Blue Cross’ New Hire Programs Provide Foundation for Rewarding IT Careers
Transitioning from college to the professional workplace—or even from one job to the next—is more often than not a difficult and stressful process. Adjusting to an established culture, developing working relationships, and charting out the direction of your career are all big challenges to rise to. At Blue Cross this process is made easier through such programs as the Young Professionals Network and the IT Graduate Immersion Program. Newly hired IT specialists receive the close mentorship and training they need to hit the ground running and have a long and successful career.
Recently, we talked with a group of former interns and new hires about the transition into their new roles. Their stories shed light on the great amount of support and attention they received and still receive from all levels of the organization, as they make a tangible impact on the people they serve.
“Initially, the reputation and visibility of Blue Cross is what got my attention during the job search,” says Robert Donald, who was hired in the IT department in January. “After joining, I realized all of the opportunities for growth there were and how much care Blue Cross puts into its employees.” Robert was surprised how much of that focus was on making employees healthier—from healthy options in the cafeteria to his managers encouraging “walk and talks” along the Detroit Riverfront.
Courtney Bishop has had plenty of opportunities to experience the culture at Blue Cross, from her time as an intern to her current position as a business analyst within IT. “I never realized how huge the field of IT is; you can go in several different directions regardless of what kind of degree you have,” she says. “Through the Young Professionals Network, I’m able to attend monthly social and educational events with people across all Blue Cross departments, and use their interests to discover more of my own passions.”
As a result, Courtney has become a LinkedIn trainer for her co-workers and is helping with communications and logistics for the 2016 Information Management Symposium for more than 300 attendees this September—an event that brings together top IT change-makers from across the country.
The Young Professionals Network Courtney participates in came to be when Blue Cross realized that young professionals could not fully integrate in the company without the help and wisdom of more seasoned employees. Its three pillars—professional development, community outreach and social engagement—drive the mission to empower a multigenerational workforce. It does this by encouraging friendships, offering leadership opportunities outside of home departments and matching interns with current employees.
“It gives me chills to see interns eager to come back because of their mentoring experience,” says YPN President and Co-Founder Caroline Valenti. “A number of them are later hired by us, and when they are, they’re more confident about what they want to do in their careers and why. It’s amazing to make a noticeable difference in the interns’ lives.”
Systems Analyst Associate Hassen Mansour has seen first-hand how Blue Cross is focused on younger employees and how managers make themselves accessible to the entire team. “A few months after the first orientation, we had a second gathering when directors and leads from other departments taught us their language and culture in a social, open learning space,” he says.
Similarly, in the IT Graduate Immersion Program, Hassen is able to participate in a variety of sessions designed to increase business acumen, promote career development and network with IT peers, employees and leaders. He and other recently hired young IT professionals serve as facilitators and identify the program topics to fit their needs. “Working in such an open-minded environment means employees have the freedom to find creative solutions and increase their own efficiency,” he says. “And this creates even more opportunities to cut costs for our members.”
For more stories on how Blue Cross actively encourages growth for its IT employees, head over to these blogs: