Throughout my junior and senior High School years, I dedicated an extensive amount of time into researching what I wanted in a University. Knowing that I would ultimately be committing the next 4 years of my life to a college meant I had to decide on a school that would not only provide me the appropriate discipline knowledge for my career aspirations, but also one that would offer the best ‘fit’ for my makeup. I actually visited over a dozen universities that were matches on paper before finding the school that felt right for me and my personality.
Similarly, as you are approaching graduation, you have the daunting task of identifying which companies to pursue employment with. In doing so, I just want to point out that while I am in no way diminishing the importance of the traditional factors you may research, such as; industry, job duty, location and size, I am simply saying that it shouldn’t be the only thing you explore. As a recruiter for a Fortune 500 company I look for candidates that emphasize how the culture of a company is just as important to them as their daily duties. In fact, this can ultimately play a role in whether or not you are hired for a position you apply to as most employers value ‘motivation’ and ‘company fit’ just as much as they do ‘ability to perform the duties of the job’.
They say that nobody goes to school to be a Claims Adjuster. This was exactly the case for me. I was an Economics major that played college baseball and didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I graduated. I have compiled a short list of some of the things beyond daily tasks that make Progressive, yes insurance a great match for me and may be a great match for you as well.
- Training & Tuition Assistance – Without having any previous experience with claims, here I was provided all of the necessary tools to excel in my role. Whether it be via internal training through our Blackboard system, taking classes at a local university or traveling to one of our corporate facilities, I consistently gained knowledge to grow in the field. Additionally, the Individual Development Process (IDP) allows employees to play a key role in their own career direction by working with their manager on their aspirations. Ultimately, this allowed me the mobility I desired and has resulted in my 5th position.
- Social Networking – Many employers are resistant to allowing access to Social Media at work. Progressive on the other hand has embraced it. Facebook is often a site which we direct employees to via our intranet and has become a great way to network with coworkers – both in your immediate office and remote. Take time to follow ‘Flo’ or ‘The Messenger’ to see what they have to say as well.
- Employee Feedback – One of the most challenging things a new graduate can face coming out of college is working in an environment that seems inefficient or slow to adapt to incorporate new ideas. At Progressive I participate in annual OE and WE surveys where my input is actually heard and acted upon. I always feel like I have a voice in the company’s direction.
- Healthy U – Being a former professional athlete, I place a lot of emphasis on maintaining a fit lifestyle. Fortunately, my employer has the same philosophy and feels that happy, healthy, employees are the most productive. Not only do most of our large locations have on site workout facilities, but through our Healthy U program, you have access to information about diet, exercise and weight loss. There are even significant reimbursement plans for gym memberships and benefits for smoking cessation.
- Social Culture & Diversity – The most productive groups are those that not only work together, but play together. Progressive makes sure to allocate funds for branch locations to organize outings and holiday parties. We also frequently arrange after work social gatherings which allows us to get to know our peers better in a different setting. As Diversity and Inclusion also plays a major role in the success of our business, we have also established Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These groups are support systems are open to all Progressive employees and allow individuals with similar race, culture or sexual identification to connect. At Progressive, you are celebrated for the person you are, the ideas you bring, and the energy you invest. Your diverse background helps Progressive succeed, and we want you to realize your full potential through continuous training, leadership development, and an open door of communication.
It truly is the small things with an employer that can make all the difference. Ranging from what kind of 401k matching program an employer may have all the way down to whether or not you will be using a PC versus a laptop to what is acceptable to wear to work each day…you need to decide what is important for ‘you’. Be sure to keep an eye out for things like this, or others that match your life-style the next time you research a company or interview with an employer. Enjoy your remaining time in school and best of luck with your employment search!