1 Million for Work Flexibility has more than 90 organizations on board to date as part of our coalition—and counting. We’re pleased to share more information about our supporter Humana in this Q&A.

Humana Inc. isn’t a company that flies under the radar.

With 14.3 million medical members across the United States, more than 30 years of Medicare experience, and approximately 50,000 employees, it is a well-known player in the healthcare marketplace.

But what many people may not know about the company is how committed it is to the total well-being of both its members and its workers.

Headquartered in Louisville, Ky., Humana has been taking care of people since it was founded in 1961, first with nursing homes, then hospitals, and now with a fully integrated care delivery model.

The company strives to bring together the best in medical-management and wellness solutions to take care of all parts of a person’s life: mind, body, and spirit. That commitment is captured well in the “Bold Goal” it announced last year: “Every community we serve will be 20% healthier by 2020, because we make it easy for people to achieve their best health.”

At the core of Humana’s system is the primary care provider, who delivers coordinated care via a holistic approach to the member’s health that is consistent, member-focused, and cost-effective. By building this model, the company believes consumers can receive outstanding care in a less complex healthcare system.

In other words, the company knows how to be flexible for consumers, and that attitude extends to its employees, many of whom have opportunities to work from home, shift their schedules, or otherwise alter when, where, and how they do their jobs. This has helped Humana earn world-class levels of employee engagement, showing that its workers understand and appreciate that commitment to helping them build balanced lives.

In this Q&A, Tim State, Vice President, Associate Health and Well-being at Humana, talks about the company’s culture, its goals, and what the future may hold for this groundbreaking business.

1MFWF: Humana’s business units offer everything from health plans and pharmacy services to behavioral health and assistance to seniors. What challenges and opportunities come along with having such a diverse business?

Humana: The diversity and breadth of our capabilities creates an opportunity to truly help people in their journey toward their best health and overall well-being. Being able to meet them where they are and address multiple needs means we must work collaboratively to bring all those capabilities together in a way that is effective and easy for the individuals we serve. That is no small challenge, but very important, because today better health is often not simple … it is complicated. Working collaboratively and more simply provides a great opportunity to help people be their best.

Also, having a diverse business that serves very diverse customers means we must attract, nurture, and engage a diverse workforce with varied needs and experiences. By doing so and advancing their well-being, we live out Humana’s purpose as a community, improve organizational performance, and better meet the needs of the people we serve. In short, we thrive over the long term as an enterprise. Creating opportunities to work together as a team with greater flexibility is an important part of that journey.

1MFWF: What kinds of flexible work policies does Humana have in place for its employees? How have opportunities for flex work at Humana evolved over the years?

Humana: Humana has policies that provide the flexibility to work in the office, from various locations, or entirely from home. Many associates also have the opportunity for alternative work schedules, enabling them to optimize their time. Our associates are also able to prioritize their time to suit their well-being needs within individual business areas. This increasingly ensures dedicated “well-being time” during the workday, so that our associates can invest the time to be their best.

As Humana’s business focus and talent needs have changed over the years, so has the way associates work–including when, where and how. Historically, some associates had a flexible work schedule and location, but this practice was often the exception. To meet Humana’s commitment to the well-being of our members and associates, we have since created an environment where our associates have enhanced flexibility, allowing us to recruit and retain talent from a dramatically larger talent pool. Our associates are committed to our purpose and want to be productive and contribute, so staying in sync with their changing needs to create the best collaboration possible is important. Today, many associates work agile either full or part-time, with hoteling and collaboration workspaces conveniently available in Humana-owned offices when onsite work is best. Technology and environmental design have been key enablers along the way.

1MFWF: How has such flexibility influenced the Humana corporate culture? How does that culture help Humana in the marketplace, both in terms of attracting and keeping talented employees and in terms of serving clients?

Humana: Flexibility has increased associate engagement and commitment to achieving Humana’s values of Thriving Together and Rethinking Routine, while also increasing overall well-being. Humana’s philosophy on flexibility and work-life has contributed to engagement rates at the 93rd percentile of the Kenexa IBM World Norms database of over 16 million employee responses, and has been viewed as one of the key facets of Humana’s associate culture. Associates are especially connected to Humana’s purpose, seeing a very clear link between their work and Humana’s Bold Goal of improving the health of Humana communities by 2020. They are equally enthusiastic about Humana’s commitment to well-being within the associate population, since our shared purpose happens from the inside-out. Agile workers connect virtually on a daily basis to keep in sync, contribute, and maintain a collaborative sense of belonging. Humana’s Network Resource Groups strive to bring associates together across the country through WebEx, virtual message boards, and other activities. Leveraging technology has enabled flexibility by removing barriers and increasing our ability to work collaboratively in a virtual work environment.

Humana serves a diverse membership portfolio, with varied needs and experiences. Humana’s bold goal initiative of improving the health of the communities we serve is a prime example of how we are supporting clients, and that starts with a focus on the health and well-being of our associate community. By embracing the flexibility of associate work styles, we are able to attract and retain associates, while “walking the talk” in the communities in which we serve. Humana’s goal of being a leader of health and well-being makes it easier for associates to achieve their best health and the health of their families, while bringing that to life with clients and in their communities.

1MFWF: What are Humana executives doing to position the company for continued growth in the years to come?

Humana: We aspire to serve as a health partner for life to our customers and for the communities we serve. That goal is reflected in a set of five values that guide us in our daily work:

  • We Inspire Health by making conscious choices every day and motivating others with our positive example. We care about each other and actively contribute to an environment of well-being.
  • We Cultivate Uniqueness, finding ways to connect with each other and our consumers. Respecting one another, listening with an open mind, and seeking different perspectives result in richer solutions.
  • We Rethink Routine, because innovation emerges from a culture that cultivates curiosity. We spark creativity by challenging ourselves to think differently.
  • We Pioneer Simplicity, making life easier and showing that less can be more. When we empower associates with responsibility, we are able to create an agile organization and an exceptional experience.
  • We Thrive Together, by focusing on shared success, breaking down silos, inviting collaboration, and mentoring others. We believe in, and act with, positive intention to create an environment of trust and integrity.

1MFWF: How will the company’s commitment to flexibility help it achieve those goals?

Humana: At its heart, work flexibility creates a true win-win, where teammates are enabled to bring their best selves into their work and gain the most from each other’s strengths, while overcoming traditional work-related constraints to this form of high performance.  It is a commitment that recognizes the unique value of each associate in order to make collaboration and contribution simpler and more effective for the way we work and live in the 21st century. When we do that, we improve the well-being of our associates, and are much more effective overall in helping the people we are privileged to serve each day.