No Crystal Ball Necessary – Here’s What Employees are Thinking, but Not Saying
Posted on Monday, April 2, 2018 by Rae Shanahan
They face distractions with drama, with stress, with lack of empathy in the workplace, and with just plain life.
But, as HR pros, it falls to us to help the organization find solutions that nudge employees to higher engagement and better productivity, which is a challenge if we don’t know exactly what’s on their minds.
Employees aren’t all feeling the same pain points — or even operating at the same level of engagement. But there are some important themes to be aware of, and understanding them can create the basis for a plan of action. Our 5 Things Your Employees Aren’t Telling You digs into the most common perspectives that live just below the surface.
Here’s an overview of what we found:
Benefits are almost a complete mystery. Despite the vast amounts of money companies spend on benefits, employees can’t adequately appreciate them because they really don’t understand them. One of the issues is that the people who are responsible for delivering the benefits are benefits experts, and it’s often hard for us to put ourselves in the shoes of our consumers. We need to find a better way.
Wellness doesn’t really grab people. Those who are inclined, participate, and the rest sit on the sidelines. They might not be 100% idle, but they are not necessarily doing anything actively to improve their health. Recent rulings are changing how employers will need to operate in this space, so understanding how employees are thinking about and interacting with wellness programs is important at this crossroad.
Cost is key. We’ve asked employees to be educated consumers, and they want better optics into how much their benefits options cost. But, payroll deductions are just one part of the equation. Simply giving information on cost may lead to people choosing options that aren’t the best fit in terms of their overall financial situation, their risk tolerance, and their physical and emotional state. The more sophisticated we expect employees to be in terms of cost, the better the tools we need to provide them.
The grass seems greener. It’s no secret that many employees are either considering leaving their jobs or are actively seeking other employment. As the economy grows and adds new opportunities, people are thinking seriously about other options. However, with a more fluid workforce, the possibility is that the person you’re offboarding next week might want to return some day — and you might want them. Actively preparing for “boomerang” employees should be on your to-do list.
Happiness is just skin deep. Some of your employees have checked out. Sure, they’re still showing up to work and collecting that paycheck, but their productivity and impact isn’t what it used to be. Just because someone looks happy and engaged doesn’t mean they actually are. Maybe instead of creating engagement, your organization has mistakenly been fostering entitlement. It may be time to really take a more critical look at engagement strategies.
Employees aren’t likely to give voice to any of these five things, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a significant impact on your organization. Understanding there’s more going on than might meet the eye is the first step in addressing some of these fundamental issues.
Want to learn more about what your employees aren’t telling you?