The Power of Purpose:
Transforming the health of a company and the people it serves, beginning with its own.
When Tim Huval joined Humana from Bank of America two and a half years ago as SVP and CHRO, he and his team were challenged with transforming the company from a traditional health insurance company to a health and well-being leader. We explore Humana’s recent journey toward well-being as many companies are interested in launching similar efforts.
You have led multiple businesses inside and outside of the human resources function. How has Humana been different?
I’ve been privileged to be part of organizations in the past that create positive impacts for consumers every day that are palpable, putting those consumers front and center in the business model. However, at Humana, the potential for deep customer intimacy while carrying a positive purpose into the lives of people is even greater, given that we help people with one of the most important and sensitive areas of their lives – their health and well-being. Continuing to evolve our practices and culture to best reflect and enable that role and our values is critical to fulfilling that purpose. Underpinning that have been key factors that are more similar to prior experiences, such as the criticality of building and growing great talent, focusing on the things that create value for consumers, strong business execution, and operational excellence in a highly regulated industry that is evolving.
Many companies are interested in employee well-being as a way to boost everything from retention to productivity. What was the inspiration for Humana’s well-being transformation?
First and foremost, it has been a reflection of our purpose as an enterprise, and what we aim to bring into the lives of people we serve externally. We have a stated dream of helping people achieve lifelong well-being, which is a long-term aspiration that drives us. Our belief is that as we pursue this within our own community, we’ll better serve others, and be much stronger as an organization. All this comes at a time when Humana has been pivoting from the episodic customer relationships of a traditional health insurer to a company dedicated to helping people improve their health and well-being.
In fact, that shared purpose came into even sharper focus last spring when Humana publically announced a bold goal to improve the health of the communities it serves by 20% by 2020, by making easy for people to achieve their best health. Internally, we made the call early-on to go even bolder: achieve the goal by the end of 2017. By investing in the well-being of our associates, we can have a greater positive impact on the well-being of our members and customers. Getting there first enables us to learn and lead from the front.
As we progress, of course, it helps us directly address key questions most organizations face: How do we create an employment experience that engages and inspires our talent – and accelerates our business strategy? How do we build a workforce that is thriving physically and emotionally, and in the best state of being to create value with our customers while having personal meaning through their work? The journey we are on serves all of this in a powerful way.
Humana is further along in this effort than many other companies. Why is that?
It starts from the top – our CEO Bruce Broussard has remained very committed to this effort and has actively supported it, as have the other senior team members. Equally important is the vibrant social movement that has sprung up inside the company, deeply rooted in purpose. Guided by a well-being strategy that Tim State, our Enterprise Vice President of Associate Health and Well-being drives from within HR, the movement is powered by the energy and ideas of thousands of associates and championed by the company’s leaders. It is having a profound impact and changing lives.
We are in a position to support that kind of energy with an integrated set of resources and capabilities – many of which we own internally – that help make the positive change easier and sustainable for individuals and groups. A robust approach to assessment, reporting and goal setting helps to maintain organizational focus and momentum, which translates into sustainable positive change for teams and the enterprise.
How has Humana’s culture evolved to reflect this employee health and well-being transformation?
Our associates have really embraced the movement and are helping to shift the culture in a way that brings our values and company purpose to life for teammates – individually and collectively. Thousands of people are on a personal journey toward their best health and well-being, supporting one another as they move forward. For example, we have developed a grass-roots network of over a thousand associate volunteers called Well-being Champions and Advocates who motivate others to get involved with health and well-being experiences across the country. Champions serve as liaisons with our central associate well-being team, and plan activities that engage work teams in local and enterprise-wide programs and activities that change behaviors and shape culture.
We encourage our associates to have fun on the journey, as well. For 100 days, associates challenge themselves and one another to take steps and improve their health and well-being through our 100 Day Dash. In 2012, nearly 12,000 associates participated — Dashers, as they were dubbed — created small teams and logged 5.7 billion steps during the event, the equivalent of walking around the earth 112 times. In 2013, that pace accelerated as associates beat the 2012 mark by 26% logging 7.2 billion steps.
By 2014, the results exploded to over 10 billion steps. Importantly, following each year of this shared social experience, we’ve seen the default level of physical activity among our associates increase, which points to new, healthier lifestyles that we are embracing together. We are now a vibrant and much more active place where individuals walk around when they are on conference calls, take the stairs versus elevators, or participate in organized exercise classes. There is innovation and energy to everything we do.
Describe the results – what have you seen?
Results have been impressive- higher productivity and engagement, improved population health costs, a stronger employment brand, and a values-centered culture. The employee community has reversed the trend toward declining health seen elsewhere in the nation. Since 2012, four out of ten associates have actually reduced their health risks closely linked to the development of chronic disease and another three out of ten have sustained their levels. Overall well-being, as we measure it across the population, has more than doubled in the same period.
Beyond the numbers, this effort has also enabled new learning into how individuals and communities form and improve. Through co-creation and iterative trials, employees’ own experiences have contributed to new understanding and product development that helps accelerate outcomes, while better connecting teammates to the needs of customers.
Many companies are investing in wellness efforts with varying degrees of success. What advice would you given other companies who are on this journey?
Although Humana is well on its way toward achieving that goal, the fact is that no matter who you are, these days, health is hard. Our convenience culture and lifestyles create barriers to good health that must be overcome. The fragmented healthcare system often struggles to reward health outcomes, or enable them through affordable access and people-centered technology. Given all that complexity and importance, for Humana it is the significance of the mission that makes this shared purpose so unifying and inspiring. It is also why making the journey easier for its own has been an imperative for HR and leadership across the business.
As Humana’s multi-year journey to help its internal community achieve its best health and well-being has progressed, several principles have proven critical to achieving results:
Embrace well-being holistically
We all sense that feeling well and happy involves multiple dimensions of “health”. At Humana, this is foundational. The interconnection between our health (physical and emotional), our sense of purpose, security and feeling of belonging with others is profound. These dimensions of well-being are assessed, with measurable organizational progress towards goals shared through reporting, so teams can work together through action plans on the areas that most deserve their focus. Applying this integrated view has enabled deep learning into how people make positive changes in all areas, individually and as a community. For example, when employees regularly volunteer, they not only experience a stronger sense of purpose, but measurably do better in all other dimensions of personal well-being.
It’s personal; focus on experiences before programs
Helping people be their best shouldn’t be experienced merely as a corporate initiative; it is about meeting them where they are. For example, for someone struggling with severe depression or on the verge of family bankruptcy, near-term success in a new weight management program may be a long shot. Processes that normalize caring conversations about the well-being of individuals and teams, supported by effective resources and solutions that can actually meet their needs, help open the door to lasting change.
Social influence shapes health and moves communities
Not only are our habits and attitudes fairly contagious, but their outcomes are as well. Humana has observed that, similar to other communities, the health of work teams tends to move together…for good or for ill. Moreover, few positive change stories are solo acts. They invariably involve the support and influence of family and friends, especially at work. Sparking social engagement within front-line teams and virtually across the organization has been vital. Today at Humana, the #1 topic people routinely choose to discuss on internal social media is their health & well-being. The stories of inspiration and shared experiences are lifeblood to the cultural movement underway.
Make it simple
Enabling an easier path to health and well-being requires eliminating the barriers that complicate progress. This is especially true in the employer context, where adults spend most waking hours. To understand those barriers, Humana combines deep analytics on multi-faceted hard data with critical information from often the most crucial source: listening to people. Applying consumer research principles, employees are proactively segmented and sought after for their insights and experiences. Combined with a steady flow of grassroots perspectives, the goal is the elimination of critical barriers to health while enabling a more integrated experience across all elements.
Today more than ever, customers and employees are choosing to align themselves to organizations that carry a positive purpose in the world. As Humana is witnessing first-hand, at the intersection between purpose, culture and great societal need there is the potential for true transformational change.
Tim Huval – Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Tim Huval joined Humana as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, where he leads all aspects of human resources, including talent acquisition, inclusion and diversity, learning, succession management, engagement, compensation and benefits, health and well‐being, enterprise solutions, and business services – procurement, facilities, real estate, and safety and security. Tim is a member of the Management Team, which sets the strategic direction for the company.
Prior to joining Humana, Tim spent 10 years at Bank of America in multiple senior‐level roles, including Human Resources executive and Chief Information Officer for Global Wealth & Investment Management, as well as Human Resources executive for both Global Treasury Services and Technology& Global Operations. Additionally, he led several large operations organizations, including Global Card Services, where he was responsible for all card operations and customer service, serving more than 40 million customers. Tim also held numerous leadership roles in operations and Human Resources at Gateway Inc.
While at Bank of America, Tim served as chair of the Consumer Banking, Business Banking and Enterprise Client Coverage Diversity & Inclusion Business Council, responsible for promoting an inclusive work environment. He also served as the executive sponsor of the Military Support & Assistance Group which supports efforts to attract, integrate, retain and develop military veterans.
Tim has also contributed to various community boards, including Family and Children’s Place in Louisville, Delaware United Way, Delaware Children’s Museum, United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Hampton Roads Technology Council, Peninsula Alliance for Economic Development, Utah Information Technology Association, and Youth Homes, Charlotte, NC.
Tim earned a master’s degree in public administration from Brigham Young University, a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Weber State and an associate degree in business management from Salt Lake Community College. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Salt Lake Community College.
Tim State – Enterprise Vice President of Associate Health & Well-being
Tim State is passionate about well-being in the workplace, and its power to impact the destiny of individual employees, as well as the organizations and customers they serve. He is a strategic Human Resources leader with over 18 years of experience within multiple industries, and has lead innovative, large-scale transformative change in areas including Health & Well-being, Benefits, Compensation, Positive Performance, Employee Engagement, and Human Capital Strategy. Tim joined Humana in 2002, and is Vice President, Associate Health and Well-being. Humana has a goal of improving the health of every community it serves, and that commitment begins with its own 50,000+ associates.
Tim and his team develop leading-edge strategies designed to drive a well-being movement within Humana’s workforce that elevates human and organization performance, improves employee health and supports life-long well-being. These approaches have produced results, including superior levels of health & wellness participation & engagement, positive population health outcomes, and measurable well-being improvement. Along the way, Tim has led the development of several population health & well-being solutions that have ultimately become available to external Humana customers.
Under Tim’s leadership, Humana has earned external recognition for its workplace well-being progress, including prestigious awards from the National Business Group on Health, American Heart Association, and others, as well as in various media publications. Tim currently participates in several relevant boards including the NBGH’s Institute on Health, Productivity and Human Capital, the American Red Cross regionally, and serves as an American Heart Association CEO Roundtable lieutenant.