horace mann culture

Strengthening the Horace Mann culture

In November 2018, CEO Marita Zuraitis joined hundreds of CEOs across the country who signed a pledge to work toward four diversity and inclusion goals outlined by CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™. This pledge is a concrete expression of Horace Mann’s longstanding support for diversity and inclusion, which starts with an inclusive work environment where diversity of thought is highly valued, and individual differences are recognized, respected and appreciated.

Horace Mann continues to strengthen its inclusive culture. More than 700 employees attended the company’s first Day of Understanding in May 2019, which featured workshops encouraging meaningful conversations about bias in the workplace. This was followed by a visit from the “Check Your Blind Spots” tour bus, which offered employees a unique multimedia experience focused on blind spots that can potentially influence everyday decision-making. Following this, we hosted a week of diversity workshops, inviting experts from the community to speak to employees about a variety of diversity topics. Horace Mann has encouraged employees to take online training on diversity and inclusion, as well as to sign diversity and inclusion pledges.

darrin sortor

Darrin Sortor,


Customer Care Center

“Diversity and inclusion are important to give everyone a voice — with fairness, respect and empathy — and to help each one of us improve and succeed.”

Darrin Sortor volunteered to be a facilitator during Horace Mann’s first Day of Understanding. He showed up wearing a baseball jersey that was half St. Louis Cardinals, half Chicago Cubs — teams from the two major cities closest to Springfield, Illinois. “I opened my class by asking if you would exclude people from your group because they’re Cards versus Cubs fans. They all said, ‘Of course not!’ Then I asked a tougher question — if unconscious bias might lead you to exclude someone due to her beliefs or the color of his skin. It made us all acknowledge we all have unconscious bias. Since that Day of Understanding, I’ve seen greater attention to diversity and inclusiveness throughout the company, and on my customer care team. People are more welcoming of others. There’s more camaraderie. Everyone is asked to participate and give an opinion. Diversity and inclusion are important to give everyone a voice — with fairness, respect and empathy — and to help each one of us improve and succeed.”

women in workforce


women in the

women in middle management


women in middle

women in senior management


women in senior

women on board of director


women on board of

women on board
Recognition at the
annual meeting of
Women on Boards

As an additional measure of our commitment to diversity, Horace Mann was included in the 2019 and 2020 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), which distinguishes companies committed to transparency in gender reporting and advancing women’s equality. Women are strongly represented at all levels of our workforce, and 55% of promotions went to women in 2018. As part of our continuing work on compensation, we reviewed our pay structure in 2018 to determine gender alignment within salary grades. This analysis revealed that we have gender alignment (94% to 110% of female to male compensation) within salary grades.

We also value and encourage ongoing professional development through on-site and online courses, skills training, a career development resource center that includes online self-assessments, employee scholarships, and bonuses and full reimbursement of costs to obtain industry and professional certifications and designations from the Life Office Management Association (LOMA), The Institutes, The American College and other educational partners. We’re especially proud of our Emerging Leaders program, which enables dozens of individuals every year to network with others within their cohorts while exploring leadership concepts linked to Horace Mann’s Leadership Success Profile.

Employee achievements are acknowledged by peers and leaders through our social recognition portal, as well as formal individual and team award programs. These include Employee of the Month, Employee of the Year, Community Spirit Award, Team Spirit awards, an annual employee recognition trip and career milestone awards.