Happy Employees Make a More Successful Business

Getting to the Heart of Business

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.”

Here Tillman explains the value of happy employees, and what the ultimate cost benefit is to the company.

How did you achieve such high levels of participation in Aflac’s 401(k) plan?
We match 50%, but it wasn’t utilized the way I thought it should have been. I said, “Let’s start thinking of ways that we can incentivize people. Not just educate, but incentivize.” People knew what a 401(k) is; people know that it’s a great savings vehicle for the future. It’s just getting them to take that step. We did two things: First we did auto-enroll, and people who didn’t opt out would receive $250 seed money from the company. We also found that it was much easier to have employees stick with their 401(k) if they started from the beginning. Now our participation is north of 85%.

You’ve also championed homeownership for your employees.
When I was first introduced to the concept of NeighborWorks, I wanted something that could be tailored to our employees. I know the importance of homeownership in terms of financial stability. So NeighborWorks created a program, a curriculum. The program is rigorous. We have a lot of people start but fewer complete it. We give seed money as a graduation gift to those that do. We have a number of employees who are now proud homeowners.

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