Employee engagement—the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals—continues to be a hot topic these days. In practical terms, engaged employees are willing to put in the extra hours, mentor others, and go above and beyond (even when the boss isn’t watching) because they are invested in the success of the organization and feel an emotional attachment to their work.
HR professionals and top-level leadership recognize the impact engagement has on the bottom line. With an improving labor market and increasingly diverse workforce, organizations are pulling out all the stops and looking for ways to attract, retain, and engage their employees.
But, let’s be real. Employee engagement isn’t just about wanting your employees to feel warm and fuzzy when they think about their jobs. Employers are keen on engagement because it leads to tangible improvements in your business. Multiple studies have shown that engaged employees are more productive, absent less frequently, inclined to stay at their jobs longer, and have fewer safety incidences. Furthermore, research from Gallup shows that companies with highly engaged workers outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. I could go on, but you get the picture—an engaged workforce is good for everyone.
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to employee engagement. And, it may seem like a vague, intimidating notion to tackle. But engaging your employees may be easier than you think. Look no further than your benefits program. Not convinced that benefits are the solution? Consider this finding from a 2014 MetLife study* (and remember, Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce): 56% of Millennials said that benefits played an important role in the company they chose to work for. Furthermore, 63% of Millennials said benefits are an important reason why they stay with their current employer—a higher score than any other generation.
We’ve outlined some of the ways your benefits program can help improve engagement at your company, and why benefits are an important part of the engagement equation.
When Doug Conant became CEO of Campbell Soup Company in 2001, his mission of “Inspiring Trust” became the cornerstone of turning the company around. What happened when he “inspired trust” at Campbell Soup? Shareholder returns were in the top tier of the global food industry, and the company saw some of the highest employee engagement scores in the Fortune 500. When your employees trust that you’re doing right by them, you can trust that they’ll do right by you. A win-win for everyone.
But employers still have work to do! The 2014 Metlife study shows:
As you can see, benefits play a HUGE role in attracting and retaining employees. And it’s important to think about choice and personalization in your benefits program, since employees continue to place more value on these traits.
Adding a behavioral health program or financial planning component to your wellness program shows employees you want them to be well in all aspects of their lives. Remember: When employees are less stressed about their personal lives, they’re able to bring their best effort to the workplace. The National Business Group on Health sums it up nicely: “Much like investments in training, development, and safety, employee well-being can play an important role in deploying the most competitive, productive, and efficient workforce possible.”
We know your company invests a ton of time, energy, and financial resources to create your benefits package, and with good reason! Benefits are more important now than ever. How you communicate about benefits to your employees is the final piece of the puzzle, so don’t overlook this equally important step. Get a leg up on your employee benefits communications with our new strategy guide. And if you’d like additional help engaging your employees, give us a shout. We can provide as much support as you need to bring awareness to your benefits and help you create a healthy, happy workforce.
*Employee Benefit Trends Study, MetLife, 2014
Jessica Brady, VP Senior Consultant, draws upon her extensive benefits expertise and communications experience to create winning communications strategies for her clients.