Top 10 Stats from the 2019 Executive Priorities Report

Kristen McPherson
Written by Kristen McPherson

August 16, 2019

Our 2019 Executive Priorities Mid-Year Survey Report takes a deep dive into the workforce management initiatives that Health and Human Services (HHS) executives are prioritizing this year. These include increasing employee engagement, improving recruiting and retention, and investing in digital tools and strategies. Check out the top ten stats from the report below and download the full report here.

1. The top strategy HHS executives are using to increase employee engagement is increasing transparency and communication across the organization.

Transparency can go a long way in building trust and aligning employees with the overarching mission of the organization. It helps employees feel more involved and connected to the organization by showing them how their individual work contributes to the organization as a whole. Along with this strategy, executives are also increasing employee recognition and providing ways for employees to give feedback, both of which enable the employee to take a more active role within the organization.

2. Annual reviews: 70% of executives say they use them and only 16% say this is the only measure of employee engagement they use.

The good old annual review. Despite evidence that this type of performance appraisal is outdated and ineffective, it remains highly popular with 70% reporting that they use them. On the plus side, more and more organizations are embracing different and more frequent methods for measuring employee engagement. Only 16% report that they rely solely on the annual review process for performance appraisals and employee engagement.

3. Only 40% of executives say they have a recently updated employee engagement plan.

Increasing employee engagement has been a top three priority for the past three years and is the number one workforce management priority this year. So it’s surprising to see that despite its importance, less than half of organizations have an up-to-date employee engagement plan. Perhaps organizations are relying on the same old strategies they’ve always used (hence, they have nothing to update), or executives are taking a less formalized approach that does not include a plan that is written out and revisited regularly. However, with the importance executives say they’re placing on this initiative, a formal employee engagement plan can help them better measure outcomes and make progress towards their goals.

4. HHS executives reported that lack of qualified applicants is their greatest recruiting challenge.

The tightening job market coupled with difficulty offering competitive pay and benefits makes it particularly difficult for organizations to find and hire qualified candidates. For organizations located in more rural areas, these challenges are further compounded. Therefore, it’s not surprising that recruiting and retention is another top area of focus for HHS organizations this year.

5. The top recruiting strategy at HHS organizations is to offer professional development opportunities.

When tight budgets make it impossible to offer top-of-the-payscale salaries, it’s time for executives to get creative. Focusing more on professional development opportunities is a win-win in many cases. First, employees now say this is their number one consideration – over pay, health insurance, and retirement plans – when looking for a new job. Second, organizations can greatly benefit from promoting from within based on workers they already know and trust versus taking a risk on hiring externally in today’s competitive job market.

6. Executives report that their top goal for improving employee engagement is to reduce turnover.

Employee engagement goes hand-in-hand with recruiting and retention, and this is particularly evident when looking at the goals they want to achieve through their engagement strategy. Improving engagement and satisfaction can help motivate employees to stay at the organization long-term, reducing turnover and alleviating some of the strain in the already challenging area of recruiting.

7. 83% of executives believe their employees are emotionally invested in their work.

Meaningful work matters to employees, and this is an area where HHS organizations with social missions often shine. With goals that focus on improving lives and strengthening communities, the work these organizations do is the very definition of meaningful. However, employees within this field often experience burnout and compassion fatigue, so it’s helpful to remind frontline workers of the impact they make every day.

8. Two thirds of organizations say they plan to invest in digital tools in the next six months.

Executives are increasingly recognizing the importance of investing in digital tools at their organization. At the top of their list of areas they believe could be improved with technology are internal workflows, reporting capabilities, and financial efficiencies. On the other hand, budget restraints remain the greatest obstacle to investing in digital tools and strategies. Therefore, executives need to find ways to calculate the return on investment to better understand how digital tools can pay off in the long run.

9. 81% of executives believe that investing in digital tools will help them make more strategic decisions.

Digitals tools have the potential to provide much-needed visibility into an organization. This can be particularly helpful for HHS organizations that often have complex funding streams and require detailed labor cost reports. Gaining a more granular view of your operations can help you determine which programs and services are performing well and what areas could use some improvements – helping you make informed and strategic decisions that drive the organization forward.

10. Employee engagement and recruiting and retention continue to be top priorities for executives for the remainder of 2019.

Priorities for the rest of the year remain relatively constant. Recruiting and retention has risen to be the number one priority, but employee engagement remains a close second. These two initiatives together are being prioritized far more than any other initiatives. Investing in digital tools continues to be a big focus as well, along with maintaining regulatory compliance, each of which tied for the third top workforce management initiative.

Learn More in the Full Report

Interested in more stats like these and insight into the workforce management trends currently shaping the Health and Human Services industry? You can download a complimentary copy of the complete 2019 Executive Priorities Mid-Year Report to discover more key insights.