HR215: Employment Compensation and Benefits

Faculty of Business Studies
HR215: Employment Compensation and Benefits
Second Semester 2020
Arab Open University

Aflac Insurance

Company information

Aflac is a Fortune 500 insurance company founded in 1955 by three brothers, John, Paul and Bill Amos. Today, Aflac employs more than 4,500 people and has more than 71,000 licensed independent agents throughout the United States and Japan. The following is an excerpt from the New York Stock Exchange business summary. “Aflac Incorporated is a general business holding company and acts as a management company, overseeing the operations of its subsidiaries by providing management services and making capital available. Its principal business is supplemental health and life insurance, which is marketed and administered through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac), which operates in the United States (Aflac U.S.) and as a branch in Japan (Aflac Japan). Aflac’s Insurance business consists of two segments: Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. Aflac Japan sells cancer plans, care plans, general medical indemnity plans, medical/sickness riders, living benefit life plans, ordinary life insurance plans and annuities. Aflac U.S. sells cancer plans and various types of health insurance, including accident/disability, fixed-benefit dental, sickness and hospital indemnity, vision care, hospital intensive care, long-term care, ordinary life and short-term disability plans.”

Aflac corporate Philosophy

“Since its beginning, Aflac has believed that the best way to succeed in our business is to value people. Treating employees with care, dignity and fairness are founding principles of Aflac.”

Aflac’s mission

To combine innovative strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best insurance value for consumers.

Guiding Principles

To offer quality products and services at competitive prices and use new technology to better serve our policyholders.

  • Build better value for our shareholders.
  • Supply quality service for our agents.
  • Provide an enriching and rewarding workplace for our employees.

The case at Aflac

With a desire to be an employer of choice, Aflac Insurance is no stranger to the competition for talent among employers in the United States. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate in the insurance industry was at 3.3 percent in March 2008, a number consistently below the National and state levels in other industries (Exhibits A and B). This makes finding and retaining qualified individuals to deliver positive results to shareholders an ongoing challenge. Organizational outcomes related to human resources at Aflac reflect many of the basic functions, including recruiting, retention, diversity and training. At Aflac, the company strives to deliver quality service to its 4,500 employees while staying competitive in the insurance market. Aflac prides itself on being ahead of the curve. From a consumer perspective and desires to mirror that philosophy in its treatment of employees. How does the company made famous by the duck maintain the integrity of its brand while delivering results through its people? How important are benefits and compensation to the company’s ability to compete in a growing industry?

Casey Graves, vice president of human resources in charge of compensation and benefits at Aflac, says that the needs of the company’s employees continue to be the driving factor behind Aflac’s total rewards programs. As with most programs, it begins with an employee needs assessment and continues to be measured through outcomes, which have been directly influenced through the company’s enhanced total rewards efforts. The consistent thread throughout this process, according to Graves, is the quality of communication. Graves explains that Aflac’s total rewards statements have evolved from a one-page document to an in-depth review of the true value of the employment compensation and benefits.

Employee satisfaction surveys and focus groups conducted in 2007 with Aflac employees and managers drove the needs identification process. A key focus of the survey was to help recruit talent and improve retention in an industry with low unemployment rates. Although survey results varied, Aflac’s response was consistent: to give employees what they need from a benefits perspective while balancing the cost, all within a rapid period of growth.

Throughout the process, the company focused on providing value-added programs that would improve employee job satisfaction, support organizational initiatives and provide opportunities for professional development. Aflac seeks to accomplish this by:

Providing Aflac products to employees at little to no cost—for example, offering employer-paid life insurance, a company-paid cancer policy and company- subsidized accident protection insurance.

Providing total rewards in line with philanthropic goals. Aflac dedicates resources to efforts that support the community in four areas: health, education, youth and the arts. One benefit offered to Aflac employees is the recognition of a “Volunteer of the Month,” in which an employee is awarded for the time spent volunteering at his or her charity of choice.

Developing employees for their next career level through extensive employee training and leadership programs to keep pace with the strategic growth goals being executed company-wide. More than 91 percent of Aflac’s employees at The senior vice president level and above have been promoted through the ranks. Aflac’s corporate training department hosts two employee learning initiatives. The first is a leadership development program with on-site courses for all employees from entry level to senior management. There are three levels of classes; some classes require employees to have taken prerequisite courses that are a part of the offered curriculum. Instructor-led classes offer a variety of subjects for workers seeking both career and personal development and are designed to help employees achieve a quality work/life balance. Course topics range from “Managing Your Career” to “Preventing Diabetes.” Cost-containment is on every HR professional’s mind when discussing employee benefits. According to the National Coalition on Healthcare, the cost of offering health insurance continues to outpace inflation. In fact, “in 2007, employer health insurance premiums increased by 6.1 percent, which was two times the rate of inflation. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,100. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,400.” And, as Graves points out, that is added to the cost of steadily growing the business each year, which includes adding staff. Suddenly, employee benefits become a conspicuous line item on profit and loss statements and must therefore enhance the achievement of organizational outcomes in order to be justified. An important theme in Aflac’s communication to its employees is that the health care cost containment is an employer and employee shared responsibility

Aflac seeks to administer benefits in a cost-effective manner while staying true to the concept of employee service. Aflac recognizes the actual value of employee benefits, and as a result, its overall philosophy is that “it’s all about the employee.” For Aflac, in addition to competitive salaries, it includes designing benefits packages that reflect the needs of a multi-generational workforce—some seeking portability, others seeking stability. It is about creating a positive work environment that is conducive to productivity—by offering one of the largest on-site child care facilities in the United States. Aflac sponsors outdoor adventure days, on-site fitness centers and service discounts. It pays 100 percent of the employee premium for its ground- breaking cancer insurance, in line with the company’s philanthropic commitments as a socially responsible organization, positioning Aflac to lead its industry to enhanced service levels. These benefits, according to Graves, send the message to employees that they and their lifestyles are important to the organization. The proof continues to be demonstrated in recent employee survey results: Approximately 90 percent of employees were attracted to and remain at Aflac because of company reputation. Employees are happy with the profit-sharing bonus, with 81 percent of employees saying they believe it is better than that of other companies. Eighty-nine percent of employees consider Aflac’s total rewards statement an effective communication tool. Perhaps most telling of all in the competitive world of insurance—employee turnover fell below 10 percent in the first quarter of 2008.

Reed, S.M., 2009. Benefits and business at aflac and ll bean. Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Your answer should be in the form of an essay. The essay should be well organized, that is, it has an introduction (5 marks), body (45 marks) and conclusion (5 marks). The introduction should introduce the topic. In thebody paragraphs, the following points should be discussed:


  1. Define elements of strategic compensation and benefits administration.(20marks)
  2. Explain how the Aflac support its organization’s mission and value and achieve strategic outcome. (20 marks)
  3. Identify the internal strengths and weaknesses you identified and how the company responded to these factors from a total reward perspectives. (15 marks)
  4. Identify the external opportunities and threats you identified and how the company responded to these factors from a total rewards perspective. (10 marks)
  5. Give examples of traditional and non-traditional rewards and how they are used to meet organizational objectives. (10 marks)
  6. How Aflac aligns its benefits with its corporate values? (15 marks)
  7. Give your recommendations regarding an expansion of the benefits programs offered at the company that would further align HR with the accomplishment of organizational goals and values. (10 marks)

Instructions for students:

  • The TMA paper should be uploaded to the LMS.
  • The names of the student should be written on the pt3 form. Students are required to use the pt3 form provided on the LMS for this specific TMA.
  • Students papers are expected to meet the following criteria:
    • Plagiarism: It’s imperative that team members write the TMA using their own words. Plagiarism will be penalized depending on its severity and according to AOU plagiarism policy.
    • Format: team members are expected to write their answer in an essay format: Introduction, body paragraph(s) and a conclusion. Failing to do so could result in the deduction of up to 4 marks from the total TMA paper mark.
    • Word count: TMAs are expected to be within the specified word count. A 10% deviation from word count limit is acceptable. Not adhering to specified word count could result in the deduction of up to 4 marks of the total TMA paper mark.
    • Referencing: team members are expected to use the Harvard referencing style for in-text referencing and list of reference at the end. Failing to do so could result in the deduction of up to 4 marks of the total TMA paper mark.
    • E-Library: team members are expected to use E-library sources to support their answers. A minimum of 3 sources is required. Failing to do so could result in the deduction of up to 4 marks of the total TMA paper mark.