Getting to the Heart of Business Jun01

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Getting to the Heart of Business

Audrey Boone Tillman manages most of the noncore business functions for Aflac Inc. As executive vice president for corporate services, she oversees operations for the divisions of Facilities and Health Services; strategic sourcing and procurement; corporate learning; the company’s print business; and human resources. But for this former professor and practicing attorney, employees are at the core of her work for the insurance company, which is recognized as one of Black Enterprise’s Best Companies for Diversity.

Tillman has spearheaded several creative and progressive programs to improve not only the quality of Aflac’s work environment, but also its employees’ personal lives, particularly in the area of finance. “If [employees] are focused on financial stresses, it will absolutely transfer to their roles as Aflac team members,” she says. As a result, Aflac has offered classes ranging from how college graduates should manage their finances to how to recover financially after a divorce. Through a partnership with NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit homeownership organization, 43 employees were enrolled in Aflac’s custom homebuyer program in 2011.

In 2010 Aflac initiated Just Stop It, an employee competition judged by senior-level staff that presents outdated or inefficient work processes and systems that employees think should be eliminated. Team members submitted more than 1,000 ideas. Two top prizes of $5,000 were awarded—one to Nick Demko, a technology analyst whose suggestion of eliminating postage-paid reply envelopes would save the company $186,474 a year in mailing costs. Twenty runner-up prizes of $1,000 each were also awarded.

Tillman has restructured the healthcare coverage at Aflac from two categories to three: Individual, Family, and Employee with Children, reducing the price of healthcare for single-parent households. Savings range from $145.25 per month on a basic plan to $329.19 per month for a deluxe plan. “A lot of business leaders do things through their own eyes,” Tillman says. “I like to see things from the employees’ perspective.”

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