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Human beings are inherently social creatures. The inclination to connect with others and to belong is deeply embedded in our DNA. In humanity’s earliest days that instinct helped ensure our survival in a harsh and unpredictable world. That instinct still guides us in the direction of better well-being.

In 2020, connections became more complicated. The pandemic forced us to sacrifice physical proximity to our friends, colleagues and loved ones to protect them and ourselves from COVID-19. And the realities of people of color exposed how much is still needed for an inclusive, just and more harmonious community.

So we held meetings or get-togethers on screens or sitting six feet apart in the backyard. In doing so, many of us came to appreciate the emotional and physical richness of the hugs, the handshakes and the jokes whispered in our ear that we’d perhaps once taken for granted. We also found very visible ways to elevate the dream of realizing a world where everyone feels they belong.

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Our ways to feel connected go beyond being in the presence of others, extending to ideas and collaboration. We may even feel connected spiritually when we’re alone through the power of being cared for.

It’s important to recognize and reframe the many ways we establish meaningful connections.

Belonging is cultivated in multiple ways, and in looking carefully, it’s evident many positive connections endure within our Humana community. For example, compared to 2019, a higher percentage of associates believe they can fully be themselves at work, meaning they’re more likely to feel seen and heard. They’re also reaffirming their bonds with one another, like being united by Humana’s common purpose.

Being optimistic about making these connections and realizing their benefits helps well-being. When our associates adopt a positive mindset, their overall sense of belonging is 36 percent higher, according to the Humana Well-being Index.

Our sense of belonging, emotional health and overall well-being are strongly connected.

Having meaningful connections with one another gives us energy for multiple aspects of our lives. A strong sense of belonging helps many at Humana experience more than three additional Healthy Days per month along with 15 percent less stress and higher well-being across all dimensions.

Feeling welcomed and bonded with colleagues adds meaning and purpose to one’s work, providing additional motivation to support and care for others, along with oneself. These experiences confirm that we’re not alone and that we feel safe in the world.

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I jump on that site and it just turns my day around in a blink of an eye. I see that I'm not alone.

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Tiffany Sprinkle
Minot, ND

Tiffany Sprinkle

Tiffany Sprinkle quote start

I jump on that site and it just turns my day around in a blink of an eye. I see that I'm not alone.

Tiffany Sprinkle quote end

Tiffany Sprinkle
Minot, ND

TIFFANY SPRINKLE
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We are truly better together.

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Jeff Strommen
Green Bay, WI

Jeff Strommen

Jeff Strommen quote start

We are truly better together.

Jeff Strommen quote end

Jeff Strommen
Green Bay, WI

JEFF STROMMEN
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76.0 in 2020

Belonging Score

87.0

2019

94.0

2018

88.0

2017

100

2016

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In a year when we all learned – and lived – the concept of social distancing, it’s no surprise our associates’ sense of belonging changed. Our Belonging Score moved to its lowest point in six years.
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Inclusive Connections

While people were separated from one another for much of 2020, Humana’s existing avenues for connection and collaboration helped associates maintain, and in some cases expand, their relationships. Interactions on Buzz, Humana’s internal social media platform, jumped to an all-time high in 2020. More than 11 percent of associates had elevated engagement on Buzz in the last quarter of 2020, totaling almost 125,000 posts. Plus, Network Resource Group (NRG) participation remained steady, with one third of associates belonging to at least one group, meaning we’ve achieved our goal in this measure for the second straight year.

Inclusive Connections 2019 2020 Goal
Network Resource Group (NRG) Participation 33.5% 33.3% 33%
We have an environment where everyone can fully be themselves 80.3% 81.8% 84%
Making at Least 4 Posts on Buzz within Last Quarter 9.7% 11.2% 14%
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Humana Well-being Index

The need to shelter and socially distance from friends, family and colleagues took a toll on everyone and the Humana Well-being Index reflects that. All three aspects of Belonging – Social, Community, and Family – experienced significant declines. But why measure what’s so evident? It’s because the innate needs are always there, and there are insights to be found in comparison. The benefit of this is that it’s clearer, perhaps more than ever, how much as human beings we matter to one another, and how much we improve each other’s well-being just by being present, active and positive influences within each other’s lives.

Humana Well-being Index 2019 2020 Goal
Humana Well-being Index: Belonging 3.13 2.76 3.34
Social 3.40 3.04 3.50
Community 2.29 1.89 2.51
Family 3.71 3.35 4.00
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