Aflac 2021 Business & Sustainability Report: Human Capital Management

We believe in a comprehensive approach to wellness, which encompasses four dimensions: physical, emotional, social and financial.
Jun 17, 2022 9:00 AM ET
Article

At Aflac, we know doing the right thing is good for business, and we do that every day by investing first in our Aflac family. In both Japan and the U.S., the company strives to develop an engaged employee culture by supporting career development, emphasizing work-life balance, listening to our employees' feedback and ideas, and ensuring we show our appreciation for their hard work. Our overarching human capital philosophy is, “If you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of the business.”

Workforce: Aflac U.S.

Employee Wellness and Work-Life Balance

Our employees are central to everything we do, and Aflac is committed to fostering a safe and healthy environment that allows them to excel professionally and personally. Employee wellness is more than just an isolated program or initiative; it is purpose-driven and woven into the fabric of our company’s values and the employee experience. We prioritize health and well-being across our organization, beginning with our employees and extending throughout their organizations, families and larger community. We believe in a comprehensive approach to wellness, which encompasses four dimensions: physical, emotional, social and financial. Each dimension is unique, but all four are key to employees’ overall well-being. Our goal is to provide our employees with the resources, services and tools that cover all four dimensions of employee wellness. This includes:

  • A monthly health and wellness newsletter that covers all the latest happenings to support health and well-being, including employee health benefits, current events, healthy living tips and more.
     
  • Annual biometric screenings that enable employees to track their health progress and find areas for continual improvement.
     
  • Offering preventive screenings to identify and monitor health conditions such as cancer.
     
  • Walking trails that are available on multiple campuses for employees to use to take a breath of fresh air and reenergize.
     
  • Healthy activities and challenges that are incentivizing employees to be more physically active.
     
  • Two on-site child care centers.
     
  • Ergonomics resources, including standing desks and chairs, to assist in creating the most effective and comfortable work environment.
     
  • On-site fitness centers that are available to most employees, along with fitness classes held throughout the year.
     
  • Reduced memberships to private gym facilities throughout the U.S. to accommodate our remote employees.
     
  • Multiple employee health care facilities, known as the Aflac Care Clinics, that offer sick care, health coaching, health assessments and more.
     
  • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which helps employees cope with some of life’s struggles including substance abuse, family matters, marital concerns, as well as financial and legal problems.
     
  • Financial coaching to help manage budgetary commitments, meet financial goals, protect against risks, save for contingencies or future needs like college or retirement, and cope with financial shocks.

At Aflac, we understand that healthy employees are an integral piece of our success as an organization, and by focusing on our employees’ well-being, we are creating business value, improving productivity, retaining talent and more. Our commitment to wellness is just one way we strive to create a highly effective and engaged workplace. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it became clear that our employees’ well-being was even more critical and presented an opportunity for our company to augment our well-being offerings. In response to these challenges, Aflac worked to prioritize employee wellness by providing flexible work arrangements, placing more focus on employees’ mental health, creating safe and responsible reopening plans based on CDC guidance, and more.

Employee Appreciation

Our core philosophy of caring for our employees is central to why Aflac places such an emphasis on engagement and appreciation. Throughout each year, the Company offers a variety of events and activities to celebrate our employees. For example, our Aflac Feathers program allows employees to recognize their peers and leaders by nominating them when they go above and beyond to uphold the seven commitments of the Aflac Way. By collecting points from these nominations, employees earn recognition and can redeem points for special items. Aflac employees also participate in an annual week-long traditional celebration and recognition of our employees — Employee Appreciation Week (EAW). In the U.S., EAW is held the first week of May, and includes a litany of daily activities such as daily drawings to games, entertainment, snacks and food, and community outreach opportunities. Every day of Employee Appreciation Week is designed to show employees how much Aflac appreciates them.

Employee Engagement

While celebrating our employees is important, it is not the only way to drive engagement. Aflac provides leaders with additional tools to acknowledge employees for extraordinary efforts. Other activities that drive engagement include our diversity council, volunteer opportunities in local communities where we operate and access to a variety of support resources including non-denominational faith leaders and a dedicated team of Employee Advocates, whose role is to be a support resource for employees.

In 2021, the overall employee engagement index score was 84%, which was 3 points lower than the 2019 Aflac score while still being 11 points higher than the external global benchmarks. This survey is conducted every two years.

Key Highlights

  • Overall engagement score for 2021: 84%, 11 points above the external benchmark.
  • Employees who feel proud to be part of Aflac: 89%.
  • Equipping factors for employees score: 80%, 5 points above the external benchmark.
  • Participation rate: 80%.
  • Employees who rarely think about looking for a new job at another company: 71%.
  • Employees who believe that Aflac shows a commitment to ethical business decisions and conduct: 89%.

Aflac is active in our local communities and at the national level. The U.S. business regularly partners with civic leaders and other organizations to help develop and inform public policy that assures fair laws and diverse representation, potentially leading to meaningful change.

Talent Development

At Aflac, we know our human capital is our greatest competitive advantage. Employee development is a core focus, with programs and offerings designed to support skill building and development of all our employees.

Career Success Centers

Aflac offers career support services to employees across the U.S. through its Career Success Centers. U.S. employees can meet with career consultants who provide mentoring, coaching, résumé writing support, mock interviews, career consultations, exam proctoring and talent assessments.

Mentoring

The mission of Aflac’s mentoring program, TEACH, is to excite and empower employees to pursue self-development and provide an opportunity to tap into useful skills and experiences of others for growth and development. TEACH allows employees to “teach what they know and to learn what they don’t.”

TEACH mentors are leaders across the organization who volunteer for a six-month program to mentor employees. Mentors and mentees are “matched” for the program based on career alignment and development focus. The program offers organized activities and encourages the pairs to build a working relationship that goes beyond the length of the formal program.


Photo: Keyla Cabret-Lewis; Director of Aflac Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

“We work hard each day to celebrate and cultivate a diverse culture where our employees have the chance to develop professionally and personally. It's not just the right thing to do, but when that happens, it means that we mirror the communities in which we live. It is truly the outward manifestation of our values”

–Keyla Cabret-Lewis, director, Aflac Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Workforce: Aflac Japan

Employee Wellness and Work-Life Management

The company encourages employees to keep a healthy mind and body. As part of our commitment, Aflac Japan provides many tools and resources such as walking campaigns, online seminars to improve health literacy, lifestyle-related improvement efforts such as smoking cessation support, promotion of cancer screening, establishment of employment support system, and other activities to help employees stay healthy.

As a result, Aflac Japan is certified as a Health and Productivity Management Organization by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for the fourth consecutive year. This certification is awarded for best practices in employee health management, strategically focused work style and development of a socially appreciative work environment.

Aflac Japan offers an on-site child care center and provides support for different parenting stages: before prenatal, during childbirth/child care leave, and balancing work and parental responsibilities.

Employee Engagement, Training and Development

We think it is important for Aflac Japan to strengthen employee engagement so that employees can be enthusiastic about their organization and their work and maximize their willingness to contribute. To that end, Aflac Japan conducts an employee engagement survey and implements improvements by leveraging a “plan, do, check, act” or (PDCA) cycle. According to the employee engagement survey conducted in 2021, Aflac Japan employees’ total engagement score exceeds the Japan average. In addition, Aflac Japan adopted a new human resources management system to realize “an environment in which diverse human resources can work autonomously, utilize and maximize their strengths, and form their own careers.” Aflac Japan provides employees with opportunities such as introductions for Career Development Plan, individual training, human resources management training for all managers, as well as training through a variety of means including webinar and micro-learning to support the career development of employees. In addition, Aflac Japan is also working on a selective human resource development program to continue to strengthen the leadership pipeline.

Japan Work SMART

Aflac Japan promotes workstyle reform through its “Aflac Work SMART” initiative.

This initiative aims to maximize organization-wide performance by supporting employee work-life balance through the development of systems and supporting infrastructure that allow each employee to review their own workstyle and achieve a way of working not limited by time or place.

Realizing a better balance between work and home:

Flexible schedules

Aflac Japan offers every employee a flexible work schedule through utilization of shift work and flex-time, as well as paid days off on an hourly basis. For those utilizing child or nursing care, Aflac Japan offers a reduced working hour system where eligible employees can choose work hours from 10 options with a combination of shift work.

Aflac Japan provides a working system and environment that enables every employee to work from home. The company provided all employees with notebook PCs, tablets and smartphones so that they can easily access Aflac Japan’s internal systems from outside the office and work as if they were in the office while using the web conference system.

In order to maximize organizational results even as the impact of the COVID-19 continues, Aflac Japan has established Principles for Working with Corona” (i.e., working in the COVID-19 environment) to work toward a hybrid work style that seeks to realize the best balance of on-site and remote work.

In 2021, the Work SMART initiative contributed to workstyle reform across the company.

  • By promoting work styles that are not limited by place, Aflac Japan was able to maintain stable business operations even though over 50% of employees were working remotely.
     
  • Managers and employees took 87% of their annual paid leave.
     
  • 100% of employees took their maternity or paternity leave, when applicable.

Employee Appreciation

Aflac Japan’s Employee Appreciation Week is designed to celebrate and recognize the company’s greatest assets — its employees. To coincide with the anniversary of Aflac Japan’s establishment, each November Aflac Japan holds its annual Employee Appreciation Week. From daily drawings to enjoying snacks, food and family events, Employee Appreciation Week is designed to show employees how much Aflac appreciates them each and every day.

Download the 2021 Aflac Business & Sustainability Report here.