Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, Inc
A dig deeper reveals reasons for dissatisfaction.

The Success Story

The best way to learn what your employees are thinking is to ask them. Conduct stay interviews to find out what your employees’ main points of discontent are and how to address them.

The Challenge

Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, Inc. discovered that employee dissatisfaction stemmed largely from an inadequate benefits program. The complications with the program were causing distractions and a lack of productivity, as well as engagement and retention problems.

The Solution

Work Institute created a current employee survey with probing “why” questions to determine exact reasons for dissatisfaction with the benefits program. The survey provided opportunities to indicate all reasons for discontent, as well as the chance to specify the most important.

The Impact

  • Revealed cost sharing opportunities of immediate savings of $80,000
  • Resulted in a revamp of the benefits program with options to better meet the needs of individual employees
  • Employee dissatisfaction fell to less than 8%

Commitment To Improvement

In 2003, Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, Inc. (BWSC) asserted itself as a forward-thinking company that strived to understand its workforce and protect its employees. After 50 successful years, they recognized that for another 50 years of success, they would need deep analysis to pinpoint areas of concern for their employees and provide actionable data. Therefore, BWSC brought in Work Institute to facilitate an initiative focused around employee satisfaction.

Taking Action

This effort began by establishing baseline information on the entire population and then to attaining pulse intelligence every month. The initial stay interviews revealed that the focus needed be on the benefits program. It was clear that the current program was not meeting the needs of BWSC employees. When asked to rate the benefit package using Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor, 36.8% of their employees rated the healthcare program as “fair” or “poor” and only 9% rated the healthcare program as “excellent.” This level of dissatisfaction was distracting employees and affecting the organization’s overall productivity and profitability.

To obtain the actionable data needed to make positive changes, Work Institute and BWSC designed a new survey around the benefits program, including open ended questions. Using the survey responses, BWSC leaders identified major issues and began to address them. First, the benefit program represented a major cost to BWSC because of utilization patterns and poor cost-sharing protocols. Second, communication between the insurance carriers, BWSC Human Resources and the employees was not effective. Finally, an unusually high number of customer service issues were distracting employees and causing problems with productivity. The dissatisfaction level was affecting employee satisfaction, retention and engagement.

After analyzing the quantitative data along with verbatim comments, BWSC developed its current benefit program concentrated on resolving these three areas of discontent. BWSC responded by switching carriers, implementing cost sharing with employees, and offering three healthcare plans. To increase communication, BWSC conducted benefit meetings in each location, so that representatives could walk employees through the plan options. The new healthcare plans and the ensuing communications program yielded results. Employee responses indicated an immediate decrease in distractions due to the benefits program and a positive increase in employee engagement. By 2005, employee dissatisfaction had fallen to less than 8%.

BWSC, Inc Today

Today, BWSC continues to partner with Work Institute using ongoing interviews and surveys to guide the company to powerful, cost-effective decisions that impact employee productivity and retention. This strategy has kept dissatisfaction low and engagement high.