BRGs raise the bar

Under a bright, blue sky one Wednesday evening in August, a team of Tufts Health Plan players donned blindfolds for a game of beep ball. One by one, they entered the batter’s box to challenge the championship Boston Renegades – and learn what it’s like to play softball as an athlete who cannot see.

A few weeks later, employees at our Watertown office kicked off the first annual Unconscious Bias Day to build awareness of the natural biases and negative stereotypes we all carry around – and how those biases impact our interactions with coworkers and members. That event spawned a new unconscious bias steering committee charged with promoting dialogue and activities to overcome unconscious bias in the workplace year-round.

We’ve also added gender-neutral bathrooms, and in November flew the Transgender Pride Flag atop 705 Mount Auburn Street to promote transgender awareness and tolerance.

BRGs take initiative

These and other diversity initiatives – including Disability Employment Awareness, our Age-Friendly Employer certification and a special panel on the American immigrant journey – were initiated by our business resource groups (BRGs). They are critical to the success of a company entrusted with caring for people’s health and affirm a commitment to recognizing and honoring differences.

Tufts Health Plan’s BRGs are designed to engage employees, including allies, around a common affinity and support the company in four areas: commerce, community, careers and culture. Week by week, day by day, our BRGs work to foster a more inclusive culture and bring greater diversity to our lives. In 2019, 21 percent of our employees participated in BRGs.

BRG grants support diversity in community

To support the affinities of the BRGs, Tufts Health Plan Foundation partnered with each to give $5,000 grants to community organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that work on behalf of veterans, single mothers with low incomes, LGBTQ+ individuals experiencing homelessness, immigrants and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While small, these grants gave BRG participants deeper insight into community needs.

“This grant program is an opportunity for our business resource groups to recommend nonprofit organizations addressing important community issues,” said Tufts Health Plan President and CEO Tom Croswell. “Giving back isn’t just something we do; it’s part of our culture. I’m incredibly proud of the dedicated employees who demonstrate their commitment not only at work but also to the community through this program.”

The work of our BRGs is vital to the health of our members and their communities. The impact of their work is significant and growing. We can’t wait to see what they do next.