Employee Engagement Stagnant

An AonHewitt study of more than 3,100 organizations representing 9.7 million employees globally, titled 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement shows that 58% of respondents were engaged in 2011, just a slight increase from 56 % in 2010.

Here are some of the other key findings and analysis from the study as highlighted in the Executive Summary:

  • Four employees out of 10 employees are not engaged worldwide. Engagement level by region varies. While almost 58% of employees globally are considered in the engaged status, 42% percent of employees are somewhat or completely disengaged.
  • Employees’ motivation to stay and exert extra effort seems to fall short. While engagement levels are relatively stable, 2012 will be a challenging year for retention as employees seek new opportunities outside their organization as a result of limited career development and advancement opportunities.
  • Some engagement drivers improved, but not the ones that matter most. Across all possible engagement drivers examined, there was noteworthy improvement in Business Unit Leadership, HR Practices and Brand Alignment – but none of these areas showed up consistently as a top driver of engagement.

Communications Drive Employee Engagement

The survey finds one of the top drivers of employee engagement to be communication. Effective and engaging communication impacts employees on rationally, emotionally and behaviorally relevant levels. According to Oehler:

“Corporate communications is the primary connection point between the majority of employees and executive leadership. We saw that employee perceptions of communication declined in 2011.  As companies recovered from the recession, they likely became less focused on clear and consistent communication from leaders.  Messages usually break down at the mid-management or immediate manager level so it is important for the leaders to continue to provide clear messages about business objectives, challenges and what is required of employees.”

Benefits Communications Drive Participation

Benefits communication strategist Jennifer Benz of Benz Communications points out that:

“Reminding employees about benefits once a year is not enough to get them actively engaged in decisions about their health and financial wellbeing. The key to capturing employees’ attention is feeding them bite-sized chunks of information year round. Social media is the perfect tool for simple, ongoing, two-way communication  to get them actively engaged in decisions about their health and financial wellbeing.”

5 Social Media Tools That Drive Benefits Engagement

 of Benefits Pro highlights the five best social media tools that companies can utilize to for their benefits communication. Not only can companies do this on their own, but benefit providers can offer support here as a value-added tactic.

Here are some ideas of how to use Social Media to improve engagement and drive benefit programs.

1. Blogs

Blogs make it easy to create web content and give readers the opportunity to respond quickly and dialog.  Adding a blog to your benefits website or intranet can be useful to post reminders, new features and articles, including tips to help employees get the most from their benefits. Moderating is easy since no comments are posted until reviewed.

2. Microblogs

Twitter and Yammer and others let you post short updates at will—both pre-scheduled and ad hoc—and enable more interactivity than a traditional blog. Your Twitter feed can be imported into your benefits website or intranet to keep them fresh. At Twitter.com/BenefitsTip, Benz Communications provides benefits content that can be re-tweeted, copied or re-purposed.

3. Podcasts/Videos

These can be played on employees’ computers or mobile devices. Suggested uses include:

  • Video of your CEO speaking about a new wellness program or upcoming benefits change.
  • Video podcasts of enrollment meetings and new hire orientations – helpful for remote employees.
  • A series on benefits basics,  paired with an online forum for questions.
  • A contest for the best two-minute employee-created video about health care, wellness, etc., since hearing messages from their colleagues encourages employees to act.
  • Interviews with benefits team members and brief explanations of benefits offerings.

4. Social Networks

Peer influence and support boost engagement and achievement.Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks that connect individuals around interests and activities can be powerful tools for distributing information and ideas. Suggestions:

  • Build an internal social network to connect employees interested in similar wellness topics.
  • Create a Facebook page for your wellness program, integrated with your blog and/or Twitter feed —especially if you’re offering online classes or events where frequent updates and information can be shared and family members can participate.

5. User Forums

Moderated online discussions focused around a specific topic can encourage employees (and your benefits team) to exchange ideas and answer each other’s questions about how to get the most from your programs. Structuring the forum by benefit plan makes the information easy to navigate. User forums are usually most effective at organizations that use online discussions for other topics. And since they require more monitoring than some other channels.

Snap! principle of Employee Benefits engagement:

Ongoing, systematic communications are the key to increasing engagement