Column: Workers' Comp

The Engagement Factor

By: | August 31, 2015

Roberto Ceniceros is a retired senior editor of Risk & Insurance® and the former chair of the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. Read more of his columns and features.

Employers face a crisis with recent studies showing that worker disengagement has reached 70 percent.

Fortunately, I’m an engaged worker, according to a predictive tool that helps employers learn more about job recruits and existing employees by measuring their “sense of good judgment” in more than 70 areas.


I learned of the predictive tool called the Judgment Index while reporting on integrated disability management. Renee Mattaliano, VP and practice lead of workforce management at HUB International, told me how employers can apply the index to learn whether a certain job will engage a specific job recruit.

The more engaged a worker, the less likely they are to be injured. The more engaged, the sooner they will return to the job should they suffer an injury.

That’s valuable insight for an employer.

Predictive information about how people will behave is being applied across more areas. A non-traditional loan company, for example, now uses a judgment tool to lend money to recent college grads lacking credit histories.

That tool evaluates grade point averages, SAT scores and colleges attended, among other data. It then determines the value credit applicants will place on their obligation to repay debt.

“Who you are is going to drive what you do.” — Roger D. Wall, chief marketing officer, The Judgment Index

Such technology is opening up a world where employers and others will know much more about us, including what we value.

“Who you are is going to drive what you do,” said Roger D. Wall, chief marketing officer for the Judgment Index.

Interest in how worker engagement might be measured and its influence on disability management led me to accept an offer to learn firsthand how the Judgment Index works. That involved having to prioritize several, sometimes odd-seeming, statements according to how much I agreed with them.

From the lengthy results report, I learned that managing difficult people is not one of my strengths. No surprise there.

But I am very strong on absorbing information, processing it and solving problems. I’m an engaged employee, according to the index results, because I value work and have a high degree of reliability. I also am process- or task-oriented.

The outcome also showed I rank strongly for self-care by paying attention to my physical, mental and emotional health. Obviously, the index didn’t ask how many needless calories I nervously consume at my desk while writing.

Still, information about my attitude toward my overall health could prove valuable to an employer customizing a wellness program or building a return-to-work strategy for my specific needs.

It can provide a lot of information about how you might behave under certain circumstances, as well as advice when improvement or caution may be necessary.


For example, the Judgment Index showed I am “moderately idealistic.” I might be good at helping team members see new possibilities for improving things, but I must make sure my ideas are backed by convincing evidence so people with a strong realist bent don’t write me off as naive.

No wonder I’m engaged by my work. The job allows the moderately idealistic in me to write about how the workplace might be made better.

Now, what to do about the 70 percent who don’t value their work as much as I?

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