Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) recently released its 2020-2021 workforce diversity statistics, providing insight to the makeup of the company.

Key data include the number of women and people of color in the workforce and on the executive leadership team, the generational differences of employees and the percentage of employees who agree that BCBSNE fosters diversity.

Generational differences

The majority of BCBSNE’s workforce falls into the Gen X and Millennial generations, similar to the previous year’s data, but Gen Z and Baby Boomers continue to be represented.

Some employees in the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations have been with BCBSNE for over 30 years, like Christy Kofoed, utilization management specialist manager at BCBSNE, who started at the company in 1988.

“When I first started, everything was still done on paper, and we had it everywhere,” said Kofoed. “I watched us go from paper to paperless and have also seen at least four different claims systems while here.”

Even though much has changed during her time, there have been some constants.

“Our company has always cared about its employees and making sure that they are always cared for and felt like they are valued,” said Kofoed. “I’ve always felt like we’re being led by people who genuinely care about the Blues family.”

The executive team

BCBSNE’s executive team is 57% women and 29% people of color.

Susan Courtney, BCBSNE’s executive vice president of operations and clinical effectiveness, says the teams’ diversity gives everyone a chance to feel represented.

“Diversity in leadership is just as crucial as anywhere else in the company,” said Courtney. “When those in leadership positions reflect the workforce, we are able to understand each other better and make sure everyone’s voice is heard.”

Company culture

In 2020, BCBSNE appointed Jessica “Jay” Warren-Teamer as the director of diversity and inclusion. This year, BCBSNE launched Belonging at Blue, a new diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative to cultivate a company culture where all employees can be their authentic selves and know they belong.

“Our employee resource groups (ERGs) are at the foundation of our DEI strategy,” said Warren-Teamer. “ERGs are a place for employees to connect with each other, explore their identities and build their professional networks. While our ERGs are organized around specific identities, all employees are welcome to join any ERG. It’s a way to build allies and advocates and learn more about the lived experiences of others.”

BCBSNE has six ERGs:

  • Young Professionals (YP) Connect, supporting YPs and their advocates
  • Fearlessly You @ Blue, supporting LGBTQ+ employees
  • Military Families United Together, supporting veterans and military families
  • Building Leaders Like US for Excellence (BLUE), supporting African American employees
  • Latinos Empowered to Achieve Their Potential (LEAP), supporting Latino employees
  • Possibilities, supporting disabled/abled employees

In conclusion

Eighty-seven percent of employees surveyed agreed that the company encourages respect for diversity and 70% agreed that BCBSNE fosters an environment of inclusiveness.

“Spotlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion is a critical part of our talent acquisition process and is further infused into daily life through the grassroots efforts of our passionate ERGs,” said Colin Hayworth, manager of talent acquisition at BCBSNE.  “We understand the importance of having a workforce representative of the market that we serve so we can provide the best products and services to our members and live out our vision and mission authentically.”

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