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Humanizing the Employee Experience

Employee Experience

October 24, 2022

The concept of a workforce value proposition has largely been identified as what sets your brand apart but previously focused on the employee solely as a worker. As we start to emerge from the throes of the pandemic, one thing has never been clearer: we must see and value our team members as a whole human.

ARAG is a legal insurance company with its United States headquarters located in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). In 2014, we invested in an intense three-month journey to define who we were at our best and what was needed to continue that momentum into the future. Last year, after exponential growth, we knew it was time to reflect on those values and establish what comes next. More than 60 team members participated in peer reviews and focus groups that led to a reloaded ARAG At Its Best.

ARAG Values

The values that help define ARAG today are:

Be Bold

  • Advance innovation.
  • Take risks — stretch toward a goal even if it makes you uncomfortable.
  • Challenge the day-to-day by doing your job differently than you have in the past.

Be Kind

  • Make diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) a priority.
  • Treat others with respect and empathy.
  • Exhibit a genuine desire to nurture your colleagues and customers.

Be Collaborative

  • Create synergy by working with other teams.
  • Connect openly and transparently with your colleagues and customers.
  • Continue to better the company through self-discovery, exploration and lifelong learning.

Be Accountable

  • Take responsibility for everything you do. ARAG’s success starts with you.
  • Share your unique perspective.
  • Own your thoughts, words, actions, mistakes and successes.
  • Invite feedback from your colleagues to help you be your best.

Be Flexible

  • Respond to strategic shifts in priority quickly and positively.
  • Be change-ready while understanding the business impacts of being nimble.
  • Persevere through uncertainty.
  • Explore new ideas and other perspectives with openness.

It’s easy to establish words for your company values but the true effort comes in trying to execute and live them out each day. With those as our foundation, we consider the key pillars of our workforce value proposition: Culture, Career and Total Rewards.

As a family-owned business, we have always felt ARAG was an extension of our team members’ loved ones. That terminology has become a faux pau in recruitment recently, but it’s challenging to find another way to describe the level of support and value that we witness our leadership put into each employee. We encourage flexibility and opportunities for growth in addition to transparency in communication.

We take investing in our workforce very seriously, finding areas where we can develop individual skillsets and personal passions that will contribute to the overall impact of the business. That can be through going back to college, joining a professional organization or traveling for training.

To maintain connection in our new hybrid work model, we host two ARAG Days per month to keep remote team members engaged and encourage people to come into the office. Whether we are hosting speed-learning sessions to spark innovation or planting succulents for Earth Day, setting up a cornhole tournament for the Iowa vs. ISU football game or catering lunch from a Black-owned local business alongside educational opportunities for Black History Month, we are motivated to reignite relationships.

Whether working from 500 Grand or their home office, team members can count on constant information through our robust intranet regarding new hires, policy reminders and upcoming events, as well as a way to virtually banter with each other and share fun news about their families, pets, vacations — you name it. During the pandemic we also had a weekly update from our CEO, David Murray, to provide important safety information and details related to our business and workforce. ARAG leadership also plays an immense role in ensuring these communication efforts get passed on, in addition to regular one-on-ones and performance reviews. The commitment to being our voice on the ground is critical to the success.

Through these efforts, we aim to give our employees an exemplary workplace experience that keeps them empowered, happy and devoted to the overall mission of ARAG: offering confidence to our plan members to navigate life’s legal matters.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership created the Workforce Trends and Occupancy Study (WTOS) Playbook in response to Greater Des Moines (DSM) workforce trends research that was conducted in partnership with Baton Global. The WTOS Playbook features insights related to the future of work in DSM, workforce suggestions for businesses in the region and local case study examples.

Lisa Wolf

Lisa Wolf is the Director of Culture and People at ARAG Legal Insurance in Greater Des Moines (DSM).