He's All About Service

FARMERS INSURANCE GROUP OF COMPANIES

Serving is in Rod Harden’s blood – whether it is serving his country or the clients and personnel of Farmers Insurance Group of Companies. Harden served in the United States Army for 21 years, mainly as an armor officer, before retiring as a major. Now, he is the head of catastrophe claims at Farmers Insurance.

Harden started working at the organization in 1993, and has been promoted nine times since then. In 2006, he received the company’s Award for Management Excellence. He has also been selected for the Advanced Leadership Development Course, and was selected by his peers as the top performer.

Harden understands that it can be an uphill battle to find employment after serving in the military. “This was a challenge for me back in the early 90’s, as there was not as much focus at that point on transitioning servicemembers as there is today,” he said. “I was a combat arms officer, and there is really no need for that specific skill set in the civilian world. However, there is always a need for leaders in any organization. I made sure to focus on my experience in leading people and the level of accountability and responsibility I had as an Army officer, and this paid off. It helped that the person at Farmers that interviewed me at initial hiring was a veteran also and was able to really make the aforementioned connection.”

A lot of what Harden learned in the military is still paying off in his civilian career. “One thing that the military certainly teaches is the resourcefulness to get things done,” he said. “Problem-solving skills are honed daily, as well as decision-making and decisiveness. The ability to multitask and work in pressure-charged situations is simply daily life while serving. These skills help you in all other facets of life.”

Harden said a focus on service is common to both the military and Farmers. “Our mission and values align very well with folks that have served this great nation,” he said. “We are about helping customers in their greatest time of need, following a claim or catastrophic event. This type of focus on service is the same as the feeling in the armed services. Also, Farmers Insurance has really developed a very robust veteran’s platform and support network. When a reservist, Guardsman, or veteran comes to work here, we understand what is needed in the transition, and we work tirelessly to ensure that all have a support network to make their transition positive and successful.”

What should a veteran job seeker tell a prospective employer about his or her military experience? “My advice is to really focus less on what your specific job might have been in the military – unless you can do the exact same thing in the civilian market – and more on what you have learned and how you have grown as a result of your experiences while serving,” Harden said. “Learning to translate that and demonstrate it to a prospective employer will prove to be a very solid attribute.”

Harden believes that veterans will feel right at home at Farmers. “The military is a work family that has a set of core ethics and values,” he said. “Very simply, if you come to Farmers, you will find your new civilian work family.”

Friday November 13, 2015

This article appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of Search & Employ Magazine