2020, COVID-19, and surprising companies with the most satisfied workers

2020 is a year many companies and non-desk employees would like to forget. When we started to compile our research looking at employee satisfaction rates at the end of the year, we didn’t know what we would discover. How would shutdowns, the pandemic, and layoffs affect employee satisfaction rates versus 2019, and what would it start to show us about 2021?

Over the past 10 years of building software for, supporting, and serving these essential frontline workers, we have built an understanding of their resilience. These employees don’t fit into a single box or a stereotype, but the vast majority of them are dedicated to providing for their families. In light of 2020’s curveballs, we wanted to understand how employee satisfaction and feelings about their companies as ‘great places to work’ might have changed. It’s no secret that many of these employees were faced with life-threatening daily activities as they worked with a risk of pandemic exposure, despite their employers’ best efforts to keep them safe.

A provider of caring and compassionate senior living, Trilogy Health Services has been a Red-e-app customer for more than four years. They were recently ranked #4 in Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Aging Services™ 2020, and they ranked in Glassdoor’s top 100 employers across all industries. If any industry has borne the heaviest impact of COVID-19, it is healthcare – in particular, acute care and senior living. Trilogy’s results and awards this year have confirmed our research. Organizations that had excellent communication infrastructure in place and used that framework to increase communication this year were able to stand out among their peers. Uncertainty breeds fear, and the best antidote to uncertainty in 2020 was frequent, consistent communication from senior leaders, as well as local managers. Additionally, with meetings and gatherings minimized, if not eliminated, nearly all communication across the company relied on digital channels. Trilogy’s resulting ‘Great Place to Work’ award for this year speaks for itself: 

“Although Trilogy and its people have been rocked by 2020, the company and its culture are proving to be resilient. Employee scores on the Great Place to Work Trust Index© survey have dipped just three percentage points from 2019, with 80 percent of Trilogy staffers calling the company a great place to work.

Similar skilled nursing facilities have seen their employee Trust Index scores fall more than 7 percentage points.

What’s more, by putting its employees first, Trilogy has nearly 50 percent lower employee turnover than the industry average.” https://www.greatplacetowork.com/resources/blog/how-trilogy-health-services-handled-covid-19-tragedy-and-kept-their-employees-and-elder-care-residents-safe 

There are many things that Trilogy does to create such a positive work environment, and without leaders who appreciate and understand the value of all their employees, especially non-desk workers, an award like this could never be won. 

Having an engaged and committed workforce requires communication and something we call WorkTrust. This is created when all employees feel the company cares, understands, and listens to their needs and concerns as they pertain to their job, their responsibilities, and inclusion in the mission. With non-desk employees, this is especially relevant due to how easy it is for them to feel disconnected and under-appreciated due to a lack of connectivity and communication. 

Trilogy has over 88% of their employees signed up with Red-e-app and 82% of their team members are monthly active users. This attests to management’s commitment to communication and engaging employees. As our research has shown, communication is important, but during times of crisis, it becomes the vital lifeblood of the organization. With highly structured and secure channels, these managers and employees communicate with one another over 3 million times in 2020. 

Beyond everyday communication, this level of connection creates a platform to build WorkTrust. Trilogy boasts many incredible programs to help their employees build a better career and a better life. Their benefits include an apprenticeship program for increasing certifications and wages, student loan reimbursement, home buying support, financial classes, and subsidized undergraduate and graduate degrees through Purdue Global (the program will not be 100% free going forward – instead it will cost $25 per paycheck for new students in 2021 and beyond) — and all of these programs require consistent communication and education to build participation.  

Other notable organizations that were honored as Great Places to Work in 2020 included grocery chains HEB, Wegmans, and Trader Joe’s, all of whom have large percentages of non-desk employees greatly affected by COVID-19. Also on the list were Milwaukee Tool and Delta Airlines, proving that you can have a majority of your workforce without corporate email or desk jobs and still create an amazing workplace — one where people take pride in their work and feel a special connection to their company, even during tough trying times.

As we prepare for and head into 2021, we encourage all companies to create an atmosphere where every employee feels connected, empowered, and committed to doing their best. Creating WorkTrust is not just the right thing to do, it helps build better businesses that can endure through even the toughest years. 

Technology enables real change

Red e App isn’t here just to sell software to put a Band-Aid on your communication problems — we’re out to change the world for non-desk workers. We’ve spent years in the trenches with companies of all sizes and all levels of complexity, and we’d love to help you consider how to make real change in your organization.