HIP Invests In Employees, Too - InformationWeek

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HIP Invests In Employees, Too

Executives at HIP Health Plan of New York know that investment in IT can make or break a company. What they're learning is that IT also can serve as an investment in employees.

Last year, the HMO created HIP University. Employees can choose from a variety of general-business and technical subjects and take interactive courses to advance their knowledge. Some classes are taught in groups, with each person at his or her own computer in a classroom. Others are offered online. Students access the material through a custom-designed portal and click through a hyperlinked landscape of animated screens.

Each course, custom-designed by HIP in Macromedia Dreamweaver and Flash, is bubbling with video. One popular class, "Listen Up -- A Listening Skills Course," features play-acted videos of co-workers interrupting and ignoring each other. Other topics include leadership building and ethics.

New hires must take five classes by a certain date, and employees are expected to take at least two a year, though many take more. Even president and chief operating officer Dan McGowan has taken courses, including a mandatory sexual-harassment class.

For HIP, the benefit of the program is better-informed and highly skilled employees, while workers benefit by developing their careers faster. Says McGowan, "If you've taken the curriculum, you can chart your own career path."

Return to main story, "HMO Takes The Pain Out Of Customer Service"

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