5 Ways to Increase Healthcare Employee Engagement

5 Ways to Increase Healthcare Employee Engagement
Marketing Manager

Employee engagement is challenging in today's workforce, but it is especially critical in the healthcare setting. With the changing healthcare climate, hospitals and healthcare facilities are under greater pressure to improve clinical care while lowering costs, implementing change, and reducing employee turnover. High levels of employee engagement can significantly impact these areas. Research shows a strong correlation between strong healthcare employee engagement and patient satisfaction, patient safety and quality, and improved clinical outcomes.

In 2010 Gallup partnered with a small hospital and examined the relationship between patient safety and employee engagement. Researchers found that employee engagement combined with employee safety work together to improve patient safety.

Gallup combined the employee engagement scores with the number of workers' compensation claims for workgroups to produce an overall safety index score for each unit. Workgroups with high employee engagement and no safety claims had a 15% increase in patient safety culture compared with workgroups with low employee engagement and safety claims.

Here are 5 ways to increase employee engagement among your healthcare workforce:

Adopt a clear engagement strategy that leadership supports. Engagement should be demonstrated at all levels of your healthcare organization. Senior leaders must show their support for engagement and set expectations, as well as provide the necessary tools for managers to work with their teams and develop engagement plans throughout the entire year, not just at survey time.

Link your engagement strategy to the mission and vision of your organization. Many employees choose to work in the healthcare industry because they want to help others and make a difference in their communities. When a clinician's personal values align with the organization's mission, there is a greater level of engagement and fit. The employee is committed to the hospital's culture and his or her levels of engagement will continue to grow.

Incorporate engagement with rounding in your hospital to get a pulse on how employees are feeling. By addressing issues when rounding, you provide the opportunity for employees to give real-time feedback and discuss any problems that may be affecting their engagement levels. Questions you may want to ask include:

  • Do you have the necessary materials and equipment to do your job?
  • Are your job expectations clearly defined and do you know what's expected?
  • Are there development opportunities in which you may be interested?

Rounding also provides an opportunity to give praise and recognition to employees, which contributes to increased levels of engagement.

Provide development opportunities for your employees. Providing educational and professional development opportunities not only increases your employees' ability to perform in their jobs better, but also helps to build engagement levels. Development opportunities may included online training, conferences and seminars, classroom training, or special assignments.

Consider a formal recognition program. Employees like to know that the work they do makes a difference. A healthcare provider faces many different stresses in his or her environment. Receiving recognition can make a difference in how an employee feels about his or her role in the healthcare organization. Recognition doesn't have to be elaborate. A thoughtful note of appreciation is a simple way to recognize employees for their contributions to the team.

Highly-engaged employees feel valued and have a clear understanding of their role in the organization. As you work to build employee engagement levels, the rewards will be worth the investment with the potential to influence patient satisfaction and positive outcomes. 

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