A culture of well-being


In 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 — A culture of well-being— is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

We all have heard that a life well lived is one filled with purpose. Yet getting focused and persevering toward that purpose is tough for each of us at times. Do I have the belief and optimism to commit fully? Do I have the energy to change? Do I have support from others along the way?

I continue to admire the will and the spirit of our employees, watching them work together to improve their own health and well-being, as well as that of the people they serve. It’s a purpose we share in common, and their dedication to our members and each other is inspirational.

As we’ve experienced first-hand, there is a strong link between optimism and well-being. Together, our collective spirit has fostered an internal social movement toward better health and well-being because our focus as an employer is on the whole health of our team. We work at it and stay committed. By nurturing that culture over time, lives change for the better. So does our future as a collective team committed to caring for others.

Peter, a Humana employee, is an example of a life changed for the better. He wanted me to share his personal journey to convey how much our well-being movement has meant to him.

Peter’s success story

Peter is an employee who has struggled with his weight his entire life. He got married to his high school sweetheart, whom he had known since sixth grade, and had tried to get his weight under control. Peter repeatedly set goals to lose weight…before his wedding, at the birth of his first child and his second child, but like many of us, he struggled to make it happen.

As Peter’s weight continued to grow, he eventually stopped weighing himself. That was until he and his wife sat down one day to talk about their retirement plan. You see, he was getting involved in our well-being efforts, but mostly focusing on financial well-being aspects…admittedly avoiding his physical health needs. She looked at him and said, “You’re over 300 lbs. I have to plan a contingency plan for when I retire without you.”

This struck a nerve with Peter, because it was the first time she had spoken of a future without him. It was a real moment of clarity – and also the spark he needed to change for his wife, his children and their future.

Peter started eating better and running. It wasn’t easy at first, but he grew with it and now loves to run. Peter and his wife now run together each week, and physical activity plays a central role in their lives. He knows he is still on a journey toward being his best, but he’s filled with the energy and optimism of knowing he’s living in line with his purpose.

Across the company

In addition to Peter’s story, Humana has been supporting the whole-person health and well-being of our employees, which includes financial aspects, from contributing to a 401(k) (93 percent of employees currently do) or engaging in financial education that helps strengthen their day-to-day financial security, and other aspects of their lives.

Chronic disease remains a massive challenge to workforce health and productivity. We’re engaging our employees to help them better self-manage their existing chronic conditions by providing digital-enabled tools that incorporate contextual coaching. We’re especially focused on healthier lifestyles that prevent chronic conditions. In addition, we’re deeply leveraging our Go365 wellness solution, which engages and rewards people for positive behavior changes.

On the emotional health side, the U.S. workforce is among the most stressed in the world. Building resilience is important, so we’re trying to foster a sense of belonging and purpose through our Bold Goal: improve the health of our communities 20 percent by 2020. We’ve found that employees in teams with a high sense of belonging have six times fewerUnhealthy Days.

Lastly, the workforce today is more distributed than ever. Like many companies, a portion of our employees work from home or are agile. We’re focused on providing them with virtual care, both physical and behavioral, as well as ways of keeping them deeply connected to their teams and our culture.

Never stop learning

Such stories are empowering, so we share many of them each year in our annual Well-Being Report, an interactive journey through some of the lessons we’ve learned (and are still learning) along with data-driven insights over the prior year. We share this report internally to inspire and connect our community. This year, for the first time, we’re sharing the report publicly.  

Here are a few learnings and insights that I took away from our report:

Importance of internal well-being champions – At Humana, we have a group of employees who volunteer to serve as “Well-being Champions.” They are a group of heroes who are responsible for localizing well-being initiatives and inspiring their colleagues to take action. They have played such a critical role in fostering a culture of whole-person health and well-being.

Leverage our executive team commitment – If you want to inspire change, leaders must set the tone. They must walk the walk, or you’re not going to foster a culture of health. I’m proud of how our executive team has helped foster this climate across the company. I know that we can always raise the bar, and it starts with me and my team.

Simplify the path to better outcomes – The health care industry is undergoing a significant transformation, where it’s rebuilding itself around the consumer. People need help removing barriers and finding a simpler path to their best selves. For example, we cover the cost of various preventive medications and even deliver them across campus for employees to manage their health. The report is a reminder that if we stay focused on keeping health and well-being at the heart of our culture, we can measurably improve health outcomes for our members, many of whom are living with multiple chronic conditions or are already proactively taking steps to change their lifestyles.

It’s a never-ending journey

Health and well-being is a journey for each of us – and one we don’t make alone. Much can be done to build healthier cultures today, where positive change is more often “caught than taught.” 

For us, we know that to help our members live healthier and happier lives, we must keep learning and striving in our own journey together. We need to stay focused on the whole health of our team, from financial security to behavioral health.

For more on Peter’s path to well-being and other inspirational stories, please check out the Humana Well-being: 2018 Annual Report.

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