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Respect, Meaningful Work Motivates

May. 19, 2013

Albuquerque Journal
by Mike Hartranft

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico has seniority on most of the companies nominated for Top Workplace recognition: It was offering health insurance to New Mexicans the year before the U.S. formally entered World War II.

And it has clearly learned a few things over the years about caring for its family of employees, now numbering 743 and collectively representing more than 6,800 years of health-care experience.

Blue Cross placed first in the top workplace rankings for large companies, receiving an outpouring of employee comments like this: “I am treated with respect, I feel part of a true team working for the benefit of my company and for the best outcomes possible for our members.”

Or: “I get paid to work with a program I love, which allows me to feel I am making a meaningful contribution to not only my company, but to the New Mexico population as a whole.”

An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Blue Cross serves more than 400,000 customers, offering HMO, PPO and individual health plans. It had 110 hires the past year and anticipates adding 200 people over the next 12 months, being one of four companies the state selected to provide Medicaid-managed care under the Centennial Care program.

The benefits package afforded full-time employees and those who work at least 20 hours a week includes 401(k) and pension plans; health, dental and vision coverage; education assistance; short- and long-term disability; employee assistance; and access to a credit union. It also offers an on-site fitness center, Weight Watchers program and a discount gym membership program.

Last year, Blue Cross began an employee program, Proud to Be Blue, that actively encourages teamwork and open lines of communication between employees and management. “What it really does is empower our employees to take care of our members in the way they should, which sometime means looking for ways to take care of them even when there’s probably an opportunity to say no to something,” Blue Cross President Kurt Shipley said.

Employees regularly participate in community events such as the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, the Heart Walk and Operation Back to School.

Shipley, who took the company’s top position just more than a year ago, said the survey results are valuable to him personally.

"It gives me a good feeling that some of the things we’re doing and really trying to make sure our employees are proud to be here every day is paying off,” he said.