When it comes to the healthcare industry, a variety of factors have a role to play in the overall quality of care provided. Perhaps the most important of these factors is the engagement level of employees. In fact, a recent Gallup study showed that the number one predictor of mortality variation was the nursing staff’s level of engagement. It beat out other key factors, such as nurse/patient ratio and percentage of overtime hours worked.
Employee engagement in the healthcare sector
Shockingly, a separate study by Gallup revealed that a staggering 52% of all full-time workers in the country are not involved in or enthusiastic about their work. And to make matters worse, an additional 18% are “actively disengaged.” That leaves us with roughly 30% of the workforce that actually enjoy and care about the work they do on a daily basis.
This is especially alarming for the healthcare industry, because the quality of care directly affects the livelihood of patients. If the caregivers are not actively pursuing better methods, treatments and recommendations, patients are the ones who will suffer the consequences of their disinterest.
“Without employee engagement, you’re never going to get the kind of ultimate patient experience you’re hoping for.” –Mike Packnett, CEO, Parkview Health
Engage healthcare staff and increase patient satisfaction
Let’s take a look at the top four actions we can take to better engage healthcare staff:
1. Reduce Job Stress & Turnover
There’s a lot of research out there that shows a negative relationship between engagement and job stress, which means that as engagement grows, job stress decreases. The reality is that we all have a bad day. Unfortunately, a job in healthcare leaves very little room for error. An engaged healthcare staff or employee will be aware of their surroundings and have a buy-in to the greater good of your patients, staff and facility as a whole. A reduced stress work environment will result in the same experience for your patients and their visitors.
Keep happy employees by keeping employees happy.
2. Encourage Active Decision-Making Roles
When you promote active decision making, you’re not only instilling higher levels of trust in your employees, you’re also making your team feel more appreciated, because they can better see the value of the choices they make. When one steps out from behind overly strict guidelines and is able to make judgment calls, based on his or her own unique knowledge and experience, it’s easy to see why engagement levels soar.
3. Build Better Relationships with Management
Staff members should never have an “us vs. them” mentality when it comes to how a facility operates. Much like any office, if team members are frustrated with or don’t believe in the choices being made by the higher ups, they’ll be less likely to follow through on them at the highest level. By opening up lines of communication and seeking out the opinions of staff, you create a more connected work environment and more appropriately engage employees across the board.
4. Realize that this Industry is an Emotional Commitment
Every healthcare facility has a bottom line, but that doesn’t mean your employees should be seen as mere tools of industry. Remember the humanity behind the work they do and know it can often be challenging on a daily basis. Allow yourself to understand the feelings of your staff, and speak with them openly about matters of the heart. You’re not only building better relationships and engagement levels, you’re showing the same levels of compassion and care you seek out of them.
Any company that cares about these consumer/employee interactions can take steps toward improving their possibilities. In the end, it creates a better experience for all—and that will ultimately translate into money saved, money earned, and better access to outstanding talents, both current and potential.