Vice President of Digital Workplace Experience, Humana
With more than 95,000 employees at the end of 2021 spread across a vast array of disciplines - from knowledge workers and supply chain specialists to frontline physicians, nurses, carers and retail pharmacy professionals - Humana is an organisation of prodigious scale, with revenues in 2021 exceeding US$83bn. In 2021, it acquired Kindred at Home, laying the foundations for a new business in clinical care and doubling the size of its workforce.
“From the outside, Humana looks every bit the traditional Fortune 500 company. But in many ways it is also the antithesis of enterprise-scale business,” Baumann says. “It is an organisation where innovation, agility and reinvention are hardwired into its very DNA.”
Collaboration has been central to the evolution of the digital workplace experience, a programme spearheaded by Callie Baumann, Humana’s Vice President of Employee Technology Experience, to improve the health and wellness of employees and customers. That collaboration extends to vendor relationships: “partner-powered” is how one of Baumann’s colleagues characterises the approach.
“Even though they sit outside of our organisation, we think about our partners as a relationship, and that means it's give and take,” says Baumann. “It should be really uncomfortable at times, because they should be pushing you to do more to think differently.”
Zoom is one such partnership that fits this dynamic, according to Baumann. Leading up to, but especially once the pandemic hit, the video platform was integral in retaining and opening new lines of communication between Humana’s departments, employees and customers - including a major project to update capabilities across the organisation’s 340-strong conference room footprint.
“We needed some help to rethink the technology in those spaces,” says Baumann. “Our existing systems lacked the flexibility to support our new ways of working, and we wanted to be able to leverage the benefits of face-to-face interactions when in-person meetings were not possible or in hybrid environments.
Gartner has been similarly influential in shaping “not just the digital workplace vision, but also our digital workplace experience vision,” Baumann says. When Gartner came in several years ago, Humana was a more fragmented operation.
“Engineering was in one silo, product management in another, and HR were elsewhere,” Baumann says. "The work that Gartner did was to really help us understand that there is a more holistic and comprehensive way to approach the digital workplace at Humana and, frankly, I think they gave us a language and a taxonomy to talk about these things.
“That gave us a way to measure and communicate the value of what we do, beyond just the technology side of things, and therefore a position at the management table in terms of shaping where we go as an organisation, and how we go about getting there.”
To get there, Baumann will be leveraging all the opportunities of a workforce that is in the process of returning to some form of normality now that the peak of the pandemic is beginning to subside.
“As our employees go back into the office, we will be flooded with data again about what works and what doesn't work,” she says. “It takes a tremendous amount of commitment from the organisation to continually reevaluate and rethink in this way, and that stems from the belief that these things aren't just technology tools for technology's sake; they are mechanisms by which we will attract talent and retain talent, and we will have better relationships with our members and customers that we serve as a result, because it's easier, frankly, for our employees to do their job every day.”
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