Technology to Improve Employee Engagement at GuideWell

Amy Ruth, SVP Human Services Group, Chief Human Resource Officer, Guidewell

Amy Ruth, SVP Human Services Group, Chief Human Resource Officer, Guidewell

It GuideWell, our mission is to help people and communities achieve better health. Serving our customers is an integral part of executing our mission and we know that in order to provide an exceptional customer experience, our team members must be fully engaged.

We know from research and experience that engaged employees to exhibit a high level of discretionary effort in their roles, they are advocates for the organization and its mission and they intend to stay because they are invested in the organization’s success.

"Following a refresh to our mission, vision and values a few years ago, it became clear we needed to bring our culture into alignment with our strategy"

At GuideWell, engagement is shared accountability across the enterprise from leadership to HR to managers to employees themselves. At the macro level, employee engagement provides a personal aspect to the top-down approach of setting strategy, ensuring the voice, opinions, and preferences of our workforce are represented in decision making. At the micro level, employee feedback helps managers understand their teams, identify areas they need to work on and keep engagement and the employee experience central in day-to-day activities.

Technology plays a critical role in gathering and analyzing data to drive improvements. To monitor our progress, we rely on an annual employee engagement survey to collect feedback from employees about their experience at GuideWell. They also have the ability to share their voice by leaving open-ended comments, of which we receive many. Some point us to improvements; others are appreciative in nature. We see these comments as another sign of engagement.

The engagement has been a strong part of our culture for decades. Today, we conduct the survey using a third-party administrator to ensure employee confidence that their feedback is anonymous. With strong response rates of nearly 80 percent over the past several years, its clear team members see value in this approach. In turn, we’re confident the results we see are representative.

Advancements in survey capabilities, technology and analytics allow us to swiftly analyze thousands of data points and quickly answer critical questions such as where to focus our attention, how our engagement efforts are having an impact, and where we have specific opportunities such as development, total rewards and communication. This significantly reduces the time from survey submission to results communication to action planning and execution.

Using a third-party allows us more flexibility to analyze results and apply advanced analytics. First, since responses are masked, we’re able to associate the feedback with specific pre-defined demographics such as tenure, performance level, region, gender, job, and family. Using analytics, we can look at the drivers of engagement and the things that are most important to specific populations. Text analytics allows us to synthesize thousands of comments and look for common themes. Predictive analytics enables us to identify engagement attributes of employees who have left so we can see where in our organization we have pockets of employees who are at risk for leaving.

Upon completing the survey, team members are instantly provided with a personalized report about their engagement with suggestions on how they can increase engagement in areas they made need help with based on their responses. We’ve received very positive feedback from team members about the usefulness of this report and have found many employees use this to guide one-on-one conversations with their leader.

Within weeks of the survey closing, results are cascaded throughout the organization and leaders work with their teams to identify opportunities for improvement. Enterprise-wide areas of focus are also established to address common opportunities across GuideWell that can be targeted over the following year.

Over the past several years this process has prompted programmatic changes and the development of new tactics in areas related to transforming culture, communication,trust in leadership and benefits enhancements.

Following a refresh to our mission, vision and values a few years ago, it became clear we needed to bring our culture into alignment with our strategy. This led to an enterprise-wide, ongoing initiative we call Be Well. Work Well. Guide Well. The focus on culture has led to employee forums on topics such as race and religion, and we have a number of employee resource groups called GuideWell Communities to help us better understand and connect with the diverse culture we serve in Florida.

Another area focus in recent years has been accessing information and trust in our leadership. In the digital age, our employees desire information at their fingertips. We developed Ask HR, an email address where employees can ask questions and get quick answers to a broad range of topics. The focus on trust in leadership has led to several changes in the way we communicate with employees. Small-group leadership chats, emails from leaders, monthly live blogs with the CEO and an annual town hall have helped to increase access to leaders while showing employees where they fit into the company’s strategy.

Perhaps one of the biggest initiatives we’ve undertaken as a result of the feedback we’ve received from employees has been improvements to our benefit offerings. To remain competitive in the labor market we must ensure our benefits package meets the needs of our workforce. Using qualitative feedback provided by employees on the survey, we’ve introduced enhancements such as six weeks of paid parental leave for new parents,a remote work policy that allows employees more flexibility in their work arrangements and a new reward and recognition program that includes a social networking platform where employees can see what their peers are working on and being recognized for. Employees also asked for individualized assistance with benefits during the open enrollment, resulting in our “Alex” tool that walks them through the decision-making process based on their individual circumstances. Additionally, in response to a desire for development, we’ve implemented an online learning platform with a broad catalog of curriculums aligned to employee and leadership competencies.

As the future of work unfolds, we will continue to rely on innovative technologies to perceive shifts in employee expectations and understand how we can meet them.

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