Speaking my language: The benefits of being multilingual at work

An employee finds a rewarding career at Progressive using her multilingual skills

3 min read

October 2023

Progressive employee standing outside on grass

Let’s be honest: Insurance can be confusing. But if insurance perplexes adults, imagine how hard it’d be for a child to understand.

Irma doesn’t have to. She knows firsthand what it feels like.

”As a little girl, I remember having to translate documents into Spanish for my parents,” Irma recalls. “I was just a kid, but there I was trying to explain things I didn’t understand. I knew my parents wished they didn’t have to rely on me to do this. I remember seeing the frustration on my dad’s face. He didn’t have an adult who could talk him through it in his own language. All he had was me.”

Irma is a manager in a department of Progressive’s Customer Relationship Management group called Seguros (which is Spanish for insurance). She’s a part of our growing team of bilingual specialists who are answering the call—literally—to help our Spanish-speaking customers understand the complexities of insurance.

A career recommendation from an unlikely source

Before Irma came to Progressive, she worked as a retail store manager. And while she liked the job well enough, eventually she started thinking about moving back home to be closer to family. So, when a friend sent her an application for a Progressive job near her hometown, she decided to look into it … despite the unusual source of the recommendation.

”They actually worked for another major insurance company at the time,” Irma laughs. “The big selling point for me was that it was a bilingual position. I liked the idea of helping people in the Spanish-speaking community. I’d never done anything with insurance before, but I thought, ‘Hey, I’ll figure it out.’”

If the benefits of being multilingual initially drew her, Progressive’s culture is what kept her around.

”At Progressive, we have our Core Values and we stick to them. We’re here to help not just our customers but each other,” Irma says. “I also love the growth mindset people have at Progressive. As managers, we want to see you grow … we want you to be thinking about your next step. This approach has helped me grow my own career.”

The challenges and the rewards

Irma acknowledges the role can be challenging. “You learn to be patient,” she says. “You’re problem solving during every interaction, so you need to actively listen with intent. This is a job that requires you to be fully engaged; you can’t coast.”

But she also finds her work to be very fulfilling.

“The interactions we have with customers are so gratifying because you instantly see the impact you make. When people spend their hard-earned money on insurance, they want to know what it’s going toward. Having someone who can explain in their own language how coverages work means a lot to our Spanish-speaking customers.”

Room to grow

Irma says there’s a lot of potential in Seguros. And if you’re considering a multilingual position with Progressive, she’s hoping you’ll take the leap and apply.

”It didn’t take long for me to want to be a part of the Progressive welcome wagon,” she jokes, “but I truly love supporting the Spanish-speaking community in my role here. I feel a personal connection to the people we’re helping. And I’m sure there are others like me who remember translating for their family as a kid. At Progressive, you can make a difference in the community and help turn a frustrating experience into a positive one.”

To see our available multilingual roles, check our job listing.

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