Business Group Blog

What Keeps Employers Awake at Night

The #1 issue keeping employers up at night is engagement, according to a survey of 140 large employers.1 Only one in four employees consider themselves engaged in their health and well-being.2 However, engaged employees are healthier, more productive and are better able to contain health care costs.3,4,5

Companies with the highest levels of employee engagement experience less absenteeism and turnover, as well as fewer safety incidents and product defects.6 In addition, these companies achieve better customer ratings and higher profitability.7 When engagement and performance levels are high, many other critical company-wide metrics also improve, from hiring the best talent, to retaining top performers, to better organizational performance and higher rates of customer retention.

To improve employee engagement, many employers are introducing plan designs that aim to move employees from being passive recipients of care to becoming active ones, willing to take more responsibility for managing their health and related costs, including making prudent and informed health care decisions. The key to driving sustained employee engagement with plan design is by deploying a fully integrated strategy aligning traditional plan design elements, such as cost-sharing differentials and varying contribution levels, with reinforcing ancillary programs and tools, including high-touch interventions, decision support tools, tactical incentives and requirements, all of which encourage employees to take a heightened level of ownership over their health. These strategies must be communicated in a clear, timely and succinct manner, preferably tailored to segmented employee audiences to ensure the utmost engagement in programs.

Members — for more information on this topic check out the Employee Engagement Toolkit.



  1. National Business Group on Health. Key insights and learnings from the 2016 Employers’ Summits on Health Care Costs and Solutions. Accessed July 14, 2016.
  2. Gallup. Well-being page. Accessed July 14, 2016.
  3. Reidel JE, Lynch W, Baase C, et al. The effect of disease prevention and health promotion on workplace productivity: a literature review. Am J Health Promot. 2001;15:167-191.
  4. Reidel JE, Grossmeier J, Hagulund-Howieson L, et al. Use of normal impairment factor to gauge avoidable productivity loss due to poor health. JOEM. 2009 Mar;51(3)283-295.
  5. Boles M, Pelletier B, Lynch W. The relationship between health risks and work productivity. JOEM. 2004;46(7):737-745.
  6. Harter JK, Schmidt FL, Killham EA, et al. Q12 Meta-Analysis: The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes. Gallup, Inc. August 2009.
  7. National Business Group on Health and Towers Watson. 2011/2012 Staying@Work survey report; 2012.