Three types of engagement

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Employee “Engagement” has been all the rage. Look no further than your favorite business or human  resources blog, magazine, podcast, or newsletter to learn more about the said impact engagement has on productivity and workplace culture. We know engagement is vital for our organizations but how do we improve it on the eve of a new decade? Workers not engaged, or disengaged 

from the workforce. Workers we believe are not engaged, or disengaged from healthcare. 

Gallop reports that 85% of workers in the US are not engaged, or disengaged from the workforce. When it comes to healthcare, we believe that these numbers are north of 95%. 

Beyond simply being “present” while at work, what is the cost of engagement (or lack-thereof) when it comes to your employee benefits program, most specifically your health plan? 

Perhaps the most important question is how do you know if you have an engaged population when it comes to healthcare, and what can you do to improve? 

There are two parties who are (or should be) the ring leaders for health engagement at your organization: 

  • Human Resources/Operations: The HR team wants (or should want) to build a fulfilling connection with their Employees – especially when it comes to “life advice”.
  • CFO/Finance: The Finance team wants control over uncontrolled expenses, which are often driven by uncontrolled behaviors, and uncertainty around healthcare in general.

 There are three primary types of engagement: 

  • Employer to Employee 
  • The most frequent form which can also be deafening 
  • Employee to Employer 
  • Typically a less frequent form, which can be easily dismissed. 
  • Employee to Employee 
  • This can be your best friend, or worst enemy. 

An Employer that sends an email memo a day/week/month to Employees is practicing the first type of engagement.  In a recent study by APPrise, 30% of employees admit to not reading emails from their Employer.  There are plenty of reasons why, however one of the primary reasons is likely that they aren’t seeing enough value in the content provided. How often are your Employees provided an opportunity to communicate toward the Employer?  Sure, they always have the opportunity to send an email, make a call, or set a meeting, but ask yourself these questions: 

  • How often is input invited? 
  • How often is feedback acted upon? 
  • How often are your employees invited to participate in engaging with other employees? 

This leads us to one of the most powerful forms, which is Employee to Employee.  The goal for Employers should be as follows: 

  • Help to create positive experience 
  • Capture this feedback 
  • Repackage it for distribution to Employees 

Employee to Employee feedback can certainly be toxic for any organization, on any topic – however the goal should be to extract the positive feedback, and learn how to cultivate more of it. 

Need examples? 

  • Have you made unpopular decisions with your health program in recent years?  Companies make decisions to reduce or remove benefits from Employees all the time.  Sadly, these companies will often increase employee deductibles on their health program, without providing them with a way to mitigate this.   
  • If increasing your deductible, try implementing a program to help offset these expenses.  This could be as simple as recommunicating your FSA/HSA benefits, or more complex like instituting an advocacy program. 
  • Let’s assume that an Employer implements an Employee facing advocacy program that helps to not only reduce the amount that an Employee pays toward these expenses by finding lower cost solutions, but also goes so far as to incentivize them to use it. 
  • Capture feedback from those that take part in the incentives, and ask them to tell their story.  This can be done as easily as a newsletter submission, in a group setting, or even by capturing their testimonial by video. 
  • Use this feedback to re-communicate the experience back to Employees.   

The first challenge of course is to gain adoption, but once you are gaining traction, don’t stop. 

This last example goes to show that there are also an unlimited number of modes and methods for engagement and communication to occur. 

The truth is that most engagement (read: empowerment) starts at the top, but we cannot end there. The C-Suite and Executive team can set the tone for the level of engagement they wish to see from their population. Believe, set expectations, commit, and execute.  

 If you enjoyed this blog, you can read more on our Employee Engagement in Healthcare eBook. 


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