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Developing Talent to Succeed at Ameritas

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Many companies strive to improve the lives of their customers and employees. At Ameritas, this vision is more than a hopeful pursuit -- it's real in their work culture. Ameritas leaders at all levels have a strong commitment to creating a strengths-based and engagement-focused organization.

Harnessing Talent to Succeed

The Approach

Creating a Strengths-Based & Engagement-Focused Organization

One of the cornerstones of Ameritas' success is how leaders emphasize talent and in doing so unleash the full potential of their associates. Ameritas leaders recognize that talent is their key differentiator -- and that investing in their associates is essential for long-term growth. To this end, Ameritas began a journey to grow that talent by focusing on their associates' strengths.

At the start, Ameritas was looking for a way to allow everyone to speak the same language and to develop leaders and associates in a way that felt meaningful and made an impact. Ameritas found what it was seeking in a strengths-based philosophy, grounded in Gallup's CliftonStrengths assessment, that focused on developing the innate talents that already existed in their people.

When Ameritas first partnered with Gallup, leaders made sure new hires and newly formed teams had the opportunity to discover and develop their talents by taking the assessment. As associates throughout the organization witnessed the benefits of a strength-based approach -- from heightened collaboration to a more positive work atmosphere -- they began asking if they could join the movement. In turn, internal enthusiasm for and commitment to the initiative quickly grew in a truly organic way.

"Attracting great talent comes naturally when you accept who someone is and what they bring to the organization."

- April Rimpley, Senior Vice President - Human Resources, Ameritas

Ameritas has recruited internal ambassadors, champions, and coaches to help managers and teams better understand the power of focusing on what people do best. Leaders also worked with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches to engender associate ownership and train managers about how to boost engagement within their teams. Ameritas leaders' emphasis on spreading awareness about the power of strengths deepened buy-in and allowed for the creation of a common language that unified teams around Ameritas' cultural journey.

Committed to empowering their people, Ameritas leaders expanded their talent optimization efforts and started cultivating associate engagement in their workplace. This started with Ameritas intentionally measuring associate engagement and setting engagement goals within teams and throughout the organization.

Ameritas leaders recognize that collecting engagement data is just the beginning -- that is, they understand the importance of continually harnessing the Q12 items to facilitate ongoing coaching conversations with individuals and teams. These discussions not only motivate and develop their associates, but also make engagement integral to the daily work culture.

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The Outcome

An Emphasis on Talent Produces Excellence

The Ameritas culture rooted strengths and engagement has catapulted associate development forward and opened doors for performance-driving conversations. The strengths-based approach Ameritas uses has fueled discussions about associate goals and facilitated cross-functional partnerships that help teams better deliver value to Ameritas' 5 million customers.

Associates at all levels are thriving in the positive, recognition-filled work environment. Every day, teams use their unique talents to further the Ameritas mission. In turn, they see how their unique contributions create lasting impact -- and feel a sense of responsibility for shared goals. And, because associates and managers play to their strengths every day, they are more productive and engaged.

Gallup analytics show that employees who use their strengths are nearly six times more engaged in their jobs. It's little surprise, then, that Ameritas has experienced dramatic growth in engagement since the start of its journey -- in fact, it has doubled its ratio of engaged to not engaged associates. Focusing on strengths and engagement has also helped leaders in their pursuit of a more diverse, inclusive, respectful workplace where every associate feels valued.

Ultimately, leaders' intentional effort and dedication to their workplace culture has accelerated performance outcomes. For example, Ameritas has found that managers who use their CliftonStrengths achieve higher team performance, including productivity and profitability. Because these managers understand their natural talents -- and what makes each of their team members uniquely powerful -- they are better able to cultivate excellence and achieve shared goals.

What began as passion among Ameritas leaders is now a collective commitment to fuel a strengths-based, engagement-oriented work culture. Every day, Ameritas associates experience the power of celebrating individual differences -- which energizes them to focus on what's best for the individuals, families and businesses that rely on their products and services. Because Ameritas prioritizes talent, its people are more mission-driven than ever -- and are empowered to win for years to come.

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