Mental and physical health is front and center as a result of the pandemic. COVID-19 has exposed the many problems of inequity and access that plague US health care. Although many employers offer what they consider to be generous health coverage — and many have expanded their mental health offerings in response to the psychosocial strains of the pandemic — substantial challenges remain.
The important task of creating a healthier workforce needs to start with a fundamental shift in how companies think about employee health. As we emerge from a year that’s upended the way many of us think about and approach work, it’s time to focus not just on the health of our business but also the health of our employees — one cannot exist without the other.
Approach employee health like customer satisfaction
Currently, there is a tendency to think of employee health as just an HR and benefits issue, evidenced in the little time and attention employee health gets from CEOs, which often then gets delegated to benefits people and sometimes outsourced to benefits administrators and consultants. Given the economic and strategic importance of employee health, this lack of priority seems like a profound mistake.
Much like when customer loyalty and satisfaction became recognized as key drivers of company performance and became a priority of senior management, employee health needs to be regularly on senior leadership and board of directors’ agendas.
When companies became serious about improving customer service and loyalty, they set goals for these outcomes, measured them, and were willing to invest money — in a cost-effective way — to improve the customer experience. This is a great outline for how to approach employee behavioral and physical health.
The true cost of employer-paid health insurance
There is currently an overwhelming discussion of and emphasis on health insurance costs. Although costs are important, they cannot be the sole criterion by which employers assess their healthcare performance and perhaps not even the most important indicator. A healthy workforce misses fewer workdays, turns over less frequently, and is more productive.
As Jeff Immelt, the former CEO of General Electric, told me, the company was spending $3 billion a year on health benefits, and until the recession of 2008, he was giving that spend almost no attention, consistent with my observation that employee health has typically not been a top management priority. When Immelt decided that $3 billion was too large to not prioritize and engaged more actively with employee health and its costs, GE began to take health much more seriously and improved employee health while cutting expenses.
How to build a culture of health
Building a culture of health is no different from what is required to build a culture of innovation or customer service and loyalty.
First, measure behavioral and physical health. Then you have to hold health-relevant vendors, such as benefits administrators, healthcare providers and organizational leaders, accountable for ensuring improvement on these measures over time. As the quality movement and management experience illustrate, what is measured gets attention and improves, and what isn’t measured tends to get ignored and worse.
Second, appoint a Chief Health Officer, someone responsible for overseeing, coordinating and improving employee health. When companies get serious about diversity, equity and inclusion, they appoint an individual to oversee these initiatives. To build a culture of health, take those same steps. It will occur more readily if there’s someone appointed with the explicit job of ensuring that physical and mental health becomes a priority in the organization’s culture.
And third, building a culture of health requires understanding the dimensions of work such as work hours, job autonomy and the other things that affect employee health. The more employers understand what affects health, the better able they can create health-promoting work arrangements.
The business imperative of employee wellbeing
Employers spend a fortune on employee health — large employers estimate they spent about $15,000 on benefits of each of their employees in 2020. But only when it’s made a business priority, and implemented effectively, will companies see the benefits of their investment across multiple dimensions.
In a world where companies are increasingly focused on sustainability and are called to report their sustainability performance, human sustainability — represented by employee health and wellbeing — is an integral part of building a sustainable company.
Pragmatically, employee health is important because of its economic impact on company performance and its societal-level economic consequences. The connections between work and health have been explored for decades. In a 2020 study I conducted with colleagues from the Gallup organization, self-reported health was positively correlated with job satisfaction and employee engagement and negatively related to the number of missed workdays, stress and burnout.
As a matter of moral values, we should not have workplaces creating so much stress and depression that people are literally putting their health at risk to earn a living. Employers need to change their mindsets about employee health, making it a strategic priority and undertaking decisions that create workplaces that foster total worker health.
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Citadele: Investing in a culture of learning and individual performance management
Citadele Group is an innovative, full-service financial group for both private individuals and companies. The Group offers a complete portfolio of banking, financial and private capital management services in the Baltic states. Citadele’s mission is to provide more opportunities to its clients by redefining modern banking – it aims to change the meaning of current financial business with innovations and an outstanding client experience beyond the formal frame. With the goal of becoming the Baltic banking champion, Citadele offers multiple career paths and a variety of professional development opportunities for all its employees. Our new path towards ambitious and modern goals also demands a change within our employees’ learning and performance tracking model. Improved tools and solutions are needed to streamline Citadele’s employee progression processes across 37 offices. Why Cornerstone? Recognising that employees are its most valuable asset, Citadele made sure that employees are the top priority in the process of change. Bearing this in mind, Citadele had three key requirements during the search for its talent management solution: the system needed to be easy-to-use; it needed to have the option to involve employees in individual goal-setting; and it needed to track feedback on an ongoing basis and provide tracking for necessary compliance training. The system also needed to feature engaging and motivating content to help Citadele boost talent retention rates. After considering 20 other vendors, Citadele chose Cornerstone OnDemand as it ticked all the required boxes in terms of being both an established SaaS platform and a well-developed system that adhered to all of Citadele’s needs. After considering 20 other vendors, Citadele chose Cornerstone OnDemand as it ticked all the required boxes in terms of being both an established SaaS platform and a well-developed system that adhered to all of Citadele’s needs. The Results Increased productivity. Since implementing Cornerstone Performance, Citadele has seen an improvement in its employees’ performance. The simplified goal-setting, monitoring and continuous feedback system means that employees feel more confident and more motivated at work. That in turn has led to increased productivity levels. According to Citadele’s recent feedback survey, more than 95% of employees expressed satisfaction with the system. Streamlined performance processes. Before Cornerstone, all records regarding employees’ career, training, obligatory certifications and performance appraisals had to be integrated manually. With Cornerstone Performance, managers now receive detailed analytics at the click of a button, meaning that employee goals, training activities and tracking have become optimised and tailored to employees’ needs. Enhanced employer reputation. Citadele strives for the status of best employer in the Baltic region. Partnering with Cornerstone has helped Citadele to attract and retain even more talent in the industry Full compliance visibility. Compliance training was one of the key requirements for Citadele. Since implementing the Cornerstone e-learning module, the company is now confident that all its employees have the necessary training to meet the industry’s compliance requirements. Citadele is also able to successfully track completions in order to meet deadlines. Motivation and passion for learning. Implementing Cornerstone Performance has helped Citadele to significantly raise the ambition and motivation of its employees. Necessary changes in individual performance management have pushed Citadele forward regarding its learning culture. Since then, the company has selected Cornerstone’s e-learning as its next module, in addition to the already launched Cornerstone’s Performance Appraisal System. This will allow each employee to choose their most convenient way to learn, integrating learning into their everyday work.
Announcing the Convergence 2021 featured speakers: Dan Levy and Malala Yousafzai
We’re counting down the days to Cornerstone Convergence 2021. Get ready to join over 20,000 talent professionals on November 16-17 from the comfort of your laptop at this 100% virtual and completely free event. There’s so much to look forward to at this year’s event, but we’re especially excited to announce this year's special guest speakers, Dan Levy and Malala Yousafzai! Levy is an Emmy® Award-winning writer, actor, director and producer best known for his work on Schitt’s Creek. And Malala is the Co-Founder of Malala Fund, a recent Oxford graduate and a Nobel Prize laureate. To get you even more excited, here are two previews of their can't-miss Convergence sessions. Meeting the Moment with Dan Levy We give rise to our greatest work when we embrace the strengths that lie in our individuality and build a shared vision for something better. Join this session to hear Dan Levy share his personal journey of using creativity to overcome obstacles and Meet the Moment. Register to see Dan Levy A Moment with Malala What does it take to move forward in the face of adversity? To pursue a higher purpose, in spite of targeted violent backlash? When Pakistani education activist, Malala Yousafzai was just 15 she learned the answers to these questions as she recovered from an assassination attempt by the Taliban. Join this session to hear Malala share her story of personal resilience and collective purpose in driving global education for girls everywhere. Register to see Malala Even more excitement at Convergence 2021 The next year of work will be all about turning change into opportunities for everyone. Check out a sneak preview of just a few Convergence speakers and informative breakout sessions. Bold Thinkers Dealing with Microaggressions and Healing from Workplace Trauma – Featuring Minda Harts, CEO of The Memo LLC More Bold Thinker sessions led by Jason Lauritsen, Laurie Ruettimann, David Wilson, Josh Bersin and others. Customer Spotlights Delivering skills-first careers powered by AI – From Deutsche Post DHL and Alstom More strategies, tips and advice from the Cornerstone and Saba community in our Customer Spotlight track, featuring Dell Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, Nespresso, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and more. The Content Channel The World Premiere of Seat at the Table – A Cornerstone Original Series Other sessions focused on leading innovations in learning content from top providers such as Cornerstone Studios, TED, ITProTV and Mind Tools. Daily Keynotes Conversations with industry luminaries and Cornerstone executives about reimagining work and Cornerstone’s vision for leading the way. Join us at Convergence and Meet the Moment Convergence 2021 is your opportunity to get inspired, find “ah-ha” moments, connect with your peers and explore the future of work (and your role in it). As a talent leader, you're connecting what your people need to your organization's evolving goals so everyone thrives in this moment. We’ll see you there!
CGL: Improving learning and performance capability through advanced digital solutions
Communities often need help when their quality of life is affected by crime. Homelessness, drugs, alcohol and domestic abuse all have an impact on the local area and this is where the CGL (Change, Grow, Live – formerly known as CRI) steps in. Every year, more than 120,000 people across England and Wales receive assistance to get back on their feet. At CGL, full-time staff and volunteers work to encourage and motivate people to take control of their lives. CGL now has more than 3,000 staff and 1,000 volunteers in more than 160 regional centers. With so many employees across a wide region, keeping track of their progress was proving to be difficult. Previously, there were instances where notes were lost, handwriting was illegible, copies were not being shared, and many of the action points from the meetings were missed. CGL knew they had to address this by empowering its employees and volunteers by implementing a unified talent management solution. Why Cornerstone To overcome its reliance on paper-based records, CGL decided it had to go digital. It chose the talent management tools from Cornerstone OnDemand, selecting Cornerstone Learning and Cornerstone Performance solutions. The solutions enabled CGL to standardise its recordkeeping across the organisation. What happened in one office needed to be replicated in another, even if it is hundreds of miles away. So, for the first time, the performance management process was exactly the same across the country. Through Cornerstone, CGL now has the ability to deliver, track, view and report on all learning and development progress across the organisation. In turn, it brings unity and consistency to all its training modules. Furthermore, through Cornerstone’s cloud-based talent management software, CGL was able to empower its employees and volunteers through learning and development, as well as foster a more aligned performance management process throughout the organisation. The sharing of best practices developed a powerful team of employees and volunteers that could provide the best possible service to those that CGL works with. Results Created central access to learning. Cornerstone has provided CGL with central access to learning and development from any device. It has revolutionised the way that CGL is able to quality assure and monitor both individual and overall service performance. Improved Customer satisfaction. Sandra Eden, Development Manager at CGL in the Midlands, said “Quality performance reviews contribute to positive outcomes and achievements, improved staff engagement and customer and stakeholder satisfaction. The quantitative and qualitative detail driving everything that we do is now easily accessible at the click of a button.” Standardised performance reviews. CGL constructed a thorough marketing plan to prepare for the roll out of the new system across its workforce. With tailored emails outlining clear benefits – both from a line manager’s perspective and frontline perspective, uptake in the first week was 15 percent. So far, just a few months after rolling out the service, 1,791 performance reviews have been created across CGL. Increased employee and volunteer engagement. The newly introduced Welcome Page on the training site has had an immediate impact. An internal Stonewall diversity survey generated only 17 respondents prior to using Cornerstone; three days after a message and link were posted on the new hosting site, the number of respondents rose to 82 – a 482 percent increase. Kevin Crowley, Executive Director – Quality, Governance and Innovation at CGL values the visibility he has over the organisation. He said, “Using Cornerstone to bring performance development online has really given us a powerful tool to more closely align learning with performance and ensure our staff has the necessary skills and knowledge to provide the best possible service to those we work with. We have been able to build up a national picture of our strengths, and can identify and share good practice to ensure continuous improvement across the organisation.”