Humana takes a flexible approach to employee benefits

The HR department at Humana (headquarters pictured) is changing employee benefits to promote better health and boost satisfaction. (Photo courtesy of Humana)

Health insurance companies are concerned with their members' health and wellness, but they also want their own employees to be healthy and happy. At Humana, that meant taking a look at employee benefits packages.

The payer recently redesigned its benefits package to better match what employees wanted, according to an article from Healthcare Dive. Humana ditched its traditional time-off package, which separated sick time and vacation days. In its place, it introduced a program that gives employees a pool of days off to use for vacation, sick or personal days—and for volunteer work that aligns with Humana values. 

Tim State, VP of human resources at Humana, told Healthcare Dive that employees called for time off because they wanted to participate in charitable work but had trouble finding the time to do so.

Humana is one of three health organizations in Glassdoor’s list of the 25 best companies in the vacation and time-off category.

State recommends that organizations take time to listen to staff members and engage with them during the process. Employees will be clear about what needs aren’t being met, he said. 

Humana has implemented other changes to improve employee wellness and productivity. Earlier this year, the payer released a study that tracked more than 8,000 of its employees that were participants in the HumanaVitality wellness program and found that those in the program had six fewer hours of unscheduled time off and saw a 6% reduction in claims costs. It also decreased the likelihood that they would end up in the hospital or the emergency room.

And Aetna has long backed telecommuting programs and other employee-friendly perks that increase productivity. In April, it started paying employees for getting a good night's sleep. In October, however, Aetna said it would dial back its robust telecommuting offerings and cut down its workforce.