When an Employer's CSR Philosophy Becomes Personal

by Aman Singh Das | May 11, 2011

  • My Vault

David Noltemeyer is a process manager in Humana's Workplace Solutions department.

That means he is part of the team that manages the company's real estate and facilities-management operations. Because of the overarching purpose of his team, almost every employee at Humana is affected by Noltemeyer's decisions.

What that means for Noltemeyer is that he be responsible and cognizant of a very diverse set of stakeholders in everything he does. In fact, he believes that he is personally accountable for the happiness of every Humana employee.

As he puts it, "From the time our associates—a Humana term for employees—arrive to the time they leave, their experiences are shaped by the work we do and the decisions we make," adding, "And good decisions spark positive experiences."

For Noltemeyer, Humana's CSR philosophy of Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Healthy Performance is personal because it means committing to operating energy-efficient and sustainable facilities for a long time.

And the explosion of dialogue on corporate social responsibility has helped his job monumentally.

"CSR's emergence as a focused best practice has renewed our efforts to identify new opportunities to reduce unhealthy or unwise environmental impacts. Whether a facility is owned or leased by us, we have multiple initiatives under way that will facilitate sustainable practices and insure healthy work spaces. "

Everyone can be a CSR Professional

At a recent workshop I conducted for the students of University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, I was asked one question again and again: How do you find a CSR job?

Part of my advice was a word of caution: Step away from searching for CSR-specific job titles and instead focus on matching positions with skills and experiences at companies that you would be proud to work for.

My rationale for this, besides the fact that there just aren’t enough CSR-specific jobs to go around, was that if you work for a company that aligns with your values, you will be instrumental in driving that culture of responsibility, regardless of your role.

And at Humana, this commitment drives Noltemeyer as a CSR professional. I asked him to describe why he calls himself a CSR professional.

CSR at Humana: Everyone's Job

"Our CSR platform provides opportunities to work cross-functionally and cross-departmentally and engage our associates in assisting [all our sustainability] efforts. Our associates are our biggest assets, yet they can be our biggest critics if they detect waste of any kind. Still, they willingly engage and participate in finding solutions.

For example, with Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and our state's Energy and Environment Cabinet looking on, Humana recently received ENERGY STAR certification for our corporate headquarters building. As a department, we are thrilled to have contributed to this benchmark recognition.

We also recently completed a comprehensive energy audit of our largest energy-consuming buildings to identify additional opportunities to reduce our energy footprint. Most of the familiar reductions, such as lighting retrofits and building automation, were completed a while ago. So now we are closely examining every building and system to spot new opportunities to employ technology and best practices to pare energy consumption even more.

We recognize our role in making positive impacts simply by our ability to weigh sustainability factors in regard to our portfolio of properties and their efficient operation.

And for me it is very rewarding to be able to contribute to the CSR process that thrives here."

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So what exactly does a process manager do at Humana? Take a look at David Noltemeyer's typical Day in the Life as a Process Manager of Environmental Sustainability.

Editor's Note: This is Part 2 in a series of blogs by Humana employees on how CSR is interwoven into their daily work. These posts will allow us valuable insights into how one company is contextualizing responsibility as a key business strategy and a core function of every employee's job. For jobseekers and career changers, these posts will provide not only insights into alternative career paths, but also tips on how you can pursue a career that aligns with your values as well as your employer's.

Previously:
How Humana Created a Cross-Sectional CSR Function

Filed Under: CSR

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