Insurer Unum touts commitment to employee well-being as essential to its success

Photography by Olivia Ross / A sample meal is displayed at Unum.

* History: Union Mutual was launched in Maine in 1848 and established its headquarters in Boston. Thirty-three years later, in 1881, the company relocated to Portland, Maine. The Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co. was founded in Chattanooga in 1887. Union Mutual changed its name to Unum in 1986, then merged with Provident in 1999 to form UnumProvident Corp. In 2007, the company changed its name to the Unum Group.

* Services: Laurie Mitchell, Unum's assistant vice president for Global Wellbeing & Health, says the company modernized its Chattanooga offices three years ago, just ahead of the global pandemic. She says one of the centerpieces of the project was bringing the fitness center "out of the basement" and making more accessible for daily use.

"The equipment's still brand new because of the (pandemic) hiatus," she says, adding that the fitness center "has pretty much everything you'd see a commercial fitness center," including shower facilities and a locker room. Employees pay $22 monthly for memberships -- unless they use the center eight times a month, in which case it's free.

"We offer group exercise classes, Pilates and boot-camp classes that can be attended in-person or virtually," she says. "More than 20 classes every week."

Mitchell adds that Unum's cafeteria offers "freshly prepared, made-to-order" items from the company's BeWell brand.

"We really try to remove barriers, offering the healthiest, tastiest and most affordable choices," she says.

Mitchell says Unum also has "free digital resources" at the ready to help employees manage diet and nutrition, as well as mental health. "Walking workstations" are also available, as are "lactation spaces" for new moms and quiet/meditation rooms.

"Each one has three or four pods, where you can go to take a breather, relax, listen to music, pray -- whatever people want," she says. "It's really just a quiet space if people need a break."

Mitchell says Unum's employee perks have been "really well received" at all three campuses -- Chattanooga, Portland and Columbia, S.C.

"Unum is committed to employee well-being," she says, "to employees thriving personally and professionally, and making resources available to that end. We want our employees to feel good about where they work, that they're supported and cared for. These amenities go a long way toward achieving that."