October 29, 2009

AMERIND is "best place to work"

Native American Business Garners Number One Spot; Accolades Among Top Insurance Companies World-wide; A First for Indian CountryFor AMERIND Risk Management Corp., “family-friendly” is a natural extension of the company's basic business mission.

The Pueblo of Santa Ana, N.M.-based AMERIND was established by more than 165 Native American housing authorities in 1986 and has grown to protect the housing, families and employees of more than 450 Tribes. This year's top-ranked company among small insurers in the Business Insurance Best Places to Work in Insurance ranking is a multi-tribal federal corporation formed to protect those tribes, their treasuries and their enrolled members from unforeseen or catastrophic financial loss using self-insurance and other risk-sharing strategies.

“Following Native American culture and traditions, we pride ourselves on the fact that families come first here,” said Rod Crawley, AMERIND's chief operating officer.

Among other things, Paul cited the AMERIND “85-15 rule.” Employees are accountable for their work and spend 85% of their work time devoted to customer service and job performance, but are also expected to spend the other 15% of their time in non-business activities such as socializing with their co-workers. “If we are to operate like an extended family and develop family bonds, employees need time to interact with each other. “We want to encourage the art of personal communication other than texting and emailing” says Mr. Paul. “This philosophy has proven to be very fruitful as productivity, customer relationships and camaraderie among employees continues to improve and prosper,” cites Crawley.

“We really promote small gatherings, potlucks, committee work together, getting away from your desk 15 percent of the time to socialize, really get to know your neighbor,” said Stefanie Suazo, Director of Human Resources. “It’s a proven fact that satisfied employees produce better results and care more about the company and its vision and mission,” Suazo further stated.

Utilizing risk management principles, AMERIND protects life and property of participating tribes from fire, natural disasters and other unforeseen events. The company operates exclusively within Native American reservations domiciled in 32 states.

Paul noted that with each tribe having its own traditions, “cultural sensitivity” is more of a challenge for AMERIND than for many companies, but one we take very seriously. “We don't have to keep up with just four or five minorities; we potentially have to keep up with the customs and traditions of more than 500 independent, sovereign communities,” he said.
Comment:  This story is notable to me because the company won for its Native values, not in spite of them.

From my experience, employees often socialize more than 15% of the time. I wouldn't be surprised if this socializing contributes to employee morale, productivity, and the bottom line. I'm glad to see a company take advantage of it rather than (try to) ban it.

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