The following post was written by Dani Lisotta, Sr. Corporate Communication Specialist and Cynthia Cox, Director of Administration and Human Resources at LAMMICO. LAMMICO was a recipient of the 2015 Employee Voice Award for Highest Level of Engagement in small businesses.
As a service-centric company, we at LAMMICO believe the biggest contributor to our success is employee engagement. Outstanding employees are our greatest asset, yet management’s effective hiring and demonstrated commitment to staff propels our high levels of engagement, marrying talent with inspiration. Below, we've identified seven key elements that contribute to our organization's employee engagement success---and provided real-life examples of how they can be applied in the workplace.
Hire people that are in line with your company values. Willingness to serve is the most important hiring criteria at LAMMICO, so the most qualified candidate will not only be effective at their job, but fit in with our existing culture of service. By hiring people who match our corporate value system, employees naturally become champions of our organization and subsequently recruit equally qualified persons to join our team. More than 30 percent of new hires come from employee referrals. LAMMICO rewards these good references with a referral bonus because we know that birds of a feather do usually flock together - and when we're all flying in the right direction, everyone wins.
Provide employees with the flexibility to achieve greater work-life balance to improve engagement and productivity. Say, for example, an employee’s spouse gets transferred out of state. LAMMICO management’s first response is to work with the employee to retain them – because we know we hired a highly qualified individual in the first place and have invested in their development. To date, our company has transformed 3 percent of our staff into full-time telework positions in response to this exact scenario. Additionally, LAMMICO offers qualifying employees the opportunity to regularly work remotely with over 65 percent of our employees working out of the office one to two days per week.
Ordinarily, organizations put their business needs first and employees are expected to leave their personal life at the door. Extraordinary organizations know that the entirety of an employee's experience impact the work that they do for the company. This is why LAMMICO is sensitive to the personal circumstances of our staff. For example, if an employee suffers an adverse personal issue, LAMMICO management works with the individual to facilitate their continued contribution to the organization while permitting them the necessary time away from work. It's about the relationship and mutually honoring each other, which requires trust. After Hurricane Katrina, LAMMICO paid employees for a full month whether they were able to continue working or not because the vast majority of our staff instinctively sacrificed their own time to ensure the company's survival. After the storm, almost all of our employees returned to work. LAMMICO rewarded the loyalty of our staff with a special "Katrina bonus." Ultimately, corporate care for employees can serve to strengthen both the organization and its individual employees.
As Julia Child says, “a party without a cake is just a meeting.” We make a point of celebrating our accomplishments whether those achievements are that of the whole company or a specific individual. LAMMICO supports our local bakeries and party shops by celebrating the big and small triumphs like insuring a new hospital, achieving company goals, New Orleans Saints victories, holidays, employees’ personal, educational or professional milestones, or ending a hurricane season unscathed. We have a position in the company largely dedicated to employee and charitable events. In addition to company-wide celebrations, we provide each department their own budget for revelry and recognition as well. The camaraderie of sharing a treat is a simple way to sustain employee morale and high levels of engagement.
At LAMMICO, every employee at every level partakes in the financial success of the company through an annual bonus. Although this bonus is not guaranteed, high performance has led to generous awards every year in the company’s history. LAMMICO also has a substantial spot bonus pool to recognize individual or small team business successes, reinforcing the achievement of our strategic business initiatives with immediate reward. Lastly, we have programs for public recognition of employees in their efforts toward key initiatives and the alignment to company values, a reward often more valued than money. Thus, through setting elevated expectations and goals while rewarding and recognizing employee often (whether with dollars, calories, praise, or promotions), striving to high levels of employee engagement can be your key too to finding sustained organizational success.
The best employees want to feel the positive impact of their contributions and fulfill a higher sense of purpose. At LAMMICO, we empower employees to perform at a higher level. Through programs like tuition reimbursement, training opportunities, or just simply listening to staff ideas and then acting on those innovative initiatives, LAMMICO honors each voice within the organization and works to strengthen the individual employee. Inspire staff to develop their passions, and your organization will see a deep commitment to the company's overall success.
Don't think you have one? There's one in your organization if you mine for it. As a mutual insurance company, LAMMICO intrinsically rallies around our policyholders because they own the company. We feel that we are not just providing insurance coverage, but are also positively impacting our insureds’ patients by allowing healthcare practitioners to focus on them and not on potential liability concerns. Our experience is that our staff - regardless of their position - naturally aid our business development initiatives because they believe in our company and personally promote its value to their personal physicians, dentists, and healthcare practitioners.