Pinnacol Assurance is devoted to keeping Colorado workers healthy, safe, and strong by providing workers’ compensation insurance to 57,000 employers.
Pinnacol was quick to pivot as a health-focused company to keep its employees working from home when the global pandemic hit. Barbara Brannen, vice president of employee services, estimates 99.5 percent of Pinnacol’s employees work from home while less than 1 percent come to the office.
To help employees feel connected, the company added new chat rooms and has offered more employee resource groups and mental health support.
Liz Johnson, public relations director, says the company also offered augmented benefits like virtual tutoring services to help parents and their children meet the challenge of attending school online. “That came at the right time,” Johnson says. “My son was struggling with seventh-grade math. I was able to get him the help he needed to get over that struggle. It gave him confidence and a study buddy.”
Pinnacol has also tried to keep work fun by sending employees small monthly gifts and holding virtual holiday events, Brannen says.
The company plans to be cautious about returning more employees to the office. “We’re surveying employees to let them help guide our plans,” Brannen says. “We want to create a safe environment to protect our employees.”
As a workplace safety company, Pinnacol also advises other businesses about occupational safety and shares information about mitigating COVID-19 risks.
Pinnacol plans to install new touchless doors and plastic barriers between desks to prepare for more workers returning to the office. “We want to determine what is the safest work environment,” Brannen says.
She also notes that Pinnacol has found its workers can be more productive when working at home.
And working from home has helped some employees improve their work-life balance, Johnson says. “People are discovering they have pockets of time that they didn’t have before because they don’t have to commute. They are using that time for things like self-care or exercise.”
Celebrating Colorado living
Pinnacol’s employees appreciate the healthy lifestyle Colorado offers. “There are so many opportunities to spend time outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine,” Brannen says.
Because Pinnacol serves Colorado businesses, being located here lets the company support volunteer, community, and philanthropic activities. “We encourage our employees to donate to local efforts that they value, and we match those funds,” Johnson says.
Each employee gets 16 hours of paid volunteer time annually to help Colorado nonprofits.
The Pinnacol Foundation created a scholarship program for the children of injured workers and has awarded $5.5 million in scholarships to more than 550 students across Colorado since 2000.
Finding employees of the future
To help ensure the company continues to hire the best and brightest, Pinnacol started a multi-year apprenticeship program for high school students that lets them work with Pinnacol employees and hone skills needed for a career in the insurance industry.
“We’re committed to a mission of revolution in caring,” Brannen says. “We know that people often contact us on the worst day. They are worried about their career, their finances, and how they will support their families. We want to make sure we meet their needs with a big heart, so they have the support they need.”
Years named: 5
Facts: Pinnacol Assurance provides workers compensation protection to 57,000 Colorado businesses and their employees.
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