New i4cp Case Study Explores Humana’s Innovations in Virtual Volunteerism (i4cp login required)

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With the early 2020 publication of Next practices in Holistic
Well-Being: The Performance Advantage
,
the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), detailed its pre-COVID
research into workforce well-being.  

Conducted in late 2019 and available to the public, the
study confirmed that 86% of large organizations (those with workforces >1,000)
offered at least some benefits or programs to support employees’ wellness
(physical, mental, financial, career, community, and/or social).  

Many companies—especially high-performance organizations—emphasized
several or more of those six elements of holistic, or whole-person, well-being.
Most projected that focus would grow in the following year. 

As we’ve seen, the early-2020 onset of the COVID-19 health
crisis accelerated workforce well-being to a top-of-mind concern for employers.
And the pandemic-driven need for social distancing added unique challenges for
organizations’ well-being initiatives. One of the most accomplished at rising
to those challenges is the health and well-being firm Humana.

An i4cp member company that continues to contribute insights
and examples to the research on well-being, Humana is pioneering innovative
approaches that enable its employees (“associates”) to continue participating
in philanthropic efforts when face-to-face or high-touch settings aren’t viable
options.  

In a
new i4cp case study, Innovating Community and Social Well-Being During the
Pandemic: 
Virtual
Volunteerism and Tech-Enabled Employee Safety at Humana
, director of
associate well-being Elona DeGooyer shared some of the changes Humana has made
to shift volunteer activities to virtual and hybrid options. 

Available
exclusively to i4cp members, the case study notes that the outbreak of COVID-19
sent as many as 95% of Humana associates home to work remotely. Almost
immediately, associates wanted to know what would happen to the company’s
high-profile Bold Goal
initiative (a strategy to improve the well-being of communities the company
serves by addressing such root causes of poor health as food insecurity, social
isolation and more) and the many other volunteer activities employees supported
enthusiastically. 

Fortunately,
DeGooyer explains, Humana already had an online volunteer platform in place,
known as Humana Together. Even as the pandemic unfolded, “the platform made it possible
for Humana associates to have online access to more than 4.5 million volunteer opportunities
nationwide and beyond.” 

Further,
Humana had strong ties and a history of in-person volunteerism in its headquarters
city of Louisville, KY, along with alliances in other communities arising from
its Bold Goal work.

The
combination of online volunteer portal and established community relationships
enabled Humana to connect many of its associates to virtual opportunities,
while also continuing some in-person volunteerism where it could be done
safely. 

To
support the wide range of contributions its associates make, Humana provides
associates with some paid time off to volunteer. Those efforts make a
difference for causes that range from local and regional to national and global
in scope. 

What
does virtual volunteerism look like?
 

During
a recent i4cp online discussion about workforce well-being, attending
well-being professionals were asked about the virtual volunteer opportunities
their organizations had created to replace in-person philanthropy. Few answers
were forthcoming. In fact, participants were eager for examples of how to move their
organizational programs from in-person to online settings. 

Virtual
volunteering takes many forms at Humana, affording associates latitude to contribute
to organizations and causes in which they have personal interest. One
opportunity enables individuals to help ensure that U.S. history will live on.
Both the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress
need people to transcribe handwritten historical documents, making possible
their preservation and broader access to the public. Humana associates stepped
up to become digital volunteers. 

“Another
virtual opportunity people found interesting was penguin watching,” DeGooyer
says. “You go to a Penguin
Watch
website where you count penguins in a habitat in order to help researchers.
Studying the birds involves many hours of observing and documenting their behavior,
so having volunteers of all ages is helpful.” 

Associates
contribute in other ways, too
 

Humana
associates engage in a number of other virtual activities described in the case
study;  many specifically align with
addressing social isolation and other aspects of the Bold Goal initiatives.  

Even
during the ongoing health crisis, some employees feel comfortable contributing
to community causes in person by staffing local food drives and delivering
meals.  

Humana
has found ways of combining virtual and in-person options to create hybrid
experiences for volunteers, too. One such approach currently being piloted by
associates enables individuals to pick up components for snack kits, take the
items home to assemble the kits, then drop completed kits off at designated
points for delivery to children in need of food assistance.  

For
much more on Humana’s innovative strategies to continue volunteerism, along
with its use of technology to support social well-being during the COVID-19
pandemic, i4cp members can download the new case study.
 

Not
an i4cp member yet? Contact us  to learn how your organization can join our powerful network and gain access to
the cutting-edge human capital research and peer support that high-performance
companies rely on i4cp to deliver. 

Carol Morrison
is a Senior Research Analyst at i4cp

Productivity

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