Healthcare News & Insights

3 keys to keep hospital employees engaged

High-performing hospitals tend to have staff that are engaged in the facility’s mission. But engagement levels are dropping throughout the healthcare sector, and this can make a significant impact on a facility’s quality of care. That means it’s crucial for hospitals to prioritize employee engagement. 

According to a report from Quantum Workplace465076121, a consulting firm, healthcare workers rank the lowest on the engagement scale when compared to other industries.

Quantum surveyed thousands of employees around the country, and it found that only 56.7% healthcare workers who responded were engaged in their work.

Even worse: 13% of healthcare staff surveyed were either actively disengaged with their positions or completely hostile when working.

Comparing this year’s numbers to its past research, Quantum found that engagement rates in the healthcare industry have been steadily declining for the past five years.

In fact, the percentage of healthcare workers who are just “contributing” to their organizations, as opposed to being actively engaged, has risen from 22% in 2011 to almost 30% this past year.

Increasing engagement

In an age where hospitals are being scrutinized for the quality of care they provide, having engaged staff who are invested in promoting a culture of safety and transparency is important.

To fight against the problem of low engagement with hospital staff, Quantum identified three key elements that make employees feel more engaged in their companies:

  1. Consistent leadership. Employees won’t be engaged in a hospital’s mission if its leaders aren’t, too. According to the Quantum survey, leaders’ commitment to creating a positive work environment was the top factor that made an impact on employee engagement – closely followed by trusting leaders to set the correct course. There’s been some turnover in healthcare leadership in recent years, at every level from CEOs to nurse managers. And that shakes employees’ faith in the commitment of their leaders, which impacts engagement. As a way to avoid this problem, hospitals need to monitor their turnover rates at all levels and figure out exactly why people are leaving – and how those left behind feel about it. That’ll help facilities create targeted strategies to improve retention and keep engagement high.
  2. Feeling recognized and valued. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers have been asked to take on a great deal of responsibility for patient outcomes. And all the new initiatives from the feds may cause them to feel stretched to their limits, especially if their efforts aren’t valued and recognized. A significant factor that impacted engagement for healthcare workers surveyed by Quantum was whether the leaders of their organization valued its people highly. Increasing caseloads and abusive treatment from colleagues have caused many healthcare employees to feel disengaged. Hospitals must do what they can to stop these developments in their tracks. Another way to boost engagement: Recognize employees for their successes, and use their failures as opportunities for improvement – instead of punishment.
  3. Doing meaningful work for a successful organization. Employees are generally more engaged when they’re working for an organization that’s poised for success in the future. For hospitals, this means leaders must be forward-thinking about their mission and goals in the face of value-based care. They must also be transparent about their efforts with employees at all levels. If leaders keep the metrics they’re using to measure success a secret, clinical staff won’t know what’s driving their decisions, and that feeling lowers engagement. The best metrics focus on patient-centered outcomes, keeping clinicians’ natural workflow in mind.
  • Avinash

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