August 2009 | Volume 28 / Number 3
Short Message Service (SMS)
The Wins of Treating Staff Well
By Steve Brubaker,
We all try to base our daily decisions on the pursuit of altruistic AND business goals, but in the end we know the decisions we make will be judged by how they impact our company´s bottom line.
However, there are ways we can accomplish both goals, especially when dealing with the lifeblood of our organizations – our employees. It just takes some vision, and the willingness to take on some up-front cost to achieve far-reaching, long-term benefits for both the company and its workers.
Most company leaders understand the importance of giving employees the tools to succeed on the job, but there is also value in giving employees the tools to succeed in their personal lives. Companies can realize great benefits by creating an environment that meets employees ´ needs and providing them with convenient ways to achieve goals outside of their professional lives, or just give them fewer things to worry about.
InfoCision has worked hard over the last five years to create just such an environment, where employees can thrive by utilizing the benefits provided by the company. We believe that a happier, healthier worker is going to be a better worker, both for InfoCision and our clients. When an employee is satisfied with their job it is going to come across in the work that they do, especially in the voices of our communicators who have the all-important task of speaking to consumers directly on behalf of our clients.
With this in mind, InfoCision began opening fitness centers within the walls of many of its locations. While memberships in these centers is not free, the cost is subsidized by the company and employees pay just $15 per month, or less than half of what most comparable health clubs charge.
As membership in the health clubs took off, we could see clearly that employees liked the idea of being able to manage their health at work. So we also opened on-site clinics at many locations, staffed by local physicians who can see employees and their family members during specified hours throughout the week without an appointment. This gives employees the benefit of getting prompt and convenient medical attention without having to take time off of work and for only half the standard co-pay charge for employees who use InfoCision´s insurance plan. Employees not on the plan can also see the on-site provider for a nominal charge.
The fitness centers and clinics are part of an overall employee wellness strategy that also includes annual health fairs where employees receive free health screenings and education about their personal wellness and insurance coverage. In addition, InfoCision subsidizes weight loss contests, offers smoking cessation aid for employees, and we have implemented a confidential employee assistance program where workers can get help with problems ranging from marital issues to drug and alcohol concerns. The most recent benefit we have begun offering employees is on-site childcare services at our new InfoKids pre-school facilities. Those parents involved have told us that having their children right next door provides real peace of mind.
The immediate benefit of creating such an environment is to improve current employee morale and boost retention numbers. When employees recognize the company genuinely cares about their well-being, they will be more inclined to stay with the company. All employees have needs beyond simply earning an income, and if a company can help to fill some of those needs, the employees will feel a sense of gratitude and pride in working for a company that cares. In addition, when potential employees walk into your building for an interview and you can talk about your great amenities and show them things like fitness centers and wellness clinics, you ´ve got a clear competitive advantage.
The long-term benefits are even more impressive. Before we instituted our health and wellness program, InfoCision was experiencing double digit health insurance premium increases every year. Since the implementation of the program, our premiums have basically flatlined. By giving our employees the tools to be healthier, we have helped them to prevent disease and sickness and continue to be productive employees, while also keeping insurance costs lower.
Now that´s a solution which makes great business sense, but also allows us to feel good about ourselves as employers by doing the right thing for our employees.
Steve Brubaker is Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at InfoCision Management Corporation. Founded in 1982, InfoCision is the second largest privately held teleservice company and is a leader in customer care services, commercial sales and marketing for a variety of Fortune 100 companies and smaller businesses. InfoCision is also a leading provider of inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofit, religious and political organizations. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, InfoCision operates 30 call centers at 12 locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. InfoCision has been named one of the top ten best employers in Ohio by the state chamber of commerce. For more information on InfoCision please visit www.infocision.com.