Crunching the numbers

According to a recent Gallup poll of almost 50,000 workplaces, those with the highest levels of employee engagement outperformed others on customer ratings, profitability and productivity.  Similarly, an Aflac study from 2013 revealed that 66 percent of employees enrolled in worksite wellness programs were extremely or very satisfied with their job. Now, when taken in comparison to the 53 percent of employees whose companies didn’t offer wellness programs, it’s easy to see how such programs make a real difference.

Improving engagement

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment or investment that an employee has in his or her work and to the goals of the organization. A fully engaged-employee is more likely to work additional hours when necessary, seek longer-term solutions to challenges or actively seek greater efficiencies.

As a result, employers have started identifying positive programs i.e. “best practices” that can increase employee engagement in their organizations. Increased employee engagement in the currently fairly saturated employment economy can be a key factor in retaining talented employees in such a competitive hiring market.

Where to begin

Examining best practices in talent management, employee recognition, wellness programs and employee development can help employers hone in on solutions that will be most effective in meeting organizational goals. For example, putting in place best practices in talent management can improve a job candidate’s first impression of a company, help make the transition to a new job more comfortable and can accelerate the learning curve. Additionally, effective orientation to the company can seamlessly transition into better employee recognition and development.

When assessing best practices, it is important for an employer to understand its workforce, the organization’s culture and industry factors.”

Best practices in wellness initiatives can take a more holistic approach by providing employees with enhanced life tools such as medical screenings, smoking cessation programs, financial wellness educational programs, employee assistance programs and now even caregiver resources. These programs have been shown to boast a return on investment of $3 for every $1 spent. Employee wellness translates into organizational wellness through greater productivity, reduced absences and lower health care costs.

Accepting feedback

Employee engagement software can help employers obtain timely feedback about what they are doing well and what they could do better, and identifying transitions as they occur over time. Connecting with employees beyond the annual performance review and acting on their feedback can transform them into internal and external advocates.

When assessing best practices, it is important for an employer to understand its workforce, the organization’s culture and industry factors. While best practices may be effective in some environments, there are very few one-size-fits-all solutions. However, the proper alignment between employee engagement best practices and an organization’s valued staff can pay dividends for years to come.