ConnectiCare: Discovering Leadership Effectiveness through Assessments

How effective are our company's leadership and talent initiatives?
How do they compare to high-performance organizations?

These are questions executives at i4cp member company, ConnectiCare, a top-ranked health plan provider that serves 275,000 members in Connecticut and western Massachusetts, needed to answer.

Since 2011, ConnectiCare's executive team has utilized i4cp's Organizational Leadership Assessment to better understand its leadership and talent practices and gain clear, empirically based insights into the organization.

In a recent interview with i4cp, Dick Rogers, Chief Human Resources Officer at ConnectiCare, explained his experience with the assessment process.

What is the business environment like today?

Dick Rogers

Dick Rogers: It's been a great run for us--ConnectiCare is coming off the four best consecutive years in history--and our membership is up 18 percent in the first six months of 2014. But despite our success, we continue to experience major external environmental changes, creating the need for major organizational changes and strategy adjustments. Our industry is being turned upside down by health care reform, which has meant rapid growth in the number of new members. At the same time we have had to adjust our business model to accommodate the presence of health care exchanges and Medicare, and the changing market environment.

These factors create uncertainty about the future. The velocity of change in our business has accelerated tremendously. Talk about a scenario where leadership is critical to our future. ConnectiCare is in the midst of redefining what it means to be a leader.

Why did ConnectiCare need i4cp's assessment?

ConnectiCare had two primary goals for the Organizational Leadership Assessment:

First, we needed to increase our understanding of how well our leadership and talent initiatives were working. Were the achieved outcomes on par with those of high-performance organizations? Where were there gaps? Where have we improved or declined?

Second, by conducting the assessment year over year, we reinforced the importance of making the best leadership and talent decisions for the organization. The assessment helped us communicate how dead serious we were.

How are you applying the assessment findings?

We started with a deep dive in HR, analyzing the assessment results in depth; we really wanted to know what was working. We then presented the results to our senior leadership.

When we had a low score, we looked for the reason. Here's an example: In our recent assessment we saw an issue with performance management. Further analysis found that the low score was a result of the consistency with which people who have less-than-acceptable performance were being treated. We looked at the assessment data by level and then conducted focus groups with supervisors. What we learned helped us to better understand and address this problem.

Another example: Consider how critical hiring and selection decisions are to an organization--this is clearly one of the most important decisions leaders make, with long-lasting impact and potentially high risks if mistakes are made. Taking time to assess leadership and talent outcomes--to make sure we were doing things right--was good practice and a great investment.

With all the change you're facing, are you going to defer conducting the assessment until things settle down?

No way. ConnectiCare definitely plans to conduct the assessment again next year. This information is too important to defer; we are changing our expectations of leaders, rethinking pivotal roles, and taking action on leader selection and development. Assessing the outcomes of these changes and modifying them as needed to take us into the future—it's the kind of thing where if you wait, you die.

i4cp's Organizational Leadership Assessment

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