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Humana: Guiding Enterprise Transformation
When Humana, one of the largest publicly traded health benefits organizations in the country, changed its existing business plan to pursue a customer-centric strategy, corporate education was key to the transformation.
With 5.8 million medical members mainly concentrated in the Midwestern and Southern regions of the United States, Humana Inc. is one of the largest publicly traded health benefits organizations in the country. The company provides health insurance coverage, as well as additional services such as dental, life and disability plans, to individuals and employer groups in 15 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. These achievements seem even more significant when one considers that for most of its 43-year history, Humana was focused on managing hospitals and nursing homes.
A few years ago, the company initiated a sweeping transition from its existing managed-care business plan to pursue a consumer-centric strategy based on health benefits, said Ray Vigil, chief learning officer and vice president of Humana. As a key instrument of transformation, the learning and development division at Humana was tied closely to the radical shift in the company’s commercial focus. Consequently, the changes that took place at an enterprise level, in terms of structure, objectives and philosophy, were analogous to the modifications in Humana’s corporate education. Vigil added that when he arrived at the company two years ago, he witnessed major changes from the outset, one of which was the establishment of his own position.
“(The chief learning officer) was a newly created position,” he said. “We have approximately 13,000 associates in our company, and in the role of chief learning officer, I have oversight and responsibility for all the learning activities and training activities in the company.”
In order to make learning more efficient and collaborative throughout the organization, Vigil and his team pulled together all of the sundry, separate learning organizations at Humana under one umbrella. “We have what we call a learning consortium that is comprised of all the learning groups and training groups in the company that work together,” he said. “You might think of our role as providing the shared service, the common platform and the enabling infrastructure, as well as the budgetary oversight and strategic direction, but we really operate more as a networked organization. There were some early savings we were able to generate by bringing all of these various groups together under one common consortium. We were able to identify duplication and eliminate it. We also were able to identify common needs and provide (learning programs) on a shared- services basis.”
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