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What They Do
Provide 5,700 mid-sized clients across the country with expert advice and support in the areas of business and personal insurance, employee benefits programs, surety bond placement, safety consulting, claims advocacy and 401(k) advisory services.
Headquarters: Schaumburg, Illinois
Annual Revenues: $59 Million.
What Makes Assurance Agency, Ltd. Great
Everybody Wang Chung Tonight. Eye of the Tiger. Dream On. Whatever mind-numbing monotony the words “insurance, surety bond placement and claims advocacy” call to your mind, these are the theme songs to banish them. Each year, Assurance Agency chooses a theme to encapsulate that year’s goals. The STYX song, Mr. Roboto, was their anthem for a year when the lyrics “I'm not a robot without emotions, I'm not what you see, I've come to help you with your problems, so we can be free” were used to help inspire everyone to improve their use of technology.
The company says they try to “keep employees entertained and guessing at the next crazy thing we’ll do.” As part of this effort, employees receive a random birthday gift each year: CDs of birthday music and mini-robot USBS, for example. And the company hosted an ice-cream social one day where employees were invited to come to a conference room to pick up an ice cream treat together with a crisp $50 bill.
“Assurance tries to be different in every way - and it succeeds,” says one employee. “From the branding in the office to the events that are put on - all have a touch of creativity that make it a little more fun and lot easier to spend your days here.” It’s a strategy that seems to work: over ninety percent of their staff say that not only is Assurance Agency a fun place to work, but managers have a clear vision for the organization’s future.
No matter how unusual you or your ideas are, Assurance Agency has an avenue available to hear what you have to say. Employee committees are popular for just about anything from organizing charitable endeavors to designing wellness efforts and office space. At the end of their annual meeting, employees are not only encouraged, but actually required to ask the CEO or other members of the leadership team a certain number of questions before they can leave.
In addition to soliciting their ideas, 93 percent of employees say the organization actually responds to them. Assurance has two “personal idea mascots” – animated light bulbs called “Ivan and Sharon Idea” – which are meant to encourage employees’ regular spontaneous input. For each suggestion employees submit, they receive a $5 gift card, with no limit on how many can be submitted. The company has gone on to implement 60 percent of the business improvement ideas that employees have shared so far.
If you get promoted, expect to receive a bottle of private label champagne.
Ideas are not the only contributions that get noticed: 93 percent say that everyone has the chance to receive special recognition at Assurance. “Assurance, more than any other place I've ever seen, believes in appreciation,” describes one employee. “It finds ways both big and small to say thanks … like renting out Wrigley Field for the day and letting us play ball on the field. Assurance really cares about [employees’] happiness.” Production staff have a chance to win one of five “Pride” awards that come with one of Assurance’s typically-quirky “trophies,” like an oversized pen, a dog food bowl or an Evil Knievil doll, which sit beside a plaque on display in the office. Every employee is encouraged to dole out “high-fives” and winners see their names, pictures, and the reason why they were high-fived scrolling throughout the office’s LCD screens. And if you get promoted, expect to receive a bottle of private label champagne.
If salary alone is your primary measure of financial reward, then Assurance may not be to your liking. Roughly a quarter of the organization would like to see higher pay and more profit sharing. For those who take a broader look at compensation, many employees find that the local daycare discounts, $10,000 in adoption reimbursement and 85 percent company-paid healthcare premium, among other perks, make up an important part their total package. Work-life flexibility and time off is also its own reward for others: 95 percent of the staff is on flexible scheduling, 70 percent telecommute, and everyone gets 35 days paid time off.
But employees won’t need to dip into their vacation to give back to their communities: Assurance gives everyone a paid day off to volunteer for the charitable cause of their choice. Nearly everyone (96 percent) is proud of the way Assurance gives back to the community – which makes sense, because over 90 percent of the organization actively participates in company-sponsored charitable events each year. A rotating committee of 12 Assurance employees called ACT (Assurance Caring Together) facilitates causes that have included endowing an educational fund, creating books for a Down syndrome literacy program, packaging thousands of pounds of food for distribution through local food banks, cleaning up housing areas in mentally handicapped communities, and preparing care packages for soldiers.
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