Independence Blue Cross Executive Vice President and Chief People, DEI, and Communications Officer Crystal Ashby recently participated in a Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia panel discussion featuring HR leaders and young professionals called “Redefining Workplace Culture: Attracting & Retaining Emerging Talent.”
Ashby provided thought leadership around talent acquisition and retention, including the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. With an emphasis on the evolution of the workplace and expectations of millennials and Gen Z following the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversation covered ways for companies to offer fulfilling work experiences and help associates balance work with personal lives. Ashby reflected on feedback provided by Independence’s associates around personal and professional growth and development, pay and benefits, and flexibility in the workplace.
“Diversity is one of associates’ key concerns. They want to make sure they are entering an organization that understands diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. They would like their leaders to be ethical,” Ashby said.
Ashby also spoke about burnout and the strategies that Independence has implemented to support associates’ well-being both within the workplace and in their personal lives.
“We are fortunate to have a gym in the building, and they actually have classes that are not just about physical workouts, but mental well-being and meditation,” Ashby said. “We have a lifestyle spending account… we found that people are buying books and taking cooking classes. These are things that people are doing to enjoy their lives more so than just live their lives.”
At the close of the panel, when asked about her advice to young professionals, Ashby conveyed the importance of networking.
“Seek relationships,” she shared. “Connectivity is important and really does change the way in which you engage at work.”
She was joined on the panel by Christopher Crawford, community relations and marketing senior executive manager for the Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia; Yuliia Kitkailo, procurement specialist, Business Systems and Process Improvement at Merck Animal Health GSM; and Dr. Jennifer Kebea, president of Campus Philly. The panel was moderated by Sarah Steltz, vice president of Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber of Commerce.