While these are components of the way leaders engage with employees, the company also relies on a series of formal meetings that ensure employees get the information they need in a timely fashion from a variety of leaders.
Ask Audrey. Every quarter, Audrey Boone Tillman, Aflac’s executive vice president of corporate services, holds an event where employees can ask questions about anything relating to the business. Because Tillman is the only person from management present and the questions are submitted anonymously online, it ensures employees feel like they have a safe space to air their grievances. “It’s a great way to shed light on hidden concerns,” Tillman said.
Talk the Talk. These quarterly town hall meetings are held live in the company’s cafeterias to encourage two-way communication among all employees across ranks and to keep everyone posted on the organization’s larger strategic vision.
Weekly Assurance. This meeting format aims to reinforce customer service performance. Each week every team leader across internal operations holds a small group huddle with his or her team to share department updates and important information, provide a “view from the top” — a message from leadership that depicts how employees impact the business — and showcase a customer service success story demonstrating how an employee applied “Aflac Way” behaviors.
For example, in a recent meeting managers shared the story of a call center representative who was helping a customer deal with a series of billing errors. Instead of forwarding the complaint via email to someone in billing, the representative took the time to find a live person in another department and worked with that person to fix the problem immediately.
It was an example of Aflac Way commandment five: “Your problem is my problem.”
“Offering that recognition and providing clarity on what the commandments mean is so important,” said Laree Daniel, the company’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer. “It’s how we define what the Aflac Way looks like and link it back to our culture.”
Skip Level Meetings. All Aflac executives are required to hold regular skip level meetings, in which they meet with the employees who report to a member of their staff. The goal is to make sure the next level of employees are getting what they need from their manager, and that corporate messaging is clear and consistent going down through the ranks.
Let’s Talk. These meetings came to life organically when Daniel felt like she needed to get a better pulse on what was going on with front-line employees. On a random day, Daniel said she will find an employee or small group and take 10 minutes to talk to them about their jobs.
“The purpose is to find out what’s going on in their world, what they are hearing and what roadblocks they face on the job,” she said. The meetings have become so popular that other executives have begun launching similar initiatives.