A Volatile Market Creates a Need to Re-Focus.
A large healthcare management solution business empowers and advances the healthcare system by working with payers to reduce costs and improve health outcomes. The company saves healthcare payers, government programs, and at-risk-organizations billions of dollars annually through its industry-leading technology, analytics, and engagement solutions. It also minimizes the concern and expense of fraud, misuse, and overpayment—all common concerns in the healthcare market.
The company grew easily for forty years and experienced incremental success. But leadership knew they needed to create a multi-year strategy that focused on not only the core business but emerging markets to ensure they could maintain a high level of performance and growth through upcoming market evolutions.
Across the organization, business processes weren’t optimized or adapted effectively. And while the workforce encompassed talent and skill to get the job done, the internal matrix’s and culture didn’t focus on driving process efficiency, involvement across roles in the company’s success, or open access and entryways to top-level leadership and executives. So, the company set out to evolve itself from the inside out.
The organization hired a few new executives and placed a large focus on culture with the hopes of empowering the workforce to not only understand the new vision and journey of the organization but to be a part in helping it achieve its goals.
The Plan Sets in Motion.
The organization called Workforce Science Associates (WSA), which is founded by former Kenexa leadership, a large HCM organization that was purchased by IBM in 2013. The organization had formerly partnered with this same leadership, so it was comfortable with its approach, consulting, and solutions for advancing the employee experience.
Efforts started with an annual employee engagement survey to gain insight into current behaviors, thoughts, and drivers of the organizations’ workforce. The first annual survey revealed low scores in both priority items, i.e., recognition and future vision. Leadership developed an effective action planning program that increased these scores by 4 to 5 percentage points over the course of the next year.
The second annual employee survey included growth and development, and communication as priority items—and both, again, came in low. However, leadership now knew the effectiveness of a strategic action planning process and was again able to increase scores by 2 to 3 percentage points over the next year.
A critical component to increasing scores was the leadership and executive team making engagement and culture a priority for all—and leading by example. The organization created Employee Engagement Action Teams, who were in charge of communicating and leading teams through the action planning process, and who had open-door access to executives. In combination with these efforts, the organization was also committed to sending out pulse surveys to measure and monitor impact and progress, so leadership always had their thumb on the pulse of the workforce as it progressed.
Additionally, leaders who improved scores were rewarded with an invite to an outing with executives where priorities were shared and discussed. This activity became a huge motivator for leaders and managers across the workforce to focus on engagement and culture as top priorities.
One Simple Question Leads to an Even Bigger Change.
To continue progress, the following year the organization posed a simple question without any explanation:
“Are you in the volunteer army?”
Results and responses were astounding and sent the message to Leadership that they were onto something. The organization began focusing on 4 Change Principles with the belief that they were moving toward something powerful and invited a platform of 40 people to participate in the efforts of the Volunteer Army. Essentially, the Volunteer Army is a tool, the executive team lays out the vision for the organization and the Volunteer Army determines how it will get there and then acts.
The volunteer army empowers employees to jump from sustaining organization efforts to transforming organization efforts with ease. The opportunity to not only know the vision but to be able to contribute based on their talents and interests has highly engaged folks.
Additionally, the army provides exposure and access to executives, so they see their efforts have a direct line-of-sight to leadership, which morale, recognition, and willingness to go the extra mile.
This started a movement within the organization that began to push the needle more and more toward greatness.
Since the introduction of the volunteer army and the combination of strategies with workforce engagement and organizational transformation, scores are increasing from 2 to over six points per year and only getting better.
Engagement for those employees who are part of the Volunteer Army was almost ten points higher than those who weren’t in the first year, and over five points higher in the second year, beating overall company engagement by 4-5 points and 3-4 points respectively.
Likewise, the organization always had great customer service levels but started to notice a corresponding increase in customer engagement that paralleled with internal engagement—solidifying an inside-out-approach that worked.
Executive alignment and engagement are two key factors in any engagement effort that will boost success almost guaranteed. The organization had this on every level and it was a critical part of achieving its goals and ensuring the volunteer army was successful. Participation is at an all-time high because employees know their voices are being heard, the action is being taken and feedback is a serious component of moving the needle.