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Nationwide to invest $160 million in benefits, training

Among the changes for the insurance company is a new program to upskill and reskill its workforce and a Summer Friday program.
By: | January 24, 2020 • 2 min read
(Image courtesy of Nationwide)

Nationwide is committing $160 million to new benefits and workplace training for its 28,000 employees to better develop, retain, attract and engage them.

The insurance company’s updated programs include training, a plan to increase the amount workers earn in their annual bonuses and a summer Friday pilot program, giving employees the option to condense their hours into four days twice per month during the summer.

“It’s the right thing to do for our associates, and we absolutely believe it supports our ability to attract and retain talent in a very competitive marketplace,” says Gale King, Nationwide’s chief administrative officer. “We know that our people are the key to our success, and we firmly believe that if we invest in them, they will invest in us.”

Nationwide’s new summer program—which will be available Memorial Day through Labor Day—is also a way “to improve [employees’] overall wellbeing and engagement,” she says.

Companies are focusing on flexibility as a growing number of employees demand more time off and better work-life balance. According to recent research from benefits provider Unum—which surveyed more than 1,500 working adults about their most desired non-insurance perks—employees are clamoring for paid time off and flexibility. Forty percent of employees said paid time off was the workplace benefit they wanted most, followed closely by flexible and remote work options (30%).

“We think the three-day weekend addresses the need for flexibility for all generations in the workplace,” King says.

Related: An inside look at April’s Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

Nationwide’s training investment—dubbed the Future of Work program—will be a five-year program to reskill and upskill associates. The investment will equip associates in digital literacy and future capabilities training. It includes the launch of an online Future of Work Center next month.

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Annually, every employee will be provided a personalized learning curriculum focused on skills for the future, the company says. Workers will receive applied learning opportunities that assist with their development and provide additional exposure to other career opportunities. Reskilling opportunities will be business-unit specific and will include targeted career paths, Nationwide says.

“Our commitment to [employees] has to be holistic and must include helping them prepare for the future,” King says. “The advancements in technology, the speed of change, competitive forces and the resulting impact of automation requires that we be proactive in preparing our associates for a very different future of work—one that is heavily technology-enabled.”

Related: 15 employers that made employee benefit changes in 2019

Meanwhile, employees who participate in the program will get increases in their bonuses.

These aren’t the only changes the insurance company recently made to its benefits package. In December, Nationwide added two weeks to its paternity, maternity and adoption leave benefit, allowing 14 weeks of paid time off for new moms and 30 days of bonding time for fathers, domestic partners and adoptive parents.

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King says the enhanced benefits were in part spurred by employee feedback.

“We consistently ask our associate resource groups to provide us their feedback on benefits, the work environment and other factors that influence the overall wellbeing of our associates—and use their feedback to evolve our programs,” she says.

Hot benefit trends will be among the topics discussed at HRE’s Health & Benefits Leadership Conference, held April 15-17 at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. To register, visit www.benefitsconf.com

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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