#1 CNO Financial Group

December 2, 2021 – CNO Financial Group, Inc. secures the future of middle-income America. We provide health and life insurance and retirement solutions through our family of brands – Bankers Life, Colonial Penn, Washington National, Web Benefits Design, and DirectPath. Our customers work hard to save for the future, and we help protect their health, income, and retirement needs.

#1 CNO Financial Group

CNO Financial Group

Creating a Culture of Health and Well-being

December 2, 2021

Ranking: #1

Headquarters: Carmel, Indiana

Full-Time Employee Count: 3,300

About: CNO Financial Group, Inc. secures the future of middle-income America. We provide health and life insurance and retirement solutions through our family of brands – Bankers Life, Colonial Penn, Washington National, Web Benefits Design, and DirectPath. Our customers work hard to save for the future, and we help protect their health, income, and retirement needs.

CNO Financial Group is no stranger to the Healthiest Employers awards program. For 8 years, CNO has applied to the Healthiest Employers program and earned national recognition in 6 of those 8 nomination periods, with two 1st place finishes in 2021 and 2019 and a 2nd place finish in 2020. 

How has CNO Financial continued to earn recognition year after year? Kami Reuter, Well-being Program Manager, was happy to share some thoughts from her and the rest of the CNO wellness team on their commitment to employee health.

Q: What specific element of your program is moving the needle for your well-being program and positively affecting your employees' health?

A: CNO offers a vast array of well-being and benefits programs and resources, which gives people the flexibility to engage in programs that are meaningful to them. Because of this, there isn’t just one program that truly stands out as “moving the needle” and affecting employee health. We feel it’s a collection of several initiatives and most importantly data. 

We know that 92% of associates participated in at least one well-being program in 2020 and that 79% completed an annual physical through our onsite clinics, either through virtual care or face to face. In total, we had 69% of associates comply with getting their annual physicals. This was during an unprecedented year where associates were dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, working remote, balancing caregiving and careers, and trying to understand all the social unrest that was impacting our country. 

Because of this high engagement, we can leverage our population health data warehouse tool that includes multiple years of data and benchmark information. Our tool utilizes Johns Hopkins risk indexing to analyze the population health by risk category and compiles medical and pharmacy claims, onsite clinic data, biometric screening results, health risk assessment data, and specific well-being program data to stratify our associate and medically enrolled population based upon a 5-tier risk classification from very high risk to healthy risk. 

Access to this data allows us to strategize on communication campaigns, conduct targeted reach-outs, implement new tools and resources, and customize our plan design. This insight shows the whole picture and a strategic plan so that we can continue to provide programs that benefit our associates and their families based on their preferences, risk and conditions. Ultimately, the primary goal is to positively impact their health and CNO’s top cost drivers.

Q: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how did your organization work to create a "Pandemic Plan" and what factors did you take into consideration when making these decisions? What effects of this plan are still in motion today and/or in the foreseeable future?

A: CNO had a Pandemic Plan in place, but quickly established a COVID Task Force to adjust the plan and ensure that it was specific to COVID-19 based on advice from the CDC and state and local governments. With media attention and changing conditions, heightened awareness, and the concern of our associates and leadership team, it was essential to move quickly and base decisions on expert, scientific advice.

Our focus was squarely on the health and safety of our customers, associates and agents, and the continuity of service to the policyholders who depend on us. In March 2020, we quickly transitioned 97% of our associates to work remotely.

For essential in-office workers, we implemented new protocols to comply with social distancing and other health and safety standards as required by federal, state, and local government agencies, taking into consideration guidelines from the CDC and Prevention and other public health authorities. 

Associates working onsite had to attest to their current health status daily, wear masks, and practice physical distancing. We provided cleaning and sanitation materials for on-site use, closed common spaces, and sanitized frequently-used spaces. 

Early within the pandemic, we created a designated COVID-19 resource intranet page that included COVID-19 educational information, links to CDC sites and videos. The resource page has evolved and continues to provide new information and vaccine education. We also highlighted associates and leader testimonials about their COVID experience, work remote office set-ups, pets, and children. We launched a weekly well-being blog that focused on specific topics and highlighted tips and resources on how to stay healthy during COVID.

Facing new challenges, we strengthened our existing physical, mental, and financial well-being programs. CNO now offers up to 10 days of additional PTO for eligible associates for instances directly tied to a coronavirus situation. We also covered 100% of COVID-19 related costs for associates covered by CNO medical plans. In addition to our standard Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offerings, we hired two dedicated mental health providers that conducted care virtually. As an extension of our onsite health clinics program, we provide free virtual telehealth consultations, annual physicals, and health coaching. These additional offerings are still in place today. 

To support our associates’ physical well-being, we began offering new sleep, anxiety, and meditation programs to aid with stress reduction and work-life balance and expanded our fitness offerings to include free virtual fitness classes and stretch breaks.

CNO associates working remotely during COVID-19 were offered $500 to help furnish a work-from-home space. The reimbursement allowed associates to purchase desks, chairs, standing desktops, work lights, whiteboards, and more. Associates were also able to sign up for a virtual ergonomic assessment with an ergonomic specialist to conduct workstation evaluations and physical therapy sessions.

Associates have access to a new COVID-19 financial toolkit to augment our already robust financial wellness program. Furthermore, CNO and our executives donated more than $300,000 to the “CNO Helping Hands” financial assistance fund, which helped associates that were impacted by COVID-19 or other financial hardships.

CNO launched new caregiver support resources during the pandemic with the following programs to help balance work and personal lives while working remotely:

– Introduced new communications channels to share associate testimonials of their new working experience. We met a lot of families, kids, and pets!

– We created a “Caregivers Support Networking Group” to provide associates with an avenue to seek advice, share tips, and have their voices heard.

– Partnered with Bright Horizons and Sylvan Learning to give associates access to care locators for childcare, eldercare, pet care, tutoring and homework help. Discounts on all services are provided as well.

– Expanded flexible work arrangement approach to better suit associate needs, leveraging associate feedback.

– Introduced “Meeting Challenges” to provide associates with two hours of daily meeting-free time to work, refresh, or to attend to personal matters.

We continue to monitor the ongoing situation and are developing our return-to-office strategy. CNO continues to take a measured approach as we move forward. We expect to reduce our real estate footprint by 50% while creating a flexible work-from-home or office environment that is better suited to the future of work. 

Through efforts that began in 2020 and continued in 2021, we are developing a pilot space in our Carmel, Indiana, corporate location to help guide changes to other corporate offices.

We are currently working with our clinic provider to host onsite vaccine events for our associates and individuals in the community. We are excited about the opportunity to help keep our people and others safe and healthy.

Based on our employee feedback, our associates are pleased with the way CNO responded to this unique challenge.

  • 86% of employees reported feeling supported by their team and managers
  • 87% felt informed of COVID-19 practices
  • 93% were satisfied with COVID-19 related communications

This speaks to the culture of health that has been put in place at CNO Financial.

Q: What makes your well-being program stand out? Relatedly, what statistic best captures the success of your program's effectiveness in the past 12 months?

A: What makes this program stand out is that it is all-inclusive. We make sure that we include associates, their dependents, our work-from-home employees, and our large field population. We partner closely with our Diversity Resource groups to ensure we address the challenges and include programs that meet the needs of our diverse population. 

Understanding social determinants of health is extremely important at CNO. We go beyond just incentives. All initiatives work to create a culture of well-being that goes above and beyond traditional wellness programs. We believe it is important to focus on the whole person: physical, mental, social, financial, environmental, spiritual, and work-life balance.

The program is designed to give associates the ability to choose the activities that are based on their needs and interests. The flexibility helps drive engagement in programs because it allows the employees to have a say in what works best for them. Not only do we evaluate population health data to identify the greatest opportunity for health and cost improvement, but we gain feedback from associates through surveys that help measure interests and satisfaction. 97% feel that the CNO well-being program is helping them to live their best life, while 95% reported that they feel supported to pursue healthy activities while at work.

“Well-being is at the center of how we care for our workforce. At CNO, we have focused on the whole person: physical, mental, social, environmental, financial, and work-life balance. This has proven to be even more important in 2020 as we navigated COVID-19 and social injustice. Providing associates and their families with tools and resources that meet them where they are has been a key to our success.”

– Yvonne Franzese, Chief Human Resources Officer

To view the rest of our top 10 winners, check out our Healthiest 100 blog posts here! 

Interested in comparing your program to that of the national dataset? Purchase your individualized Benchmark Report today!