Developing talent drives AAA Northeast forward

ADVANCING CAREERS: Staff members at AAA Northeast gather at the company’s Providence office. A year ago, AAA Northeast launched a career exploration program that provides a learning platform for employees of diverse backgrounds and talents who are performing well in their current roles.
PBN PHOTO/ELIZABETH GRAHAM
ADVANCING CAREERS: Staff members at AAA Northeast gather at the company’s Providence office. A year ago, AAA Northeast launched a career exploration program that provides a learning platform for employees of diverse backgrounds and talents who are performing well in their current roles.
PBN PHOTO/ELIZABETH GRAHAM

PBN 2022 Diversity Equity & Inclusion Awards
Not For Profit: AAA Northeast


FINDING NEW TALENT is a challenge facing every business post-pandemic, which makes investing in and retaining rising stars so critical. That’s the philosophy behind the talent development program at AAA Northeast in Providence.

“Our goal is to build a pipeline for future leaders,” said Ron Arigo, AAA Northeast’s senior vice president and head of human resources. “We want to foster talent within the organization.”

The automotive and travel services company has products and services that include insurance, loans and banking, travel planning and more. With so many offerings, there are great opportunities for growth and exploration for the more than 3,500 employees within the local company.

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Business at AAA Northeast is growing, which means the need to recruit and retain a talented and diverse workforce is one of the company’s biggest challenges.

“The team at AAA Northeast represents our diverse customer base, allowing them to anticipate and meet the needs of our members,” Arigo said.

The company offers employees strong pay and benefits, but it is really AAA Northeast’s long-term investment in its employees that prospects find so attractive. As part of the company’s commitment to diversity, AAA Northeast conducts an annual pay-equity analysis to ensure equitable pay and continuously evaluates benefit offerings to ensure equity and inclusion for all, including coverage for gender identity and transition services.

AAA Northeast is proud of its diverse culture, Arigo said, investing in the many talents, skills, passions and expertise of its employees. The company’s focus is on building professional relationships in which employees can further their careers and grow with award-winning learning and development resources.

A year ago, the company launched its career exploration program, which provides a learning platform for employees of diverse backgrounds and talents who are performing well in their current roles. The program also gives them the necessary skills and information to advance their careers within the organization.

“We invite well-performing, entry-level team members who are aspirational to do more,” Arigo said.

The six-month program began with a cohort of 30 individuals who were engaged in a series of activities involving self-discovery, exploration of their options within the company, personal branding and peer mentoring.

“The program began a year ago and we’re already working with our fourth cohort,” Arigo said. “And we’re finding that it has a great return on investment.”

The success and engagement of participants within the career exploration program are measured against a control group who are not enrolled in the initiative – and the results are impressive. The control group had an 82% retention rate, with 4% being promoted. The participants in the program, however, had a retention rate of 100%, while 30% moved up the leadership ladder.

“The value of building talent from within is clear,” Arigo said. “We are fostering a community of explorers who feel appreciated and invested in and are more engaged, hopefully over the long run.”

Arigo said this approach is directly related to efforts to attract and retain a more diverse workforce at AAA Northeast.

“Think of it like a pyramid,” he said. “The greatest amount of diversity is at the base. We’re helping that talent rise and accelerating their success.”

Career exploration program participants are not yet leading others, but that is the next phase of talent development at AAA Northeast. Arigo says the company is currently identifying a new cohort of employees who the company feels can take on leadership roles.

“They’re being introduced to principles and practices of leading others,” he said.

AAA Northeast says it is committed to providing formal learning and development opportunities to all employees for ongoing and continual career development.

The company’s core values have long stood for helping and serving and for respecting and valuing each employee. It has intentionally built a culture firmly committed to equality, diversity and community – regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or gender.

“The more we do to retain our workforce,” Arigo said, “the better we are as a company.”

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