Not Problems, But Opportunities

By Debbie Bolla

“When somebody gives me bad news, I usually say ‘good,’ because then I have the opportunity to do something better.”

That’s certainly a glass-half-full point of view, and Matthew Owenby is certainly a glass-half-full kind of guy.

When the SVP and CHRO of insurance provider Aflac said this to me earlier in July when I had the opportunity to interview him for this month’s cover profile, I was struck by his openness to feedback. But employee feedback is truly at the core of the transparent culture of Aflac. In fact, Owenby walks the halls of Aflac’s offices daily, speaking with employees to get a better understanding of what they are thinking and how they feel.

“I try to be visible and active. I don’t sit behind closed doors. So it’s not uncommon for employees to share what they like or don’t like, and I’m perfectly fine hearing that feedback,” he says.

The organization even encourages employees to share their opinions by hosting pulse surveys throughout the year to see which HR initiatives are working -and which ones are not. And it’s often that feedback that drives positive change for the organization.

For example, recent pulse surveys show that satisfied employees are looking to get more from the on-site “Aflac Care Centers,” requesting massage and physical therapies. Also, Aflac’s “Knowledge Sharing Network” helped the organization improve the onboarding process by providing a gamified experience.

Learn more about Owenby and his innovative opportunities in HR That Fits the Bill.

Tags: July-August-2018, Magazine Article

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