APA Center for Organizational Excellence: National Winner

The Awards

Large For-Profit Category


Comprehensive Health

Puerto RicoTriple-S is the leading managed-care organization in Puerto Rico with a portfolio that includes complementary businesses involving life, property and casualty insurance. Launched in 1960 by a group of physicians and dentists organizing a free-choice health plan—a pioneering initiative at the time—Triple-S stands today as the second-largest locally-owned business in the territory. Its services constitute the most comprehensive offerings in the market, providing its members and employees with total care and protection at every stage of life.

Employee Involvement

Triple-S management recognizes that staff are one of the organization’s most valuable resources, so they hold regular meetings with employees for the open exchange of ideas. Surveys are valuable, too. Employees express their level of satisfaction through organizational climate and ethics surveys. Recently, Triple-S introduced a special survey in which employees were asked to submit their ideas for improvement. From these ideas, Triple-S presidents invited eight of the submitters to collaborate on implementing their suggestions.

Health and Safety

Triple-S features an onsite employee health clinic staffed by a physician and an occupational health nurse (see Healthy Together). The clinic provides orientations, health risk assessments, free seasonal flu vaccinations, preventive breast cancer clinics, vision and diabetes screenings, a weight-control program, a smoking-cessation support program and more. Triple-S promotes physical activity with a Walking Works program, free fitness classes and gym facilities, and the financial sponsorship of basketball, bowling and track events. As the key component of a benefits package, Triple-S pays the full cost of the health insurance plan for employees and their families.

Employee Growth and Development

In 2007, Triple-S launched its Leadership Development Academy (LDA) to nurture, encourage and assist its employees on their paths to success. Lasting approximately five months, coursework includes workshops on leadership, emotional intelligence, time management, conflict resolution, ethics, strategic planning and process improvement. There are professional development programs in three tracks: Business, which consists of a multi-session seminar, including the LDA, service excellence school, management skills certification and mentorship program; Professional, which assists employees in obtaining certifications and reimbursements for certain professional dues; and Personal Development, offered through the tuition reimbursement program and onsite seminars, which include topics such as self-defense and retirement planning.

Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is key to employee morale and performance. In addition to paid leave for accrued vacation, sick days, the employee’s birthday and legal holidays, most staff also have two days of paid personal leave each year. For employees who are nursing mothers, Triple-S provides a lactation room and breaks for up to 12 months following a new mother’s return from maternity leave. Lunchtime learning sessions, sponsored by the HR department on a wide variety of topics, are hugely popular.

Employee Recognition

Through a program called Ser Talentoso Atrae Recompensa (STAR, an acronym in Spanish that means “Being Talented Attracts Rewards”), Triple-S recognizes employees and departments that contribute to organizational excellence. On both a quarterly and annual basis, co-workers, managers and supervisors submit nominations and winners are selected based on their performance in the following categories: service, innovation, efficiency, motivation, passion, responsibility and empathy. During the quarterly recognition, winners receive a letter from the subsidiary president and HR, along with a cash award of $200. At the end of the year, the president of each subsidiary selects an Employee of the Year, who is recognized at the annual employee meeting with a plaque and a cash award of $1,000.

The Bottom Line

As an organization dedicated to the health of its customers, Triple-S has a vested interest in ensuring the physical and psychological health of its employees, as well. In 2010, while employees saved time and money by visiting the onsite clinic instead of having to attend outside medical appointments, the company avoided a reported $381,843 in lost productivity. But the healthy culture at Triple-S reaches far beyond cost savings. On climate surveys, an overwhelming majority of employees report enjoying their work and feeling a sense of accomplishment.

"A psychologically healthy workplace is the result of comprehensive employee programs which provide a supportive, collaborative environment for innovation and business success. "

Craig R. Paeprer
Director of Operations
IBM Research Division