Case Study: WellPoint Health Networks Inc.—Harnessing High Potential Talent: A Strategic ApproachJan 16, 2003
WellPoint has created and implemented the Human Resources Planning Program (HRP), a system that provides tools for employees, supervisors, human resources professionals, and senior leaders to plan, monitor, and evaluate career development opportunities for all employees at and above the director level. Its initiative is entitled Harnessing High Potential Talent: A Strategic Approach.
In place since 1997, HRP includes metrics and quarterly reviews of employee ratings, promotions, attrition/hires, developmental opportunities, officer appointments, and assignments to help achieve a diverse workforce. Candid “challenge sessions” motivate supervisors to develop career paths for their employees, including those who may have been overlooked or underestimated. The annual “challenge sessions” begin at the division level and culminate with a presentation to the Board of Directors, which evaluates senior leadership as well as gender and ethnic diversity company-wide.
Since the implementation of WellPoint’s HRP, women’s representation in the executive ranks has increased substantially. Four of WellPoint’s 14 corporate officers are women, up from one in 1997. WellPoint has 18 women in key top positions: Four of 12 presidents and EVPs (25 percent), five SVPs (26 percent), and nine general managers (36 percent). In the broader executive ranks, 39.6 percent are women, and 12 are women of color. Additionally, ten women hold key jobs with profit-and-loss responsibility (up from seven in 2001), including two who head major subsidiaries. Currently, WellPoint’s nine-member Board of Directors includes four women.