An engaged employee can be the key to great quality care and patient satisfaction. Engaged employees are more committed to, and enthusiastic about, working for your organization.
In the healthcare sector, the stakes are particularly higher than any other industry- your patients’ lives. Employee engagement is not only the key to a long-lasting healthcare organization but a must for ensuring optimal patient outcomes.
Employees In The Healthcare Industry: Chronically Disengaged
A 2012 study from Towers Watson found that 44% of U.S. hospital employees are highly engaged. This means that just under half of the people responsible for caring for the nation’s ill and injured feel supported and emotionally committed to their roles.
The Advisory Board Company found that 20% of all hospital employees are either disengaged or ambivalent, while 40% are just content with their lot. Then, a huge 45% of primary care physicians say that if they could afford to quit, they would.
With these stats in mind, it’s no wonder that employee retention in healthcare was rated as the top staffing concern among U.S. healthcare recruiters in 2015. The fact that salaries don’t seem to have much of an effect on employee churn doesn’t paint a brighter picture, either. Despite an 8.2% increase in executive compensation in 2015, the turnover rate was 19.2% across the healthcare industry that same year.
What Tends To Drive Employee Engagement?
What drives employee engagement will depend on the environment, but certain factors tend to look the same across all organizations. For instance:
- Leaders that are concerned with employee wellbeing
- A healthy work/life balance
- Leaders who are open to new ideas
- Manageable levels of stress
- Employees who feel invested in the organization’s goals
- Tools, resources, and opportunities for personal and career development
- Employees who have the support they feel they need to thrive
Improving Employee Engagement Across Your Organization
Engaged and satisfied employees are absolutely key to successful healthcare organizations. Employees that are satisfied and emotionally committed to their roles tend to shape the organization’s culture as a whole, as well as patient outcomes.
- Engaged employees are linked to an 87% decrease in infection rate, along with lower patient mortality and complication incidences.
- There is a direct link between high healthcare employee engagement and low turnover rates.
- With the costs associated with high employee turnover, malpractice suits, and hiring fees, improved engagement levels undeniably means a reduction in costs.
What Does An Engaged Healthcare Worker Look Like?
You can spot an engaged healthcare worker as they are happy, motivated, and enthusiastic about the work they do every day. They tend to assert more effort, can accept constructive criticism, and want to be an integral part in achieving the organization’s goals and successes. They also tend to be an example to other employees and foster a positive culture and atmosphere.
Improving employee engagement in the healthcare sector means:
Hiring Great Leaders
Employee engagement is only possible when you hire and help to train great leaders from the outset. These people should encourage a positive work environment, set an example, ensure effective communication, and develop strong relationships with the team. Building strong relationships allows each team member to feel more of a connection to the organization and the overall goals.
Ensuring A Cultural Fit
Employees must be engaged before you even hire them by ensuring they are already in alignment with your vision. You must have a good idea of your mission and values in order to ensure each team member is a cultural fit.
Having A Strong Onboarding Process
Employees should be engaged right from the start with a strong onboarding process. This process should be utilized to welcome new hires into the organization and align expectations. Other things you’ll want to do include:
- Introductions to other members of the team
- A tour so they can find everything they need
- Set goals
- Explain how they will be evaluated
Giving Regular Feedback
Performance reviews are essential for engaged employees. During a review you will need to discuss career goals, review compensation, and ensure they are getting the recognition they deserve. Ensure you don’t wait until review sessions to give feedback and recognition, though. Provide these things whenever the opportunity arises. Regular communication always leads to better job satisfaction.
Provide Opportunities For Your Team To Grow
Build engagement through coaching and formal learning programs, giving opportunities for your team to thrive and grow. Giving feedback is a great time to present opportunities for growth, rather than simply talking about issues that may be present.
Engagement will increase when your employees see that their development and career progression matters just as much to you. You can help set goals and enable them to improve their skill sets – mentor them if you can! Ensure your team can reach their full potential and it’ll shine through in atmosphere and patient outcomes.
Tailor any training and opportunities towards their current role, as well as roles they may have in mind for the future. When they have something to aim for, they will be far more motivated to improve their performance and exceed your expectations. This is a surefire way to improve healthcare worker engagement.
Be Aware Of The Unique Occupationally Induced Stressors
Understand that your team will often be under a lot of stress – stress that is not present in most other industries. On a daily basis they may have to deal with things like grief, illness, violence, and death, and these things can take their toll.
Stay Alert For Burn Out
Burn out is often a consequence of prolonged disengagement and diminished resilience. More than half of U.S. physicians experience one or more symptoms of burnout, and a similarly high figure has been observed among other health care professionals, including nurses, physician assistants, and medical assistants. This in turn threatens the delivery of safe, high-quality, patient-centered care. Ensure your facility is a workplace that fosters open communication, and provide the tools required should your employees need emotional or mental support.
The video below may help you to see how you can turn burn out into engagement.
Employee Engagement Moving Forward
The considerations listed here highlight the importance of a comprehensive, healthcare specific strategy. This strategy must collect, analyze, and interpret engagement data and then implement improved efforts to target the needs of various healthcare professionals across your organization. For success, you must find a way to translate the collected data into a set of meaningful and sustainable actions and behaviors that specifically address the unique needs of your healthcare workforce. The consultants at Soriant can help your facility improve its employee engagement with customized contract services for multiple aspects of your establishment. Contact us today to learn more: 770-777-6633