Research has shown that healthcare organizations with high employee engagement scores tend to have better patient outcomes overall, according to Murat Philippe, principal consultant at Avatar HR Solutions in Chicago.
According to Philippe, Avatar HR Solutions provides employee engagement surveys in order to maintain benchmarks for healthcare organizations and to identify best practices and “the real drivers of better patient engagement scores.”
There are a number of important factors that can help in maximizing a healthcare organization’s human capital and “remove obstacles from the paths of people that a company has hired so they can really do what they do best,” said Philippe. He identified five of the top ways healthcare organizations can effectively recruit, engage and retain the best employees.
1. Job fit considerations. “Do your employees’ jobs give them a chance to do what they do best? It’s all about job fit,” said Philippe. He said it’s important to make sure employees get the sense that their day-to-day work enables them to do what they do best a majority of the time. “This really energizes employees because they are really doing what they are good at,” he said.
2. Regular performance feedback. “We’ve seen this becoming more important, especially with generational differences,” Philippe said. He said that because the millennial generation (those around 35 years old or under) has a great appreciation for feedback, “it’s important to make sure supervisors are getting in the habit of giving regular feedback – although it doesn’t have to be formal.” In the last decade or so, those that have entered the workforce are expecting to get regular feedback of some sort, he added.
3. Making clear the importance of each employee to the ‘big picture.’ “People really appreciate knowing how their day-to-day job impacts the big picture at the organization. Do people feel like their job is valuable?” asked Philippe. He added that as employees understand the importance of their particular jobs to the overall success of the company, they tend to care more about doing their jobs well. Philippe mentioned an example of one hospital organization he works with that gave strategy maps to each employee that outlined how individual goals ultimately tied into department, unit and system-wide goals. Subsequently, this particular healthcare organization has very high employee engagement scores, he said.
4. Senior management communication. Philippe said the presence of leadership roles and the perception among employees that these individuals have everyone’s best interests in mind are extremely important factors in high employee engagement scores. “Employees want to know that their leadership listens to concerns and more importantly, they respond to these concerns,” he said. “We find that people are more likely to be invested in their work if there is a back-and-forth dialogue with their leadership.”
5. A sense of camaraderie among coworkers. Philippe said that as the down economy has forced healthcare organizations to do “more with less – including their employees,” it’s become more important for employees to feel as if everyone is working together with common goals and everyone is helpful to one another. “As there has become more and more job pressure and maybe fewer employee benefits, what has really pulled people together is the relationships they have with one another,” he said.