Kaitlin Howard is a researcher and writer producing insightful content across the healthcare revenue cycle. She has written and produced content for Zelis, Waystar, and Recondo Technology, as well as agencies. With a B.A. in English and Writing from University of Denver, Kaitlin stays current on market updates on claims management and healthcare payments, publishing a regular educational blog series on industry trends and Zelis offerings.
In a Dear Human Resources podcast, Jeanine Boyle, Chief People Officer at Zelis, joined Marie-Line Germain, Ph.D., to talk about HR’s latest nightmare — the Great Resignation — and the best strategy forward, an increase in virtual talent acquisition and on-boarding.
As always, we’ll discuss the highlights below, and you can listen to the full podcast here.
A bit of background
The great resignation
A phenomenon sparked by the pandemic, the great resignation refers to the higher-than-usual number of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs and the current increase of employee roles.
In 2021, just under 4M workers quit their job each month. This year, more than 40% of the worldwide workforce is considering quitting their jobs. The result? A highly competitive jobs market in which many companies are struggling to retain employees and attract new talent.
Since the return to a new “normal,” there has been a slight decrease, but the consensus remains. People are experiencing a lack of fulfillment when it comes to their careers, and as humans, when we don’t like our environment, we seek to change it.
Quiet quitting, the idea that millions of people are no longer going “above and beyond” at work, is very much real. Moreover, unless something changes, it’s only going to get worse.
U.S. employee engagement took yet another step back during the second quarter of 2022, with the proportion of engaged workers remaining at 32% and the proportion of actively disengaged increasing to 18%. This overall decline signals a growing disconnect between employers and their employees.
Employee retention best practices
Bottom line: Take exceptional care of every single one of your employees.
“At Zelis, we have a group of about 1,600 employees who work anywhere from a production to call center environment with professional and technical capabilities and nearly everything in between. And while we’re small in our workforce, we’re incredibly diverse, which means to treat everyone exceptionally well, we must be equally diverse in our offerings.” — Jeanine Boyle, Zelis Chief People Officer
Invest in high-quality leadership
One of the best employee retention strategies you can implement is to ensure your organization hires and develops leaders that are good at and enjoy managing people.
The old line “people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses,” is well-known for a reason.
A 2019 study found that 57% of employees quit their job due to poor management. And while a third do stick around, they spend most of their time fantasizing about how to get away from their manager.
Luckily, leadership skills can be created and nurtured. Consider taking management skills into account during your next round of performance reviews. Then, take it one step further to offer training and mentorship to managers at all levels.
Now is the time for patience.
Offer flexibility and autonomy
“With 1,600 employees comes 1,600 different stories. Maybe someone is struggling with their own health or the health of a family member. Maybe someone is anxious about coming into the office. Meeting everyone where they are is incredibly important.” — Jeanine Boyle, Zelis Chief People Officer
Work-life balance should be more than just a buzzword. Giving employees the opportunity for remote work and flexible scheduling is more important than ever, but that’s only the first step. Such policies are of little use if employees have more work to do than they can reasonably achieve, or if company culture nudges employees to check email well after business hours.
Have leaders regularly check-in with employees to ensure they have the resources they need to handle their workflow efficiently and without added stress. Consider cutting back on unnecessary meetings or implement one day per week where no meetings are held.
The final key to retention is nurturing the connectivity employees have with each other and within their communities.
Does your organization have different business resource groups where you can create diverse communities? Do you host and encourage employees to attend different training sessions on career development? Is time-off available for volunteer days? Does your organization support any non-profit causes? Do you advocate for your employees to do the same?
While there are immense benefits to remote work, you lose some of the built-in comradery that comes with working in an office. Long gone are the water cooler chats or lunch break gossip. So, your goal as an organization should be finding a way for that same network creation to occur.
Consider surveying your employees (and surveying regularly) to find out what they like and what they want.
For everyone involved, the on-boarding process can be long and tedious. There seems to be an endless amount of new software, protocols, guidelines, best practices, benefits, and logistics to consider. Now throw in the idea of doing it all digitally.
Virtual on-boarding differs immensely from traditional in-person on-boarding. As such, your organization needs to be prepared to learn on the fly. It’s important to continually ask, “What’s working for us?” What could we improve on?”
- Communicate exactly who your organization is right from the beginning — mission, values, vision, strategy, etc.
- Allow plenty of time for the new onb-oarding group to get to know one another.
- Mimic real-life orientation as much as you can. Break down that technology barrier.
- Don’t look at on-boarding as a one-off. Consider the first 90 to 120 days (about 4 months) as a whole.
- Introduce new hires to senior leaders and team members right away.
The wrap up
“During the pandemic, more than 90% of our employees worked remotely. Now that we’re coming out of it, about 75% work hybrid, meaning they’re in the office but not every day. Fifteen percent work fully remotely, meaning we either never or almost never see them in person. Ten percent come in very regularly, about five days a week. The success of a remote workforce relies on allowing each individual to decide what works best for them.” — Jeanine Boyle, Zelis Chief People Officer
Talent acquisition is of the highest strategic importance it has ever been.
You must invest and ensure your talent acquisition professionals have the tools, resources, and support they need to be successful. Find leaders that understand the importance of talent acquisition and know that retention is a shared responsibility. And last, but certainly not least, consider automation as an employee retention strategy.
Automating your manual processes and scaling resources doesn’t mean staff will lose jobs or job satisfaction. In fact, it means the opposite. Freed from the mundane, employees can work where they excel, improving productivity, and your bottom line.