Exploring the Power of 30,000 People
We owe our success to Travelers’ extraordinary talent. What underlies all our competitive advantages is our greatest asset – our people. The expertise of our 30,000 employees is particularly important in a rapidly evolving business landscape. Together, our employees drive our performance and fuel our ambitious innovation agenda.
We benefit from both the expertise of our long-tenured employees and the fresh perspectives of our new colleagues. To that end, we launched a campaign called “The Power of Travelers Is Us” so we could listen to our colleagues and learn from their diverse perspectives.
Here are a few examples of videos and articles associated with that campaign.
The Power of Encouraging Development
Jason, an Engineer Advocate in Digital Enablement, believes that it isn’t enough to learn a new skill. “It’s just as important that an engineer is able to adapt that skill to Travelers,” he says.
That’s the thought process behind Development Days (Dev Days) … and Hour of Code … and Front-End Development Practice Area … and Engineering Coaching Sessions.
Jason believes in collaboration as much as education. He partners with like-minded colleagues to create learning and development opportunities within Digital Enablement and with the broader engineering community at Travelers.
Dev Days, for instance, bring together engineers, architects, scrum masters, product owners and others to solve real business challenges. “Each participant,” says Jason, “brings unique skills to the table in areas that others might not be as strong in or know as much about.” He encourages participants to bring relevant use cases from their “day jobs” as examples to work through.
Like so many other events, Dev Days have gone virtual because of the pandemic. “We planned and completed the coaching sessions in person leading up to our event in March of last year,” he says, “but we used Zoom for the Dev Day itself.” The topic of that event was design thinking, a “people first” methodology for creating solutions.
It is not unlike Jason’s own thinking – whether the people he’s putting first are the engineers he empowers or the agents and customers who ultimately benefit from the work being done in Digital Enablement.
Everyone benefits because at the end of the day, Jason sees his role as an opportunity to “help shape what the future of engineering is going to look like.”
The Power of Restoring Freedom
As a clinical nurse and a captain in the Air National Guard, Latrik has always followed the military’s advice to “be ready.”
This past January, that meant she had less than a week’s notice before leaving her husband, three children and her role as a workers compensation medical case manager in Travelers’ Upper Midwest Claim Center to deploy to COVID-19 vaccination sites in Missouri. Her Travelers colleagues were very supportive, stepping in and offering to help in any way they could so that Latrik could go on assignment.
May honored both National Nurses Month and Military Appreciation Month, and Latrik says she celebrated by doing what she loves - serving. In her National Guard role, she is currently leading Task Force Freedom, a team that delivers vaccinations to senior citizens, homeless shelters, underserved neighborhoods and other populations who don’t have easy access to the vaccine.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” says Latrik, “and I couldn’t be more excited about providing people with the ability to be with the loved ones they’ve wanted to see over the past year, and do everything else they enjoy doing.”
Latrik joined the Air Force in 1993 and then reenlisted in 2009 with the Missouri Air National Guard. She is assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing in St. Joseph, Missouri, alongside her husband, Marcus, a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard.
As she looks forward to going back to the job she’s held at Travelers for the past six years, Latrik reflects on how her roles in the military and at Travelers are actually very similar and require complementary skill sets.
“In both roles, you are responsible for helping give people their freedom back – whether by vaccinating someone or by helping an injured customer return to work,” she says. “You are really a liaison and an advocate, and that’s true for me here with Task Force Freedom and at Travelers.”
The Power of Helping Us Return to Office Safely
Sarah, Operations Consultant, describes her role in Travelers’ COVID-19 response as being similar to a scrum master. “I serve on a cross functional team of leaders who are experts in their domains. My role is to pull people together and come out with an outcome or recommendation that takes the whole enterprise into account. It’s a mix of project management and execution and delivery, and involves a great deal of collaboration.”
Back in February 2020, the team was preparing technical infrastructure, getting laptops and other equipment ready for a potential work from home environment and trying to anticipate how the pandemic would affect employees (e.g., would it happen regionally?). In March, says Sarah, the focus turned to “making sure everyone was safe and productive in their work environment,” including worksite- and fieldwork-essential employees. And as early as June of last year, the team started thinking about what a voluntary – and, ultimately, broader – return to the office might look like.
“This role is so dynamic,” Sarah says. “Every day is different. Even if we’re talking about a similar topic – masks or vaccinations or social distancing – something in the environment is always changing so that we need to talk about it again.”
The most challenging part, she says, is that “this isn’t isolated to an office or a state. The work we’re doing on this cross-functional team affects the entire enterprise – U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland. We have to take into consideration what’s best for 30,000 employees and what’s best for the company. There are no clear, simple answers to the difficult issues we are trying to solve. We need to have confidence that we put forward plans that will keep Travelers strong and effective in the marketplace and make Travelers a place where people want to work and stay.”
Sarah has done all this while continuing to seamlessly execute on her day-to-day accountabilities within Operations, part of which entails driving progress toward strategic initiatives across the function.
Whether talking about her responsibilities in Operations or her role in the enterprise’s COVID-19 response, Sarah continues to emphasize the importance of collaboration. Looking toward the broader return to the office, she says, “In our core team, we have representation from Claim, Communications, Human Resources, International, Legal, Real Estate, Security and Technology & Operations. To ensure that we keep pace with the marketplace as the environment changes, we also engage with key stakeholders across the enterprise – including leaders whose teams interact with our customers and distribution partners.”
When asked what she finds most rewarding, Sarah says, “I love all the small wins along the way, like the recent rollout of the voluntary return to office program in Canada, California and Oregon. And, most important, it’s knowing that our recommendations and plans are based on extensive research and data, and keep the health and safety of our employees top of mind.”
The Power of Developing Talent in the Field
In each of 11 regions across the United States, you will find a cohort of high-performing individuals in the field preparing to grow into broader leadership roles. Together, they are called the Field Development Group.
The program is a partnership between regional business leadership and HR to help create a pipeline of leaders in customer-facing and internal areas like underwriting, sales and operations. They do this through a two-year, field-driven leadership development experience that includes classroom training, skill-building, e-learning and more.
The first group of over 200 participants graduated from the program in 2020. The next wave of emerging leadership talent will start the program late this year or early next year, following a curriculum focused on subjects such as leadership practices, strategic thinking, inclusive leadership and how to build key business relationships.
“This experience was invaluable in all aspects,” says Christine, who helped lead the Field Development Group program in the Central Region. “The highlight for me was forming new relationships with the other members. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been part of such an amazing program.”
Jeff, with our Bond & Specialty Insurance team in New England, says, “The participants’ energy and engagement were amazing. They didn’t skip a beat even after we went to a fully virtual program earlier in the year.”
Concludes Jim, a senior leader in our Central and Great Lakes regions, “I was impressed by the participants’ sheer dedication to this multiyear program. I am very excited to see where this group goes.”
The Power of Advocating for Both Agent and Customer
The new business started as an opportunity for two lines – National Property and Commercial Account Group – for a large national real estate management company based in the Central Region. But the agent wanted all coverages with Travelers, and so Debbie, an Account Executive in National Property, took on the challenge of making it happen.
Debbie got our Commercial Account Underwriter, Kim, involved right away. At the last minute, Kim identified a coverage gap in the liability coverage and pulled in Chelsea, an Excess Underwriter to fill it.
However, that produced an additional cost, which put all lines with Travelers in jeopardy. Debbie worked with the agent to find a way to offset some of the cost to secure the deal and she and her team found additional credits on the Travelers side.
By listening to both the agent and the customer, Debbie, Kim and Chelsea helped bring in an important new piece of business.
“I’ve worked with this agent for many years,” says Debbie, “going back to before I came to Travelers. It was great to work with this agency again, and our long-standing relationship was a critical piece in a successful outcome for Travelers, the agent and the insured.”
The agent wrote to Debbie: “Working with you and your Travelers team to place this client with your company was made so easy, due to the knowledge and experience of the entire Travelers group that you work with. You and Kim working together to communicate so well as we moved through the process was a key. As you know, there are many pieces and many questions that arise with a client like this, and your ability to respond and give answers quickly really mattered. Having your team working as a unit, with a primary connection with you and Kim, really did help with the flow.
“The client could not be more pleased with the Travelers experience, from the start to placement, then the onboarding with loss control and claims – which, collectively, gave them a comfort that they had made a good partner choice for their future. Travelers’ ability to handle the bulk of this client’s needs, with all contacts primarily coming out of a single local office, also made it much easier.
“Deb, my sincere thanks again to you, Kim and the rest of your team for making this happen. You were all very professional, and everything was done with excellence, start to finish!”