Is it possible to have a huge team of engaged, results-driven employees, even if nearly half of them work from home? While many companies would say that employees need to be in the same physical location to collaborate, Magellan Health shows that workplace flexibility can still create a successful, collaborative, results-oriented workforce.
In the early 1990s, Magellan Health was one of the first companies to focus on finding the best talent, regardless of their geographic location. The company was a pioneer in remote work and a flexible work schedule, and it’s continued to refine its approach over the last few decades.
Today, more than 40% of Magellan’s 10,000 employees work remotely. The company has gone to great efforts to ensure its widespread workforce doesn’t miss out of chances to collaborate. In the words of Magellan Health’s CHRO, Caskie Lewis-Clapper, working remotely doesn’t really mean being remote. “It’s being focused on the work to be done and not necessarily sitting in the same place,” she says.
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Magellan provides resources for virtual collaboration and makes sure each team has a clear vision and purpose. The company allows its teams to dictate the work schedule. Most teams meet face-to-face a few times a year, depending on the type of work. In Magellan’s results-focused workplace, the work determines if a team needs an in-person meeting or a virtual Zoom meeting. Staying agile and letting the workload determine the work schedule and environment keeps Magellan from falling into purposeless routines just because that’s how things have always been done.
One of the ways Magellan Health connects with its remote employees is through VERN, or the virtual employee resource center. Instead of using a human-staffed HR contact center, VERN is a virtual database that includes nearly every possible question an employee could have, from benefits to processes. When Magellan created VERN, it reached out to employees to ask them what type of information would be most helpful to include. Employees helped design all aspects of the experience to create a system that is useful and effective. Magellan uses a similar solution for its technology contact center, called RITA.
The goal with both VERN and RITA is to put employees in the driver’s seat. Each employee in a results-oriented work environment is responsible for their decisions and work environment. The virtual contact center allows employees to get the answers and help they need right when they need it, which is powerful for driving results and creating empowered employees.
A results-oriented environment puts accountability on employees and leaders, which Lewis-Clapper admits can be a bit of tough love. Employees are accountable for their own learning with help from Magellan’s online training portals. Leaders are there to help employees, but the goal is for each employee to drive their own success. The result is a dynamic team of employees who work at Magellan because they like taking ownership and have passion for the purpose of the company. Even if they aren’t sitting next to their co-workers, they respect the people they work with virtually and collaborate with.
Magellan shows that by empowering employees and using creative technology solutions, a remote workforce can create powerful results.
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