Pinnacol Assurance: Leading a Revolution of Caring, Inclusion, and Excellence

Location: Denver, CO

Industry: Specialty Insurance

Employees: 500-999


To strengthen workplace culture, enhance employee engagement, and advance DE&I initiatives through strategic use of employee feedback and recognition in Top Workplaces awards


Workplace Survey, Insights, Pulse


A 93% employee retention rate and multiple Top Workplaces awards, including recognition for their robust DE&I practices, underscoring their success in fostering a culture of care, inclusion, and excellence

Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s leading workers’ compensation provider for over 108 years, prioritizes employee engagement and happiness as pivotal to evolving their workplace culture. Greatness isn’t just a goal; it’s a journey led by the very people who call it home. When you step into Pinnacol, you’re not just entering a workplace but joining a revolution in caring, inclusion, and excellence. 

Their path with Top Workplaces began in 2017 when an employee nominated them, reinforcing their commitment to listening to employees and promoting inclusivity. Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Pinnacol, Jamie Villarreal-Bassett, reflected on hearing about the experience: “It was awesome for a team member to say, ‘This is a great place to work, and I want us to be recognized and honored for that.’” 

Since then, Pinnacol Assurance has achieved an impressive 93% employee retention rate and been honored with Top Workplaces awards more than 30 times, including national recognition for their extensive DE&I practices and employee well-being efforts. 

Employee voices shape the workplace experience at Pinnacol

Pinnacol’s dedication to leading a revolution in caring extends beyond words to tangible actions, prioritizing employee well-being and diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the quest to create an inclusive workplace, Pinnacol is guided by its employees’ voices. Whether through workplace surveys, focus groups or casual conversations, Pinnacol values what its people say.

Leaders at Pinnacol use employee feedback as a compass, helping them to course-correct and continue to invest in employee feedback that tells them what is going well and where there are opportunities for improvement. “The Energage Workplace Survey helps us to celebrate our employees,” Villarreal-Bassett said. “To say to them, ‘Our collective hard work is paying off. You want to be here, your colleagues want to be here, your leaders want to be here. Using employee feedback to affirm that our words match our actions is powerful.”

Data-driven insights validate internal efforts and guide decision

Pinnacol gathers employee feedback from internal and external surveys. By synthesizing these insights, the organization gains a clear understanding of the effectiveness of its strategic efforts. This data-driven approach is the compass Pinnacol uses to celebrate successes, identify areas for improvement, and make corrections where needed.

“The data has been instrumental in guiding our organization, particularly in understanding cultural factors important to our employees, such as leadership engagement, employee wellness, and DE&I efforts,” said Villarreal-Bassett. “Overall, it is a valuable tool for maintaining our course and ensuring alignment with our organizational goals.”

“The Workplace Survey helps us ask the right questions and allows us to get meaningful data back. It reinforces what we need to continue, and our DE&I efforts are one of those things. Seeing our positive results visualized through the Workplace Survey Insights and increasing over time — especially in DE&I and employee well-being — is impactful. We’re doing the right things.”

Jamie Villarreal-Bassett, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Pinnacol Assurance

Special Focus:  Pinnacol’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At the heart of Pinnacol’s mission lies a profound commitment to DE&I that runs through the organization’s fabric, with efforts made to embed it through all aspects of the organization. Leaders who walk the walk are at the helm of Pinnacol’s DE&I initiatives. There’s a resounding message from the boardroom to all employees: “We’re in this together.”

Pinnacol’s three-year Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) strategic plan involves the active participation of over 85 team members from various departments, ensuring diverse perspectives shape the organization’s approach to fostering an inclusive workplace culture.

Pinnacol recognizes that people want to work at companies where they can bring their whole self to work. To ensure this happens, Pinnacol implemented various initiatives to foster an inclusive culture that also supports talent retention and acquisition. They conduct an anonymous voice survey that measures trust and belonging among team members, including for marginalized groups to ensure they are eliminating any disparities. These sentiments in 2023 were at 80% and 86%, respectively, reflecting a significant increase from prior years.

Succession planning and leadership development efforts ensure a diverse range of candidates have access to development opportunities and advancements. To expand its talent recruiting reach, Pinnacol partners with chambers of commerce and organizations serving diverse communities.

Pinnacol also made changes to its recruitment approach to streamline the process and eliminate biases within the interview process, including modifying job descriptions to include more inclusive language, and launching a text platform so candidates can apply and interview directly from their phones.

“This is the most inclusive company I’ve worked at. I’ve never felt more respected and uplifted by a manager before working at Pinnacol.”  Anonymous Employee at Pinnacol Assurance

The organization’s commitment to DE&I doesn’t end with its employees; it extends beyond its walls to include customers, suppliers, and the larger community.

The company bridges gaps and builds trust within many communities, for example by offering Spanish-speaking services and supporting diverse suppliers. Pinnacol awards grants to nonprofits that align with its vision as part of its broader community engagement efforts, prioritizing organizations that serve underrepresented communities. One such grant went to the Latino Leadership Institute, which supports initiatives that address systematic barriers facing minority-owned businesses.

Pinnacol also actively participates in community events like Denver’s PrideFest parade and the MLK Day Marade, demonstrating their commitment to support and celebrate underrepresented communities. Through its Pinnacol in Action (PiA) program, employees volunteer at local nonprofits, further strengthening ties with the community.

Pinnacol’s DE&I efforts aren’t about checking boxes. They are building a more inclusive future where every voice is heard, people are valued, and the community is uplifted. And as the company continues to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion, it’s not just transforming itself; it’s shaping a better tomorrow for all.

Pinnacol honored with the 2023 Top Workplaces for DE&I Practices award

Villarreal-Basset says winning the Top Workplaces award isn’t just about validation but affirmation. “When it was announced that we won the Top Workplaces DE&I Practices award, it was cause for celebration. We did our own internal DE&I survey, which showed great results. Then, the Workplace Survey results corroborated that with an additional data point proving we’re doing good work.”

It’s about showcasing to the world that Pinnacol isn’t just talking the talk; it’s walking the walk. “Attracting diverse talent isn’t just a goal for us; we show our deep commitment to creating a culture of inclusion in everything we do.” Villarreal-Bassett continued, “Top Workplaces has helped us attract more talent that brings diverse perspectives to Pinnacol, including race, gender, neurodiversity, and more. We know that our DEI efforts contribute to why they chose Pinnacol, and they stay because we reaffirm our commitment to DEI in everything we do.”

Pinnacol achieves an impressive 93% retention rate

Pinnacol has a well-established Top Workplaces brand reputation in Denver and nationwide. Being a recognized employer of choice attracts and retains a diverse workforce, contributing to a 93% retention rate in 2023.

Pinnacol continues to champion DE&I in the community, creating spaces for conversations and holding themselves accountable for improvement by engaging employees and driving towards measurable goals. By listening to employee feedback, leveraging survey insights, and embedding DE&I practices into its strategic priorities, Pinnacol has become a role model for an inclusive workplace culture while positively impacting its customers, employees — and the state of Colorado. 

Recent Top Workplaces awards

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