3 Considerations for a Hospital Employee Engagement Strategy

Employee engagement is a feature that can differentiate "great" hospitals from "good" hospitals. Many hospitals are investing in employee engagement initiatives as evidence emerges on the relationship between staff engagement, patient satisfaction and positive organizational outcomes. Murat Philippe, principal consultant at Avatar HR Solutions, a quality improvement services company specializing in employee, physician and patient surveys, shares some key aspects of employee engagement hospital leaders should consider when making employee engagement a core part of their overall strategy.

Murat Philippe shares tips on engaging hospital employees.1. Make everyone feel important. Hospital leaders must focus on not only clinical employees when implementing engagement programs, but also on employees in dining services, security, billing and other non-clinical areas. "Make sure every role understands how they contribute to the organization's goals, whether it's environmental services, by reducing infection rates and keeping the environment sterile and conducive to healing, or whether it's in financial services and making sure money is coming in and you're able to continue [operating]," Mr. Philippe says.  

2. Survey employees.
Conducting yearly surveys of employee engagement can help leaders identify how employees feel about their career and the work environment. "Surveys create a systemized way of communicating, and it's a way for senior leaders to say 'We care; we want to understand what our strengths are, and how to get better," Mr. Philippe says. By acting on these surveys, hospital leaders can further demonstrate their commitment to employees.

For example, a common complaint among hospital employees is a lack of staff to handle the workload, according to Mr. Philippe. If employees identify staffing as an opportunity for improvement in the surveys, hospital leaders should respond by assessing the organization's staffing model. To provide more support for employees, hospitals can eliminate inefficiencies in processes and provide back-up staff, such as floaters, part-time staff and temporary nurses, according to Mr. Philippe.

To communicate to employees that every role is important to the organization, hospital leaders should ensure employees in all departments take part in the employee engagement survey. "Make sure action plans are being developed and there's an opportunity for bottom-up dialogue because there is value in gathering feedback throughout the organization," Mr. Philippe says.

3. Ensure all levels of leadership buy in.
A successful employee engagement strategy requires leaders at all levels to buy in to and implement the strategy. "You can have a vision and senior leaders that buy in, but it needs to be something that is carried forward by the next level of managers," Mr. Philippe explains.

Senior hospital leaders can ensure the strategy is carried through by managers and other leaders by holding them accountable. C-suite hospital leaders should check that problems identified by employees in the survey result in action plans, and that these action plans are implemented. Hospitals can also conduct a follow-up engagement survey several months after the initial survey to determine if improvements were made, according to Mr. Philippe.

More Articles on Employee Engagement:

Overworked and Exhausted: How to Alleviate Nursing Resources Through Employee Engagement and Recognition
Interactive Tool to Help Hospital Executives Assess Culture, Employee Engagement

10 Questions Every Hospital Should Ask its Employees

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