Diversity & Inclusion Aids Employees and Members
3 MINUTE READ
Horizon’s awards and accolades recognize effort to make diversity a priority.
By Thomas Vincz, Public Relations Manager
With 3.7 million members, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (BCBSNJ) serves a vast array of consumers of all ages and races, ethnicities and cultures, abilities and orientations. To serve such a diverse group of members, the company makes sure that its 5,500 employees and hundreds of vendors are every bit as diverse as the members—and the state—it serves.
“There are 155 languages spoken in the homes across New Jersey and health care is extremely personal. In a state with so much diversity, meeting the needs of our members and physicians requires that we have employees who understand those cultures and how they shape health needs and attitudes,” says Peggy Coons, Senior Vice President for Human Resources at Horizon BCBSNJ. “We take pride in attracting, retaining and advancing talent from all walks of life and backgrounds because it’s good for our employees, but it is also critical to our continued success in strengthening our bonds with the diverse communities we serve.”
In order to maintain an internal culture that is reflective of the diversity of its members, Horizon BCBSNJ has instituted several programs and partnerships in order to optimize its diversity and inclusion practices. One of the most important is Diversity Training, which is a fundamental and mandatory component of the company’s approach to diversity. The training increases employee awareness of workplace and customer diversity and expands their knowledge and competence so that they can work effectively in a multicultural environment.
Besides diversity training, Horizon BCBSNJ has several other workplace initiatives designed to educate and encourage diverse representation and inclusive practices across the company. One is Horizon’s Reverse Mentoring Program, which enables high-potential minority employees to mentor the company’s top executives on the perspectives and challenges of individuals from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds.
“In the 87 years that Horizon has been serving New Jerseyans, one thing has remained constant: our employees care about our communities and our members because we come from those communities and those members are also our friends, family, and neighbors,” Coons added. “The many recognitions we have received over the years are evidence of the commitment we make, as individuals and collectively, to celebrate our differences and be responsive and sensitive to needs of our members and the communities we serve.”
One way employees celebrate their differences is through membership in one of Horizon’s ten employee affinity groups that are organized around common backgrounds or cultures. The groups engage in community service projects and sponsor educational events throughout the year open to all employees interested in learning about the culture, history, or traditions of the group’s members. The affinity groups also help the company identify and apply for recognitions that celebrate the efforts Horizon makes to embrace diversity.
Horizon’s recent awards and accolades come from organizations not just in New Jersey, but throughout the nation and across a broad spectrum of categories, including those related to how the company treats and empowers employees.
A few of the many include:
Working Mother 100 Best Companies, for helping working parents succeed at home and at work by providing expanded parental leaves, more flexibility with work hours, assistance for special needs, and opportunities for career development.
Military Friendly® Employer by G.I. Jobs Magazine, for the seventh consecutive year, Horizon was recognized for its military-friendly work environment, workplace policies and outstanding commitment and programs for our nation’s veterans and their families.
LATINA Style Magazine, One of the Top 50 Companies of the Year, for the Horizon Latin American Cultural Organization (LACO), which helps all Latin-Americans at Horizon in their endeavors toward success.
Added Ms. Coons: “At Horizon, we believe there is a direct connection between our employment practices and our ability to lead with strength, integrity and innovation to help improve health care quality, affordability, and the member experience.”
For more information about diversity and inclusion at Horizon, and to view our complete list of awards, visit our website here.