By KELLY HOLT
Do you look forward to going to work in the morning? More importantly, do your employees? The degree to which employees are happy with and committed to their jobs has a direct impact on their productivity, loyalty and absenteeism, and these behaviors directly correlate with the profitability of your organization.
Engaged employees care about their work and how it supports your business objectives and mission, but according to Gallup, 70 percent of employees are actually disengaged in their jobs, costing companies $300 billion annually. Increasing employee engagement within your company has substantial implications for your organization’s growth, as well as recruitment and retention strategy, and it is paramount for creating a culture of workplace wellbeing.
On April 25, at Paradigm Group’s fourth annual Workplace Wellbeing Conference, over 200 Middle Tennessee business owners, HR leaders and executives gathered to discuss the impacts and importance of employee engagement as a part of a well-rounded wellbeing program. This interactive conference featured three keynote speakers who shared innovative solutions for building a workplace with healthier, happier, more engaged employees.
Cigna-HealthSpring’s senior medical director, Mike Edgeworth, MD, set the tone for the day by defining a successful wellbeing program as being top-down and multifaceted. An effective wellbeing program should be championed by management and should touch on a number of wellness categories, including career, social, financial, physical and community.
Keynote speaker Brad Shuck, EdD, professor and program director for Organizational Leadership and Learning at the University of Louisville, shared innovative research on the practice of engagement and its natural connection to wellness-driven outcomes.
His four principles of engagement are:
- Build your program gradually and strategically.
- Engagement should be reciprocal – give as much to your wellbeing program as you plan to gain from the program.
- Start from your organization’s “why” – build a program that resonates with your organization’s mission and vision.
- Prepare your programming proactively instead of reactively.
Finally, Mark Berman, MD, head of health for Better Therapeutics, a digital therapeutic startup, closed the program by discussing the ways digital health tools are changing how we manage health and wellness.
He noted that digital tools are still evolving rapidly but are here to stay, and they have the capacity to make large-scale impact. Active games, like Pokémon Go, for example, create real, societal-level changes in physical activity when they gain widespread global traction. The use of digital tools can support … but will not replace … an organization’s efforts to create a culture of workplace wellbeing. However, he noted, adding digital tools is an essential step in building a successful program.
So, how can we, as employers, improve engagement in our wellbeing programs?
Start with your leadership team.
Engagement is driven principally by leadership. Gallup’s U.S. research shows the actions of managers and leaders account for up to 70 percent variance in employee engagement scores. Business owners are increasingly beginning to focus on what managers are doing to create, or indeed destroy, employee engagement.
Build a healthy culture.
One natural place to begin building engagement and affinity with employees is through the strategic development of your company culture. A commitment to building a supportive, positive culture within your organization, especially if coming directly from the top, can be powerful strategy to begin boosting employee engagement.
Develop a strategic partner.
Subject matter experts can design and refine corporate wellbeing strategies. At Paradigm Group, we begin by working with your organization’s leadership to determine goals and evaluate current wellness offerings, then strategically build a program that fits your organization’s needs. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly Holt is a wellbeing strategy consultant with Nashville-based Paradigm Group, which is the largest independently owned benefits broker in Middle Tennessee. Paradigm Group’s mission is to help clients stay competitive, compliant, and in command of their employee benefits programs. The company partners with leading employers in Nashville’s business community, supporting organizations and their employees since 1996. For more information, go online to paradigmgroup.net