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Best Executive Communications
What’s the Buzz? It’s how Humana gets word out to employees—and hears what’s on their minds
Humana’s CEO says, “[Getting] 50,000 people on the same page is pretty important to me,” and proves it with executive communications that blanket each layer of Humana’s employees.
Some leaders believe a one-time blast in the employee magazine is all that’s necessary to enlighten employees about the thinking of senior managers. Not Bruce Broussard. The CEO of the health care giant Humana believes that employees want to hear from their leaders often, live, and in-person. That belief was crucial to Humana winning first place in the Best Executive Communications category in PR Daily’s 2015 Digital PR and Social Media Awards.
What makes Humana stand out? Mostly it’s Buzz, Humana's Enterprise Social Network (ESN), started nearly five years ago as a means to help associates collaborate, communicate and thrive together. Today, Buzz has grown to include more than 42,000 registered associates. Here’s how Humana and Broussard use it:
- A quarterly meeting on Buzz with the CEO and Humana’s 6,000 managers. Two communications team members sit in, posting key points, graphics, and quotes of speakers, as well as asking questions. There’s a Q&A for both the live and virtual audience.
- A monthly meeting between Broussard and 200+ managers at the VP level and above. Two comms team members in the executive boardroom live-post points and ask questions. A large boardroom screen shows videoconference rooms around the country; another screen shows the stream of conversation from Buzz. The CEO takes questions from participants and posts questions from Buzz.
- A two-day annual meeting of hundreds of Humana leaders. A comms team member reports live from the city where the meeting is held. All posts to Buzz include an event hashtag. The communications team promotes the hashtag stream on Buzz weeks before and after the event.
- Many Humana unit and regional leaders use the Town Hall feature on Buzz to host open town halls. One VP holds periodic open office hours for his 3000+ employees; no agenda, just people posting comments and questions.
- Humana’s intranet landing page integrates every news story with its own discussion thread on Buzz. Broussard’s articles there often end with a question for employees, some getting more than 100 comments.
Congratulations are due to Jeff Ross and Brenda Smith in executive communications at Humana!