HR Tech takeaway – the ROI of employee engagement is retention

Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker, and HR expert with twenty years of experience working in leadership positions in the human resources industry. We are 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.

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New HR technology delivers better outcomes.

Yesterday, I wrote that HR Tech 2015 is obsessed with employee engagement. The theme of the second day? Retention, retention, and more retention.

I began the day by attending the awesome new technology showcase, which gave big brands — such as ADP, Korn Ferry, Oracle, SAP, Visier, and WorkDay — the opportunity to show off their most recent “disruptive” technology.

Workday asked the audience to consider the business impact of regrettable employee departures, and Korn Ferry asserted that employees are hired for what they know and fired for who they are. The importance of ensuring the cultural fit of a worker and improving retention was a theme that was echoed throughout the course of the other onstage presentations.

So how do you retain your best and brightest workers – and keep them healthy and productive? Well, you don’t overwhelm them with HR software. ADP cited a statistic that the average human resources department uses 38 HR tools. Talented employees have zero tolerance for disaggregated technology, especially in the midst of life events or family emergencies. That’s why single platform solutions that make it easy for employees and employers to navigate big life decisions were causing such a stir at HR Tech, like Castlight’s total health management platform and newly launched Action analytics solution. The Castlight platform gives employees a one-stop-shop to manage all their health and wellness needs and offers employers a “centralized benefits planning control tower,” as their customer Hassan Azar from Mondelez put it.

Benefits are your secret weapon for retention.

The next session of the day focused on the intersection of benefits and culture. Jennifer Benz is CEO and Founder of Benz Communications, an employee benefits communication firm. She chaired a panel of benefits experts from Silicon Valley, which included leaders from Adobe and Intuit, who explained how the valley’s best employers use benefits to drive employee engagement.

Silicon Valley is known for employing workers who are invested, both literally and figuratively, in the success of their companies. These employees are extremely driven and not afraid to express feedback.

Continuous communication is critical, and both Adobe and Intuit leverage formal and informal polling channels to ask employees what they think about their healthcare benefits. Adobe also uses Castlight’s total health management platform to provide employees with relevant information about their benefits offerings when they need it and it’s important to them. These targeted communications have helped drive increases in both benefits engagement and benefits satisfaction in their workforce.

People are targeting your employees.

I attended the very first “HR Tech Hackathon” where technology vendors created new software tools in 48 hours, which is an amazing accomplishment.

The hands-down winner was Jibe. They created a solution called, “The Purple Squirrel Finder.” It’s a personalized way for companies to see who is visiting their career website. Jibe’s software can tell a talent acquisition team who is on the site and where they are coming from, which is helpful if you’re trying to convert a potential candidate from passive to active.

Let’s face it. In a growing economy and a tight labor market, all workers are active candidates. Unless you offer a great total rewards package and communicate it clearly, you’ll lose your most productive workers.

The ROI of employee engagement is retention.

I wrapped up the day with a quick session held by Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, the Chief Economist of Glassdoor. Based on years of research, Dr. Chamberlain believes that a company’s market valuation and profitability can be determined by levels of employee engagement within an organization. If an employee rates herself as happy and productive on the Glassdoor platform, she’s likely to remain within an organization and generate overall revenue for an organization.

HR Tech 2015 is in the homestretch.

HR Tech is wrapping up, but there is one more day of great content. Tomorrow I’ll report out on the closing keynote from Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO of Red Hat. That’s not all, though. The ‘Ideas & Innovators’ session closes the conference with eleven industry thinkers who will share insights on the latest HR technologies.

Stay tuned for more, and check out the Castlight Health Twitter account for fun photos and insights from HR Tech 2015!