled challenging issues like hidden biases head-on with interactive learning, videos, and exercises.
At Progressive, we want everybody to bring their real, whole selves to work every day, and feel valued and respected for who they are as individuals. It’s just another way we stay true to our name.less
When it comes to working on exciting new technological platforms and harnessing the power of big data, the best and brightest talent in these areas have historically been drawn to Silicon Valley, not northeast Ohio, where Progressive’s headquarters are based. But we’re aiming to change that trend.
Progressive IT College Recruiter Josh Taylor says, “Since Progressive became involved with this group, it’s nearly doubled in size, and all but one of the group’s speakers in 2017 were Progressive employees sharing their knowledge with others in the community.”
Progressive also co-manages a Meetup group in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that focuses on the Windows.Net framework.
“These kinds of knowledge-sharing sessions are a great way for area IT professionals to share ideas and innovations around using cutting-edge software,” adds Josh.
Take Apache Hadoop’s open-source software suite, which enables networks of computers to efficiently work on projects involving gigantic data sets. For the past couple years, members of Progressive’s IT organization have participated in quarterly, after-hours user groups with teams from other local companies—all in the name of knowledge sharing, with a little networking mixed in.
“High-end data scientists really crave the kinds of projects that harness Hadoop’s power—it’s part of what’s called an ‘anti-pattern’ movement among developers, where instead of templatized, pattern-based approaches to solving problems, they prefer solutions that have never been done before,” says Progressive’s Data & Analytics Business Leader Pawan Divakarla. “When we participate in Meetup events like these, a side benefit is that we get to show people outside of Progressive that we work on many data-driven projects that cry out for innovative minds and ideas. And you don’t have to move to the west coast to work on them.”less
In 2017, 21% (7,235 employees) had flexible work arrangements. Here are the type of arrangements and how they break down.
Through our STEM Progress® program, we develop and teach interactive lessons called Crash Courses to encourage students to develop skills in science, technology, engineering and math.
Here’s information on our efforts in 2017:
In 2017, Progressive IT sponsored two week-long summer High School Coding Camps with Tech Corps, facilitated at Lakeland Community College and Cleveland State University, where students from around Cleveland engaged in hands-on, interactive coding activities.
In 2017, Progressive’s Compliance and Ethics department introduced a new series of videos for employees called “Right Way Every Day.” The series featured thought-provoking workplace situations that help employees develop a deeper understanding of how our Code and Core Values guide us in the workplace and the “real world.”
Throughout 2017, The Network of Empowered Women (NEW) Employee Resource Group (ERG) hosted ten “coffee talks” to raise awareness of the challenges women may face at home and in the workplace. The series featured topics such as, Cultivating a Growth Mindset and Networking 101.
Progressive employees in 18 states across the country participate annually in a school supply drive to benefit the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF). The collection was sponsored by the Young Professionals Network employee resource group. For the 2017 drive, more than 15,000 items were collected and donated to KINF.
In Spring 2017, Daughters of employees within the ages of 11-14 were invited to the Cleveland and Colorado Springs campuses to experience life at Progressive in IT. Partnering with the Network of Empowered Women ERG, these girls were able to program on laptops, test an application, and work with BIG to do an innovation exercise.
Now in its 16th year, our Progressive Education Partnership Program (PEPP) continues to engage with high school students in northeast Ohio and our Colorado Springs locations to experience and practice the technology they learn in the classroom. In 2017, we helped students in these Ohio high schools: Cleveland Heights-University Heights High School, Euclid High School, Mayfield Consortium, Mentor High School, and engaged with students at the Auburn Career Center. We also helped at these Colorado high schools: Discovery Canyon High School, Falcon High School and Pine Creek High School.
In early 2017, employees volunteered to judge the annual K-8 science fair at Miles Park Elementary School in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 2017, our STEM Project team introduced two new Crash Courses: Destination Space Camp and Plan IT, Code IT, Test IT. In Destination Space Camp, students in grades 3-5 are taught basic IT programming concepts by playing a fun board game where they use their algorithmic problem solving, collaboration, and critical-thinking skills to program a route to space camp. In Plan IT, Code IT, Test IT, students in grades 9-12 are taught about the Software Development Life Cycle. Through a series of videos and hands-on activities, students will experience how software is developed at Progressive and learn about the various roles on a project team. This lesson reinforces concepts covered in IT classes at the high school level.