Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) recently released statistics providing insight on the company’s workforce.

Key data, collected in January of 2022, include the generational split of employees, the number of women and people of color within the company and the percentage of employees who believe the organization values diversity.

Meet Team Blue  

BCBSNE’s executive leadership team consists of 50% women and 25% people of color. Overall, women make up the majority of the company’s workforce – at 70% – and 21% of employees are people of color.

Gen Xers and millennials hold the majority for the generations in the workplace at 42% and 40%, respectively, while the number of baby boomers continues to decline as Gen Z slowly grows.

To support all of Team Blue, BCBSNE aims to foster a sense of community and acceptance through a multi-year strategy advancing its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

DEI traditions

BCBSNE has a long-standing tradition of supporting DEI initiatives. The company’s Diversity and Inclusion Group (DIG) has been around for more than 20 years. The DIG provides DEI education and supports BCBSNE’s employee resource groups (ERGs), which include:

  • 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, supporting Black employees
  • Latinos Empowered to Achieve Their Potential, supporting Latino employees
  • Possibilities, supporting disabled/abled employees

Forty percent of BCBSNE employees belong to at least one ERG. These groups host events and volunteer opportunities, providing Team Blue with the chance to come together and learn from one another.

Michelle Shimmel, BCBSNE lead health data analyst, has supported the DIG, YP Connect and Possibilities. She said her experience with the groups has been positive.

“Being involved with our ERGs has opened me up to opportunities outside of my normal day-to-day work and allowed me to network with other coworkers I wouldn’t normally interact with,”  Shimmel said. “I enjoy helping with planning the events and developing a pool of people I can reach out to regarding personal connections as well.”

DEI advancements

Building on its internal traditions, BCBSNE is supporting DEI advancements in the community as well.

In 2020, BCBSNE joined all 36 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans across the nation in pledging to make meaningful change in fighting racism. Then, in 2021, BCBSNE announced its support for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s (BCBSA) National Health Equity Strategy confronting the nation’s crisis in racial health disparities.

BCBSNE has put its commitments into action by hosting DEI trainings for employees and making strides in maternal health, supporting BCBSA’s goal to reduce racial disparities in maternal health care by 50% in five years. In 2021, the company:

  • Provided maternal and child health equity training to 40 employees. This training, hosted by CityMatCH, shared how maternal health inequalities came to be and how they persist today.
  • Sponsoring Nebraska Black Maternal Health Month, in October. Dr. Josette Gordon-Simet, senior medical director at BCBSNE, joined a panel discussion hosted by I Be Black Girl, a collective creating space for Black women and girls to grow, connect and give.

Facilitating positive change  

By continuing its internal DEI initiatives and supporting advancements in the community, BCBSNE has moved the needle within its own company. The percentage of employees who agree that BCBSNE encourages respect for diversity has grown year-over-year. In 2021, 87% of employees surveyed agreed with that statement. In 2022, that number rose to 91%.

“We are committed to being there for people when they need us,” Jay Warren-Teamer, BCBSNE’s director of diversity and inclusion said. “That includes being the change our community needs to see in the health insurance industry – but also as an employer. Our DEI initiatives contribute to a sense of belonging at BCBSNE. I’m proud of what we have accomplished so far and look forward to continuing to advance the work.”

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