Engaging healthy employees

A company culture that values workers leads to better outcomes

If you asked your employees to fill out an anonymous survey, focused on the level to which they feel valued and appreciated, would you have an educated guess as to what the data would reveal? If you have no idea, or if you believe it would be negative, then there is a significant disconnect between you and your employees. This divide is likely costing you considerable amounts of money and lost productivity. 

On the flip side, if your employees feel valued and appreciated, it’s likely you are already aware of their job satisfaction and your health-related costs and level of productivity positively reflect that caring culture.

Company culture is being analyzed more than ever because there is a direct link between employees who feel appreciated and valued and a company’s bottom line. These same employees work significantly harder than employees who feel that, when push comes to shove, they’re just another body that can be easily replaced.

An additional element to company culture is actually caring for your employees. Many companies lack a true sense of human connection between employer and employee. This key element is one in which companies who are consistently voted the best companies to work for are plugged into at a high level.

According to a 2013 Gallup study, less than a third of American workers report they are “engaged” at work. More than two-thirds report being “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.” Work engagement has a direct link to wellness, since job satisfaction is an important element of a person’s occupational health.

Furthermore, employees who are not engaged tend to report lower levels of job satisfaction and higher levels of stress. This results in higher health-related costs and lower productivity for the employer.

Conversely, companies that succeed in engaging their employees benefit in multiple ways, including:

 • Reduced health-related costs

 • Increased productivity

 • Increased employee communication/collaboration

 • Reduced absenteeism

 • Reduced presenteeism

 • Reduced employee stress

 • Reduced turnover

A 2012 study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that “almost all employees (93 percent) who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work and 88 percent reported feeling engaged.”

But half of all employees who reported not feeling valued at work planned to look for a new job within a year. This can be extremely expensive for employers since it costs, on average, one-third of an employee’s annual salary to replace him or her. 

An effective way to increase employee job satisfaction and work engagement is to use surveys to determine what is on the minds of employees. Anonymous surveys increase the likelihood that employees will provide honest feedback, which can then be used to focus on what is working and what is not, from the employees’ view.

Although it may be difficult for employers to hear specifics regarding employee dissatisfaction, savvy employers will use the information to improve job satisfaction and increase engagement. 

What better example to illustrate this point than last year’s Market Basket strike?

When Arthur T. Demoulas was removed from his position as CEO of the supermarket chain, employees were so upset they walked off the job, demanding his return. Just imagine: thousands of employees voluntarily going without their paychecks to stand up for their wealthy CEO.

Most employees working for the average American company would not go to that extreme. What was different in this case? The difference was that Arthur T. Demoulas had always gone above and beyond to make his employees feel valued. He established quality, one-on-one relationships with them, worked hard to give them good benefits and above-average pay, and even got to know their families and helped with their personal struggles. 

His gift of giving came back to him and his company many times over. His employees knew that he truly cared about them; therefore, they were much more engaged and worked harder. This, in turn, helped to grow the company and, more importantly, this positive company culture also resulted in happier customers. 

As difficult as the Market Basket situation was for all involved, it serves as a grand example of how companies should operate. Listen to and value your employees and they, in turn, will help you grow your company and keep your customers happy.

What can your company do to help its employees feel heard and valued? The answers will likely result in positive changes for you, your company and your customers, as well.

Carol Phillips is a Manchester-based health and wellness expert and author of “52 Simple Ways to Health.” She can be reached through CoachCarolPhillips.com.

Categories: Business Advice