Plenty of people will tell you how the American health system is broken. And yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. Even in America’s bloated health care system, some hospitals manage to hold down costs while maintaining high levels of care. As they look for ways to improve patient outcomes, many health care organizations are focusing on boosting employee engagement. Our research has shown that hospitals with higher levels of employee engagement also enjoy higher levels of patient satisfaction, quality outcomes, and staff retention. This article will explore how one health care organization, Sanford Health, improved operations by researching and boosting Employee Engagement.
Sanford Health’s more than 10,000 employees provide care across four states. Sanford’s directors knew that in order to be a leader in health care, they needed to increase productivity and cooperation among employees while boosting the quality of care and the number of positive outcomes. They decided to take an Employee Engagement Management (EEM) approach to help meet and surpass their goals.
The first step Sanford Health took was conducting an organization-wide study to learn the existing drivers of employee engagement. The results of this employee survey revealed areas of focus to increase engagement. Once the survey results were compiled and analyzed, over 400 managers were granted access to an online EEM tool provided by PeopleMetrics. The tool allowed managers to analyze survey results and develop detailed action plans for their teams. Upper management could review managers’ action plans, determine areas of improvement, track progress, and share action plans across the organization. Thanks to actionable results and easy-to-use management tools, Sanford continues to boost employee engagement and improve patient outcomes.
So why does employee engagement management improve patient outcomes at hospitals? Why does it improve hospital operations?
First, EEM works because health care is a people-based industry. Nurses, doctors, and other health professionals need to feel supported and respected by their managers. If they do, they are more likely to feel enthusiastic about their work and be inspired to do a great job. Passionate, dedicated employees are more productive, period. EEM also helps to improve retention. When health care employees feel jazzed about their workplace, they’re more likely to stay for the long haul. This allows them to better understand the procedures and requirements of their workplace. Basically, when health care employees are engaged, they are personally invested in their work. They find fulfillment in their work, and are more likely to put forth their best efforts.
If a job represents little more than a paycheck, then why would employees act otherwise? Everyday, employees decide (consciously or unconsciously) whether they will go above and beyond the basic expectations of their position. When they are engaged in their work, they have the motivation to strive for their very best. As Peter Lanser wrote in an article on health care workers’ engagement for HR Pulse, “Engagement is when your employees give it their all, not because you are paying or rewarding them to do so, but because it is who they are. Their own personal identity is caught up in the performance of their job, and their personal identity and their work role identity become one and the same.” Like workers in other industries, health care workers are more likely to produce excellent work when they are engaged with their work. Engaged health care workers provide more efficient and better patient care, making Employee Engagement Management an excellent approach for improving patient outcomes.
Topic: Employee Experience
Posted on 09-22-2009