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From illuminating case studies to interactive workbooks, improve overall well-being and inform cultural best practices at your organization with these essential healthcare resources.
Ashley Eddings, MBA, SSGB
When reading the 2019 HR Healthcare Report, there was a statistic that stopped me in my tracks: “91% of respondents believe the quality and care with which their company leaders engage employees influences aspects of the care those employees provide” (HR Healthcare and WBR insights, 2019, p. 3). If there was any gray area that employee engagement has a profound impact on patient care provided, this statistic alone could dispel it. Keeping employees engaged on the job is not only difficult, but it is one of the most important facets of retention. Furthermore, employees who are engaged often feel valued and are connected to their sense of purpose. They know their why and seek it each day on the job. This can undoubtedly translate to better patient care. Knowing the importance of engaged employees and their impact on patient care, how do we get and keep them engaged? A couple key insights from the 2019 HR Healthcare Report are shared below.
Consider this: “Communication and transparency within the organization improves employee engagement which, in turn, improves the quality of care employees provide to their patients. Organizations will invest more in communication and performance measurement technologies to catalyze this progress” (HR Healthcare and WBR insights, 2019, p. 17). Given the tumultuous burnout landscape, communication and transparency are incredibly important to ensure that employees feel seen and heard. Employees want to know that the organization and its leaders are approachable and have the time and desire to communicate with them in a transparent, thorough manner. Employees who know what is going on and are apprised of pertinent information as it pertains to their roles and the organization, will often go above and beyond for their leaders, organization, and more importantly, for their patients. Communication and transparency in a busy workplace are not always easy, and it takes intentionality, but the return is fruitful in the quality of care being provided by engaged employees.
Additionally, while there are many nuances and causes of disengagement and burnout, it is widely studied and accepted that the effects of burnout can be reduced, and employees become more engaged, with meaningful recognition. In fact, HR Healthcare and WBR insights (2019) explains that “peer-to-peer employee recognition is a tried and tested method through which employee engagement and quality of work improve consistently” (p. 14). Think about it – when colleagues recognize your contributions and hard work, how does this make you feel? For many, it gives them the encouragement needed to continue through a rough day, or perhaps the gentle nudge to keep up the great work. Being recognized and acknowledged has a lasting impact and often pushes employees to maintain the high-quality level of care they are providing because it is seen and valued. When employees are celebrated for their work and appreciated for what they do, employee engagement increases. Meaningful recognition is a simple yet highly effective way to keep employees engaged in their work, and in turn, providing quality care to patients.
The report explains that leaders should provide their employees with new scenarios and approaches for them to consider and implement. Employees who can weigh in on a new process, situation, or approach often come up with innovative and thoughtful solutions and ideas. These ideas frequently translate into change in practice, research studies and evidence-based practice projects, to name a few. This keeps employees engaged on the job and in their role as they work to improve patient care. Leaders should consider giving employees the ability to influence their practice and elevate their footprint in patient care. Owning and implementing new approaches and scenarios is an effective way to engage employees.
It is vital to remember that “…although satisfaction and commitment are related to performance, engagement appears overall to be a better predictor of employee performance” (HR Healthcare and WBR insights, 2019, p. 6). Gone are the days of “band-aid” approaches to keep employees engaged and performing at their peak. Instead, seek ways to empower employees to operate at their best on the job. Give them opportunities to share fresh and new ideas, allow for transparency and open communication, and continue to show that you care for and value them. Recognize them continually and show in action and words that you want to see them connected to their work and purpose. When you go above and beyond for your employees, they will often do the same in return. It matters for the employee, the team, the leader, the organization, and ultimately, the patient.
HR Healthcare and WBR Insights. (2019). A 2019 HR Healthcare report: Aligning employee engagement and satisfaction with the quality of patient care.
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