6 strategies to drive engagement in healthcare
In the healthcare industry, employee engagement is directly tied to patient care quality. This direct correlation necessitates that healthcare organizations place an even higher priority on ensuring their workforce is committed, skilled, and engaged. But recent research backs up a conclusion that could be drawn from simple common sense: healthcare workers were uniquely and often adversely affected by the pandemic. What can healthcare organizations to drive employee engagement in the here and now?
Consider these strategies:
- Create career paths through succession planning.
Employees who have access to career planning and development opportunities are simply more engaged. They’re also less likely to leave the organization—crucial for healthcare organizations facing staffing challenges on multiple fronts. But a SHRM study found that only 21% of organizations had a formal succession plan in place.
- Prioritize learning and development.
Access to meaningful learning and development opportunities creates the most engaged workforces. Healthcare organizations that provide ongoing, accessible learning opportunities see positive changes in performance, as well as increased employee confidence. For one organization, BJC HealthCare, making on-demand training a priority for 26,000 employees significantly improved patient care and increased safety and compliance.
- Unify performance management with learning and other employee lifecycle stages.
Performance is an integrated part of the entire employee lifecycle, not a standalone element. Engaging employees means starting earlier with onboarding and delivering frequent, actionable performance feedback linked with learning opportunities. Creating a unified performance and learning feedback loop ensures employees can continually improve skills in direct response to ongoing evaluations.
- Provide opportunities for recognition.
Recognition has a big impact on employee engagement, but a Gallup study suggests that healthcare organizations lag behind other industries in recognizing their workers. Recognition is especially critical for nurses and other on-the-floor clinical staff. Gallup recommends recognizing clinical staff regularly to encourage positive behavior and quality of care. Consider increasing the frequency of performance reviews to offer more—and transparent—opportunities for reward.
- Start engagement activities early.
Engagement begins before day one on the job. Delivering training and setting goals early shortens the time to productivity and creates a sense of community, both key to ongoing engagement. When a Washington, DC, hospital began onboarding nurses before their first day on the job through a variety of engagement activities—introducing nurses to the team, sending a welcome card—they witnessed a significant decrease in attrition among new employees.
- Align employee goals with organizational goals.
Healthcare employees are intrinsically motivated by the need to serve; an organization that demonstrates this same passion for service can kindle loyalty to the organization itself and help employees “connect to the why.” In addition, healthcare organizations that unify employee passion and organizational goals with learning and performance management have greater capacity for effective succession planning.
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