Successful I&D strategy takes leadership and commitment

A robust, leader-driven commitment to inclusion and diversity can help a company realize its strategy and its vision for the future, while creating a meaningful work environment for everyone, according to Maria Hughes, SVP and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Humana.

She recently spoke with FierceHealthcare about the importance of making sure our workplaces help everyone thrive.

Leader support is critical, she said, noting that she works closely with Humana’s inclusion and diversity council, which is chaired by CEO Bruce Broussard and is primarily made up of his direct reports. Such commitment is a business imperative, she said.

“Today, even more than ever, inclusion and diversity is very important—it’s a hot topic in society,” she said. “So if we think about recruiting top talent and retaining our talent, having someone at a senior level that wakes up every single day thinking about inclusion and diversity … definitely sends the right message to [that] talent.”

She also spoke about the importance of mentoring, which allows Humana’s leaders to meet talented, high-potential associates while also educating those employees on business strategy and connecting them to thought leaders.

And Humana supports “network resource groups,” which are voluntary, employee-led groups that focus on developing future leaders and getting involved in local communities. There are eight of these groups, representing communities including women, people with disabilities and African-Americans.

Maria was the first president of the African-American resource group – IMPACT — 10 years ago. “This role has kind of come full circle for me,” she said.

Read the full interview here.

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