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A Day in the Life: Corporate Social Responsibility Lead, Humana

by Catherine McGlown

Note: Kicking off 2012 this is part six in a series by Humana employees on how CSR is interwoven into their daily work. These posts will provide valuable insights into how Humana 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 those of your employer's.

“Aw, that’s nice.”

This was a response I often received from people when I was in business school and told them I was seeking a corporate responsibility role post-graduation. While “nice” wasn’t the word that entered my mind as I thoughtfully planned my career, they were right; it was nice. Not only was it nice that I sought a career that provided me with the opportunity to merge my nonprofit background with business acumen to positively affect the way companies operate, but doing so was a business imperative – employees want to work for ethically and socially responsible companies, the socially responsible investing industry is growing, environmental sustainability investments are yielding significant operational savings for companies, and people want to buy from companies that are stewards of their communities and the environment.

Fortunately, over the course of my five-and-a-half years with Humana, I have had the opportunity to learn the business while exploring how to infuse greater responsibility into the way we do business. Currently, as one of Humana’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) leads, I am able to take that exploration to the next level as I advance our Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Healthy Performance platform; I am charged with setting our CSR strategy, managing our CSR efforts, and acting on opportunities to encourage the organization to think about how we can run an even more responsible company and display our commitment to the well-being of our members, associates (employees), the communities we serve and our planet. Here’s an outline of my typical day doing just that:

7:30 a.m.: Log in to review the day’s schedule and check my email for the first of many times throughout the day.

8 a.m.: Peruse the headlines and check out CSRWire to stay up-to-date on CSR-related news.

8:30 a.m.: Meet with members of Humana’s Diversity & Inclusion team to solidify a communications plan for our inclusion efforts (recent accolades, a new Network Resource Group, etc.). The progress Humana has made in the diversity and inclusion space over the past few years is gratifying. We have been focused on developing programs and policies that create an environment that allows our associates to bring their whole selves to work – efforts I wholly support.

9:30 a.m.: Review footage of completed video interviews for use during the launch of our 2010-11 CSR report, to be published in early 2012. We interviewed associates who have made it a point to incorporate Humana’s CSR strategy into their daily work. While the associates do not formally work in the CSR function (areas represented include Procurement, the Innovation Center, and the Law Department), they are shining examples of how corporate responsibility is present throughout the business – you don’t have to have “sustainability” or “responsibility” in your title to take action.

10:30 a.m.: Have a conference call with Humana’s director of Well-Being Innovation and Net Impact to recap on a workplace wellness webinar we led last week. Humana is using innovative workspace design and programming to facilitate lifelong well-being for our associates, and Net Impact is a great organization to help promote our work in that space as it has a network of professionals and students who are committed to using business skills for good works – in the public and private sectors.

11 a.m.: Review the most recent round of design for the Humana 2010-11 CSR Report. Humana has published reports to the community in the past, and we are building on that foundation for the 2010-11 report, which is a formal report. This report is going to be in line with the Global Reporting Initiative’s reporting standards and nicely merge qualitative and quantitative data about our CSR efforts in a way that is relevant to our stakeholders.

Noon: Take a brisk walk before lunch.

1 p.m.:  Visit our internal social media site to see what topics are trending and read the Humana headlines in the newsroom and on our internal news site Humana Today. It is helpful for me to know what is top of mind for our associates as I think about ways to engage them in our CSR efforts. Associate engagement is a key success factor for CSR, which is truly integrated into the business when done well. One of my goals is to have associates lead from where they are within the organization and flood me with ideas of how they can infuse even greater responsibility into the work they do every day – whether that’s through a recycling program, recruiting diverse talent, taking alternative transportation to work or challenging the company, through its policies, to incentivize associates to act with our CSR strategy in mind. Every action – big or small – counts, and I look to Humana’s 36,000+ associates to embrace that and act upon it.

2 p.m.:  Chair Humana’s CSR Council meeting. The Council is comprised of 18 associate ambassadors who mobilize participation in CSR activities and provide on-the-ground execution throughout the company. Council members represent varied levels of management and various departments, which helps inform CSR activities through an enterprise-wide lens. The focus of today’s meeting is the upcoming CSR Report and identifying ways to customize our Healthy Planet associate engagement plan for locations outside of Louisville, where our company is headquartered, at the more than 350 locations.

4:30 p.m.: Check my email and respond to voice mail messages.

5 p.m.: Look at my calendar for tomorrow, and prepare for the following day.

6 p.m.: Wrap up for the day.

Pretty nice.