From autonomous vehicles to index funds, our world and our industry are changing, and it would seem that people are less a required element. But I’m here to tell you that people—more specifically the relationships between them—are the required element. It’s a truth that dates back to Nationwide’s founding, when farmers in Ohio figured out that together they could create cheaper auto insurance coverage for rural drivers through a cooperative focused on the needs of its membership.

Executive Summary

Longtime Nationwide CEO Steve Rasmussen is retiring in October, capping more than 10 years leading the insurer. He has spent his 45-year career with the Nationwide family of companies. In addition to leading Nationwide to becoming one of the largest and most respected brands, his tenure has been recognized for its culture of inclusion. Here, Rasmussen shares what he believes is a main truth about the insurance industry: Relationships still matter. This has been true since farmers in Ohio formed a cooperative to achieve cheaper auto insurance coverage for rural farmers.

Relationships in the Workplace

It starts in the workplace, where culture can be a powerful enabler that differentiates a good company from an exceptional company. I like to say that culture eats strategy for lunch. You need both components to truly excel, but you won’t have the people around to help you succeed if you focus on process, products and technology alone.

I’ve found diversity and inclusion to be an amazing contributor to a strong culture. But don’t make the mistake of stopping after you’ve successfully filled your pipeline with diverse talent. Hire that talent and include them. Create an environment where people from different backgrounds and points of view are able to build stronger relationships—and ultimately better outcomes.

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