In early 2018, the executive team at Blue Cross and Blue Shield North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) decided to rethink its corporate direction, including its mission, vision, values and strategy.
Vowing to put people and company culture at the heart of everything it does, knowing that delivering on the mission and vision would be an inside-out job, Blue Cross NC began a journey of culture transformation.
Focused on people practices and analytics, their efforts are now paying off across all areas of the business.
The Challenge - Helping the Company Stay Aligned to New Values
Blue Cross NC rolled out its new direction with the first strategic pillar being “People and Culture.” It was the first time that people and culture were officially positioned alongside the work of the business and seen as an area of strategic strength.
The company had earned Great Place to Work® Certification for a few years and was pleased it had a reliable data source for the enterprise scorecard.
But they also needed to measure progress at a more granular level and wanted to give managers actionable data for continual improvement on how they could best achieve the strategic work of the business. That “how” lived in their new values and was driven by their People and Culture initiatives.
Luckily, Great Place to Work had just launched their culture management platform Emprising™, and Perri Mathews, Manager, Culture Transformation and Change at Blue Cross NC knew it would be an incredibly helpful source of detailed people data to drive the business forward.
The Solution – Emprising Supports Strategic People Initiatives
Emprising empowered the Culture Transformation and Change team to begin telling stories about their people with data.
Perri explains, “Data matters. It matters to our company and it matters to our leaders. Emprising lets us tell a culture story with data so we can help everyone in the organization understand where we are as a company, where we want to be in the future and the role we all play in getting there.”
Emprising has other benefits as well. Blue Cross NC empowered their team with the Manager Access feature.
Perri says, “Giving managers access to their survey results dashboard was an important step in our culture transformation journey because it showed our faith in their leadership. It also allowed them to take accountability and ownership of their teams’ People and Culture experiences, through data.”
The Power of Data and Meaningful Conversations to Improve Culture
In 2016, while designing their Trust Index™ survey, the Blue Cross NC team added the custom statement, 'How many times in the last six months have you had a meaningful conversation with your leader?' to measure the frequency of meaningful conversations.
When the results came in, they were surprising. The Blue Cross NC team found that the positive correlation between meaningful conversations and positive employee experience held true for all statements on the survey, including all of Blue Cross NC’s custom statements.
The Great Place to Work Customer Success team suggested focusing on meaningful conversations, an area that had created valuable momentum at similar organizations.
This strategic focus allowed the team to rally around meaningful conversations as a change agent, knowing that the practice greatly impacts workplace experience.
Perri says, “With this insight, gleaned from Great Place to Work data, we developed an entire piece of work around having meaningful conversations.”
And because culture is part of the fabric of the company, meaningful conversations are woven into our company systems, including performance conversations, change training, and leadership development practices.
Since beginning this focus on meaningful conversations, Perri says, “Our 2018 survey data showed that folks who were having fewer than two meaningful conversations in the past six months were having a less positive experience overall than our internal benchmark of 82. Those who had three to five meaningful conversations exceeded our internal benchmark. Anyone with six or more meaningful conversations exceeded our 2021 enterprise scorecard goal and were also having a ‘Top 100’ experience. This trend held true in our 2019 data as well.”
With Emprising, the data collected around meaningful conversations has offered even more insight.
The ability to more easily gather, access and analyze data in Emprising has allowed Blue Cross NC to exceed its culture goals in ways it never knew was possible.
And, because managers have access to their own data, data-based culture conversations are beginning to take place at every level of the organization, not just at the executive level.
In this way, Blue Cross NC keeps the health of its employees and its culture strong and vibrant.