This past year, businesses of every size have had to reevaluate their priorities to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many were forced to decide how their approach to company culture and engagement were going to be handled after so many new regulations, such as working remotely or the elimination of in-person company events, were put into place. Some companies found a way to double down on their existing approach while others pressed pause on their efforts. However, when these adjustments were made, no one knew how long these efforts or lack thereof would be in place. Between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, political climate, economy and unrest in communities, employee engagement in the workplace has proven to fluctuate like never before.
“Employee engagement has been a steady metric without sharp ups and downs since Gallup began tracking it in 2000, with the exception of 2020,” according to a recent Gallup survey. “The reported fluctuations in engagement were remarkable, In early May, employee engagement advanced to a new high of 38% in the U.S. And then, following the killing of George Floyd in late May and subsequent protests and riots, the percentage of engaged employees at work dropped to 31% as measured from June 1st to the 14th.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, Signature Performance knew it was imperative to find a healthy balance of transparency, empathy, and communication to be effective leaders, not just in the healthcare industry but to each and every one of our Associates. Our company culture has always been important to us. We strive to be known as a great place to work who values our Associates and our collective mission to serve the healthcare industry.
Here are a few ways that Signature Performance has been introducing flexibility into our business model while doubling down on our commitment to provide our Associates with an unmatched company culture.
Increased Internal Communication Efforts
With so much information about COVID-19 on the different news outlets the last few months, especially now that there is a vaccine, clear and concise communication has proven to be key to ensuring that our Associates not only feel connected to the company and how we have been proactive about preventing the spread of COVID-19, but that they feel genuinely heard. By implementing an active voice and showing what steps our organization is taking to ensure continued performance has served Signature well. That’s why we have made it an internal responsibility from the start to share weekly organizational updates about COVID-19 with our Associates. It’s a communication effort that aligns our actions and strengthens our resolve.
Support Engagement Efforts with New Resources
We knew it was important to not only ensure that our Associates continue to get the most factual information and resources possible during this heightened time of concern, but we also wanted to ensure that they had the opportunity to fully engage and use their talents and strengths every day at work as things, such as working remotely, continue to be the norm. Over the last few months, our team has published a number of internal and external resources that have helped guide our Associates as they continue to navigate their priorities and to-do lists remotely.
Some of the tips we have provided include, maintaining a regular morning routine, establishing a designated work space, taking scheduled breaks, set timers and following calendars to stay productive. By ensuring that our Associates have what they need in order to do their job effectively and efficiently, our team members can continue to feel connected to our mission of improving the health of our clients’ business and making the lives of those we work with better.
Reimagine Company Events
One of our biggest adjustments at Signature Performance was reimagining how certain yearly Associate engagement events could be held without violating CDC guidelines. Unfortunately, some events simply had to be put on hold. However, after some serious brainstorming, constructing an innovative drive-thru layout and reiterating CDC guidelines to our Associates, our team was able to host our beloved Spirit Week event. Being able to host this event, despite the many changes, was our way of being able to foster employee engagement outside of sending an email or survey. It was important for our Associates to know that even though 2020 has been full of uncertainty at times, we are appreciative of their work and their unique talents that make what we do at Signature Performance possible.
When Company Culture is Not Prioritized
When company culture takes a back seat in the workplace, the results are usually detrimental. Associate engagement and performance undeniably suffers. Depending on the severity of the situation, a company can even find itself short staffed. Previous reports published by Gallup have shown that Associate engagement is a consistent predictor of many important organizational outcomes.
According to the recent Gallup survey, the percentage of workers who are “actively disengaged” those who have unfavorable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues remains the same at 13%. The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged workers from mid-July to the end of September is now 2.8-to-1, down slightly from a 3.1-to-1 ratio in early July.
“Overall levels of engagement and average growth in engagement were not compromised for organizations implementing employee engagement measures and interventions during COVID-19. Taken together with the broader national employee engagement trends, fluctuations in employee engagement should be considered a short-term phenomenon. Even still, acting on employee engagement insights can bring clarity to uncertain times, making this more important than ever,” Gallup reported.
Our Signature Way culture and a consistent investment in the growth, development and empowerment of our Associates allows us to work as a united team from anywhere while we continue to serve our clients’ in the center of the healthcare industry with a unique comprehension of the largest problems both payers and providers face today.
Mark Mathia is the Chief Experience Officer at Signature Performance Inc., in Omaha, NE. Mathia is also a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. Signature Performance is an industry leader in reducing healthcare administration costs for private and public healthcare sectors. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.