Dollars and Sense are Not Mutually Exclusive

Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — Dollars and Sense are Not Mutually Exclusive — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

The late Paul Newman changed the film industry with iconic performances in classics such as “The Sting” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Newman created an on-screen legacy that impacted multiple generations.

Yet film was not the only industry he changed. Newman’s off-screen, deeply inspirational legacy in philanthropy showed the business community that improving society can be easily integrated into business performance.

Newman’s Own, the organization that began with some homemade salad dressing back in 1982, started by donating 100 percent of its after-tax profits to charity. To date, Newman’s Own Foundation, established in 2005 to continue this good work, has donated more than $450 million.

It’s clear that “Cool Hand Luke” was setting the trend for “doing well by doing good.”

A Legacy Lives On

Recently, I attended a board meeting of the CECP, often called the CEO Force for Good, which is a “coalition of CEOs who believe that societal improvement is an essential measure of business performance.” The organization was founded in 1999 by – you guessed it – Paul Newman. During this meeting, we discussed the challenges of increasing shareholder value while making a positive impact on society and doing well for our customers.

For the last several years, my company has lived by a dream: to help people achieve lifelong well-being. Over the years, as many dreams do, it’s inspired a bold goal that we’re measuring: To improve the health of the communities we serve 20 percent by 2020 by making it easy for people to achieve their best health. It’s our sweet spot.

Our bold goal is impacting one of society’s largest problems – rising health care costs – as an important byproduct of improving people’s health in the communities we serve. At the same time, our business model is based on reducing costs in health care, and we get rewarded not only through improved financial results, but the health of our member population.

So how can corporations and leaders provide above-average returns to shareholders while doing good for associates and customers? It starts with a change in mindset; we have to challenge ourselves and be open to new ways of doing things.

When we change our mindsets, we’re going to naturally change the perception of what success will be and the culture necessary to achieve this. For Humana, the bold goal is about building healthier communities through a business model focused on health outcomes, quantified by the number of mentally and physically Healthy Days a member experiences each month.

While we’ve made progress during the last year in areas such as medication adherence and helping our members stay in their homes as opposed to a hospital, our bold goal is a journey, and success must become sustainable and help drive all areas of the business.

The Path Forward

As leaders of large organizations, we provide the direction. The premise is really around doing good while having a good business model. Impact is not only measured by shareholder return, which creates sustainability, but also through benefits to customers and society.

There are four key elements involved in achieving this balance:

Align around a goal: At Humana, we aligned our business model with an aspirational goal (our bold goal) and being able to measure that aspiration in quantifiable terms. This enables us to incorporate measurement into our day-to-day decisions and activities. We turned our vision of lifelong well-being into a measurable and aspirational goal that aligns to improving health outcomes and making the health system simple for the customer, as opposed to setting a business goal through health outcomes or customer experience.

Through Healthy Days, we can show progress in terms that relate to our customers. We also developed an operational model around this, which has been cascaded into our regional markets. We’re now measuring the clinical conditions that affect Healthy Days through community evaluations, which enable us to develop a detailed understanding of the barriers to health and how we can impact them.

Focus on the customer: As I referenced earlier, leaders need to identify that center spot, the balance between making a positive impact on society and maintaining business performance. In order to do so, you need to not only align around the customer and evolve from operating in siloes, but also engage the employee base.

The bold goal has really driven us to focus on our customers. Yet a key element of customer alignment is the employee/customer relationship. Happy employees mean happy customers. If your associates are not happy and engaged, your customers will never be satisfied. We’re moving in the right direction; we’re ranked in the top tenth percentile on making day-to-day decisions that demonstrate the health and well-being of the people we serve is a top priority (2015 Kenexa employee engagement survey).

Build a thriving workforce: Typically, employees and customers have been in the back of this conversation. They are the important part, and they need to be out front. Decisions must address challenges, but also resonate among employees. For example, 90 percent of our employees say they’re inspired by our bold goal.

It’s also about engaging employees in meaningful work. Consider the millennials. They are looking for jobs that are engaging and purposeful; they’re looking to solve problems, not just get financial results. The more that leaders can attach their business models to meaningful work, the stronger their employee base will be.

Stay focused on improving: When you put the customers and employees first, it can have an impact on how the organization operates. The importance of culture is becoming even more relevant and will ultimately determine success. This can also encourage an agile workforce and collaboration among teams. It also helps drive continuous improvement.

Technology can make a business more consumer-centric and simplify the customer experience. In addition, it enables a company to collect more data and leverage data analytics, which can lead to more personalized interactions. An example is Humana’s Digital Experience Center (DEC), where our employees work in cross-functional teams to create and update Humana’s digital experiences (mobile apps, web site functionality and more). The DEC hosts weekly meetings with consumers to understand how they want to interact with us and how technology supports their health journey.

Make an Impact

In the end, you simply can’t be afraid to turn your organization around or upside down. The fate of your employees and customers are intertwined.

Making an impact requires bold thinking. You have to embrace change — from spending more time with your customers to establishing a vision that goes beyond revenue.

Whether your business is health, manufacturing, professional services, or salad dressing, doing good for your company and for society never has to be mutually exclusive.


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