Live from HR Tech 2015 — healthy talent is engaged talent

Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker, and HR expert with twenty years of experience working in leadership positions in the human resources industry. We’re thrilled to have her join us here on the Castlight Health blog to bring you in-the-moment coverage of the best insights and ah-hah moments from the 18th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition, better known as HR Tech 2015.


Healthy talent is engaged talent.

One of the most common words used at HR Tech 2015 is engagement. From the opening keynote speaker to HR leaders who spoke at concurrent sessions, the conference agenda was driven by practical and data-driven discussions on effective ways to optimize HR technology to increase employee engagement.

Great HR data is the key to unlocking employee engagement.

Marcus Buckingham launched the conference by sharing his insights into the changing landscape of worker performance and employee engagement. He offered an exciting and optimistic vision of HR where talent-related technology is optimized, integrated and serves the needs of dynamic team leaders. Human resources technology that only serves HR, or just perpetuates the status quo, has to go.

For example, Marcus suggests that the key to attracting and engaging healthy workers is to ensure the fundamental integrity of your performance review process. Most HR tools fail at removing biases and mitigating something called the “idiosyncratic rater effect,” which is the process where the team leader’s view of an employee is more about the manager that the worker.

HR leaders must work diligently to provide an accurate, holistic vision of a healthy organization by implementing HR tools that are addictive, sticky and provide data-driven insights so that team leaders can make business decisions.

Marcus believes that your job as HR leaders is to get reliable and valid data in the hands of empowered team leaders. Your leaders can then proactively address employee engagement where it matters most—in the trenches of your organization.

Optimize your HR technology to focus on what matters most.

Mondelez International is a Chicago-based global food company. Just like your business, they are relentlessly focused on attracting, engaging and retaining top talent from around the world – and keeping them healthy and productive.

I attended an enlightening session where Hassan Azar, the senior director of Global Compensation & Benefits, told his company’s story of how Mondelez partnered with Castlight Health to provide their employees with a simplified, one-stop-shop for all health and wellness needs.

“Talented people won’t spend hours rooting around for an explanation of benefits or healthcare information. We want our health and benefits technology to perform for our workers, and we needed to show value for our company.”

Mondelez adopted the total health management platform with employee engagement in mind. The centralized hub is transparent, personalized and allows employees to make fast and informed healthcare decisions. Additionally, Mondelez leveraged this new healthcare technology to enhance its company intranet and begin introducing mobile solutions to its workforce. The result has been improved employee engagement across the enterprise.

“Change is possible, and it is important to identify a technology partner who can also be a collaborator.”

Optimized HR tech helps you tell your story.

Finally, I was lucky enough to attend a session with Glenn Haskell, the benefits manager with New Balance Athletic Shoe.

Headquartered in Boston with manufacturing facilities in Maine and rural Massachusetts, the challenge for New Balance might be similar to your predicament: about half their workforce is made up of professional staff while the other half works in manufacturing and distribution.

How do you communicate with 50% of your workforce that doesn’t use a computer on a regular basis?

New Balance optimized its benefits platform with an understanding that they’ll always have two processes for employee communications: digital and paper. While some people might see a paper-based program as a “Little House on the Prairie” way of approaching employee communications, New Balance ensures HR systems integration on the backend so that open enrollment isn’t burdensome and errors are reduced.

Healthy and engaged talent doesn’t have time for open enrollment errors or duplicative benefits processes – whether it’s on the web or on paper.

Stay tuned for Day 2.

Tomorrow’s post will cover useful tips and sensible advice on how you can increase employee engagement and demonstrate ROI from an investment in HR technology.

If you are here at HR Tech, be sure to visit the Castlight booth #2120 where you can enter to win a $1000 vacation giveaway or get a “cure kit” on Tuesday morning to recover from last night’s conference parties.

See you there!