Building Business Acumen Case Study
With over 73 million people served by its affiliated companies, including nearly 40 million within its family of health plans, Anthem is one of the United State's leading health benefits companies. To support the rollout of a new corporate strategy, Anthem concluded that their managers would need to fully understand the relationship between their individual roles and the company’s broader strategy.
Anthem recognized a pattern of similar training requests coming from different areas of the business. To pinpoint a solution they conducted a comprehensive skills assessment and found the following:
Decisions were being made with unintended negative consequences to the business.
Individuals were not able to connect their personal actions with organizational measures.
Managers and leaders were not able to easily and usefully communicate the company direction and strategy.
Anthem identified a need for business acumen and began to outline areas where improvements would have the most impact:
Employees could develop a better understanding of the company’s financials and how they compared with competitors.
Decisions made with unintended negative consequences to the business could be reduced.
Employees could more clearly connect their personal actions with key measures.
Managers and leaders responsible for communicating the company direction could articulate it easier and with more usefulness.
Employees could gain a broader perspective to better understand how financial decisions impact other areas of the business.
"I’ve been a learning professional for 20 years and this is the best training I’ve experienced in that time."
Chief Learning & Performance Officer
Anthem selected Acumen Learning to customize a business acumen course with a focus on helping Anthem's leaders connect business imperatives throughout the organization to support a new executive strategy resulting from a merger.
The learning objectives for this program were to:
Better understand financials and know how they impact top and bottom results
Understand recent CEO directives and how to support them
Improve leadership through better communication of business and financial results
Make better, faster and more profitable decisions by aligning their objectives with the needs of their organization
“One of the reasons we landed on Acumen Learning, as a partner of choice, was their underlying program model that was designed to carry our strategy to the company in different situations,” said Todd Harrison, former Director of Leadership and Associate Development. “The solution was customized to exactly what we needed and what our managers needed; to understand fully how our company operates and what they need to do in that system to make it successful.”
Working closely with Anthem's leadership development team, Acumen Learning conducted a series of interviews with executive officers, including the CFO, to ensure the course would be relevant to leaders and specific business units. Weaved into the learning process were Anthem's financials, competitive data, key metrics, and core messages so that learners could experience first-hand the impact business decisions have on the company’s bottom-line.
“It’s really about the results. We have compared the people who have been to the training with those that haven’t, and we can see the difference in the numbers,” said Harrison. “It’s very clear, those who have gone through the training gain a better understanding of how our company operates and they’re producing and getting better results. Our Manager Effectiveness Scores (an annual measure performed by Anthem) showed a 50% improvement of those who attended the training compared to those who had not.”
Through our decade-long partnership Anthem has weathered changes big and small, from the Affordable Care Act to increasing M&A trends. With each industry shift and executive move, Acumen Learning's business acumen course has proven to be a key in helping Anthem's top leaders achieve greater decisional alignment and business leadership.