By Bernadette Starzee
Flexibility, opportunity for success, and the ability to help others are among the many reasons employees say they love their jobs at the New York Life Long Island General Office, which finished first among large businesses in this year’s Long Island Top Workplaces survey.
With locations in Melville, Jericho, Medford, Flushing, and Brooklyn and 700-plus agents, more than 50 management team members and dozens of administrative staffers, the Long Island General Office is one of the largest general offices companywide. Providing insurance, retirement preparation and overall financial strategies, the office assists individuals, families and businesses throughout Long Island and the New York metropolitan area.
“I love my job because I am doing meaningful work that serves a great purpose for our local communities,” one employee wrote. “It allows me to earn a living while doing something I enjoy doing and being able to spend time with my family.”
Like all employers, New York Life faced unprecedented challenges when the pandemic struck. To protect its team members, the Long Island General Office switched to a work-from-home model in March 2020, except for a handful of essential onsite employees. As restrictions were eased, team members transitioned back to physical office locations on rotating schedules to limit the number of people onsite at one time. The size of group meetings continues to be limited and face coverings are required in common areas to help keep everyone safe.
To support team members as they transitioned to working from home, the Long Island General Office quickly provided remote work tools and videoconferencing instruction to conduct office meetings, training sessions and client appointments, as well as a suite of e-resources to allow team members to provide seamless service to their clients.
Giving employees the tools they need to succeed is part of a pattern at New York Life, where new agents complete three development phases within their first year to quickly build the right competencies for a successful career. A broad variety of accessible learning material includes more than 200 trainings and skill-building classes along with assessments, and agents can choose their career path – whether to work directly with clients or focus on the management side.
“I am able to be a pillar in my community with the education shared with me at New York Life,” wrote one employee. “The tools provided allow me to be effective, and the training is the best I have ever experienced.”
The Long Island General Office creates a culture where employees feel like they are part of a large family. Office-wide email announcements are sent to celebrate employees’ milestones, such as a wedding or birth of a child, and family members are included in office events: Employees are encouraged to bring their spouse or significant other to the annual black-tie gala and their family to the office holiday party and an annual summer picnic at the managing partner’s home.
Team-building is fostered through the company’s Volunteers for Good program. Created by the New York Life Foundation, the program encourages employees to volunteer with local charities and provides the charity with a grant check based on the number of people and hours spent volunteering. Over the years, individuals and teams from the office have volunteered for Island Harvest, Special Olympics, the Stony Brook Cancer Center, and the League of Yes, among others.
“I love that I am working for a company that really promotes and supports their staff/employees/agents to participate in charitable work unlike any other career in my life,” one employee wrote.
To make team members feel that their hard work is valued, the office highlights top performers on a daily leaderboard. Because the board recognizes leaders in a broad range of categories, there is a chance for most employees to be recognized. There is also a monthly recognition meeting designed to showcase the leading agents and top-performing managers in the office.
Throughout the year, there are contests and celebrations that typically include food and prizes. During the pandemic, there was a bingo contest in which prizes were shipped to the winners’ homes.
For many employees, it’s the company’s mission – to help clients meet their financial goals – and their own contribution to that mission that provide them with the most job satisfaction.
“It makes me feel that I am part of something meaningful and bigger than I am,” an employee wrote. “I impact not just my clients directly but their future generation.”
As another employee put it, “I have a positive, significant impact on so many lives.”
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