In the world of human resources and employee benefits, the results of the upcoming November elections and the potential impact on health care reform seems to be a tipping point. The current worries around health care reform mostly contain anxiety around cost, mandates, and administrative burden. One notion fails to top the list of worries however: employee engagement. No matter the outcome of the election and the evolution of health care reform, employee engagement will be of paramount importance. Employers should be asking, “How will I engage my employee population to maximize productivity and retention of my key employees?”
Regardless of the implications, or lack thereof, of health care reform and the upcoming elections; employee engagement should remain a critical component of an organization’s strategic focus. Too often, HR and benefits professionals do not have the tools, resources, knowledge, or time to be strategic as they are stuck in the minutia of everyday problem solving. Companies are overlooking the importance of an overall employee engagement strategy and how under-engaged employee populations can negatively impact business results and performance.
The Problem of the Under-Engaged Employee
Under-engaged employees are less productive, have higher probability for attendance issues, experience higher than average medical, disability, and workers compensation claims, and experience higher turnover. According to Gallup, actively disengaged employees cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity.
How to Assess Employee Engagement
Although the enhancement of an organization’s employee engagement strategy revolves around a transformation of company culture, several simple steps can be taken to identify opportunities for improvement:
- Conduct strategic planning session(s) to identify corporate vision and position surrounding human capital.
- Review and define your Total Rewards Elements: List the key benefits of being an employee at your organization across benefit programs, wellness initiatives, training and development, compensation structure, rewards and recognition, and work-life balance.
- Perform gap assessment and evaluate the current effect of each element on employee engagement and develop an action plan to improve as needed.
- Review your employee communication strategy and confirm you are informing and educating employees about each element
Regardless of the outcome of the election and the implications from health care reform, employees will remain the foundation of an organization’s success. The path to a more engaged workforce should remain a focal point of every organization; the evolution to a more engaged workforce needs to begin today.