With a rich history in care delivery and health plan administration, Humana is creating a new kind of integrated care with the power to improve health and well-being and lower costs. The company’s 42,000 employees are in nearly every state plus Puerto Rico, with roughly one quarter of them in clinical care roles.
Humana’s approach to mental health is holistic, fitting with a commitment to whole-person well-being. The focus is on building emotional health and resilience, creating an environment for honest, open dialogue and when life becomes too difficult, EAP/Work-Life, financial assistance, and behavioral health support are available.
Humana’s approach to employee mental/emotional health and well-being
Using Humana’s holistic well-being model as an underpinning, the company first understands employees’ needs and positive practices and then delivers simple, integrated experiences to help improve well-being across multiple life dimensions:
- Purpose: Inspiration leading to meaningful activities that bring joy, including one’s job
- Health: Having the physical, emotional and spiritual energy and desire to thrive every day.
- Belonging: Personal relationships and connections within communities.
- Security: Feeling safe and protected, including financially.
This broad spectrum of care helps to address social determinants that impede mental health, such as social isolation, economic insecurities and disengagement in one’s work. Emotional health programs, experts and practices are made available to all employees. In addition, caring leadership create opportunities for discussion and shared support, and behavioral health services are integrated into benefits. When resilience resources are not enough, targeted interventions are used.
Building a culture that supports employee well-being
Humana’s culture impacts employees’ emotional well-being by nurturing their relationships with leaders and teammates. Leaders are expected to create meaningful experiences by showing simple acts of support and encouragement. For example, listening with empathy and showing compassion elevates employees’ experiences at work. Leaders are provided guidance and coaching to help them interact with their teams in this way. Emotional well-being outcomes, such as perceived stress or Mentally Unhealthy Days, are part of the digital dashboard used by leaders and teams to set improvement goals across all well-being dimensions and continue shared progress.
In addition, Humana launched a series of conversations and exercises for all employees. Developed by a behavioral expert, these interactive team experiences are designed to promote optimism, build resilience, and reduce stress.
As a result, safe and open conversations about needs and values are now a more normal part of the workplace. This sharing of feelings has increased empathy and trust and enhanced the perception of teammates as a source of support. This care and attention to emotional well-being makes all the difference to employees. Collective well-being has measurably improved in many ways with employees happier, healthier, more resilient and more engaged in their work.
Experiences and resources for employee emotional well-being
Humana utilizes internal and external best-in-class practices to deliver measurable results. Services are tailored to population needs and geography, with an emphasis on creating simple and meaningful experiences. With Humana’s multi-dimensional well-being model, emotional health and resilience are an essential focus for the culture and leadership. Care and support address the breadth of emotional needs. For example, webinars are available to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of substance use disorders and offer guidance on what employees can do if they, a family member, or a friend has a substance use disorder/problem. They also showcase how EAP can help reduce the impact of mental health disorders, workplace stress and other work/life issues. EAP behavioral health counselors are embedded within Humana’s onsite health and well-being centers as part of integrated employee care. Behavioral health services are provided for those enrolled in benefits and targeted interventions are made with people struggling or when trauma is too difficult to address through available resilience resources.
There’s also substantial support for employees caring for or affected by family members, coworkers, or friends struggling with substance abuse. The EAP/Work-Life team can assess and locate support including substance abuse treatment services, after-care services such as transitional/halfway houses or sober living programs, and support groups for those recovering from substance abuse issues or those affected by a loved one’s substance abuse.
Well-being outcomes for the Humana employee population
In 2014, Humana set a Bold Goal to improve the health of every community served by 20% by the year 2020. The primary measurement for Bold Goal community health improvement is Healthy Days, a measure developed by the CDC that includes the combined total of physical and mental unhealthy days. By the end of 2017, employees’ health had improved 18%. These gains amount to over 1.8 million more Healthy Days than they would have otherwise experienced at baseline. In 2018, Unhealthy Days per month continues to trend down, and in Q2, reached a full 20% improvement, at 4.9 Unhealthy Days/month.
In 2017, 85.4% of employees reported their leaders care about their well-being. Further, teams who have a high sense of belonging – empathy and compassion for each other – experienced 6 times fewer Mentally Unhealthy Days. Recent measurable results signal continued positive progress:
- Overall well-being across the four dimensions has improved over 25% since 2013.
- Mental Unhealthy Days have improved 9% over the past 5 years.
- In 2018, a 19% YOY decline was observed in the number of employees reporting elevated levels of perceived stress (7 or above on a 10 point scale, according to the American Psychological Association).
- EAP/Work-Life services utilization by Humana employees (strongly promoted and integrated) is at an annualized rate of20%. That’s more than two times the level of utilization reported by National Business Group on Health members (surveyed in 2018) and over 4 times above the national average which is usually reported between 2-5%.
Humana’s holistic approach addresses mental health within the context of whole-person well-being. This approach has facilitated building a culture that fosters emotional well-being and has supported health outcome improvements among the workforce, including a notable decline in mentally unhealthy days. To continue improving the workplace culture and achieve additional health outcome improvements, Humana will continue supporting employee’s overall well-being across multiple life dimensions: purpose, health, belonging and security.
President and CEO