It may be a cliché, but your employees really are your most valuable assets. If you fail to create a strong work culture, you risk losing your best employees to your competitors. The entire hospital suffers when your top performers decide there are better places to work. Without the best and brightest, it’s difficult to create a positive culture that not only empowers and engages employees but also improves the patient experience.
Here are steps healthcare administrators can take to ensure a positive work atmosphere for employees.
Find Out What They Want
Building a positive work culture starts with understanding what drives your employees. Whether you use internal surveys or town hall sessions, obtaining this information is an essential part of developing an engagement strategy. Find out if employees understand their job expectations, can count on supervisors for support and guidance, and have the equipment and resources they need to do their jobs. Don’t assume you know what your employees want. Include open-ended questions that allow your staff to share their concerns and ideas- and be prepared and willing to respond to them.
If engagement was lacking in the not-too-distant past, a small group of administrators might gather in a conference room to create new programs or slogans sure to inspire employees. Unsurprisingly, those edicts from above rarely made much of an impact on staff attitudes and engagement.
Including employees at all levels, from environmental services to medical staff, is an essential step in assuring that you receive buy-in from the entire staff, not just a small percentage, when you create an engagement strategy.
Show Employees How They’re Making a Difference
A strong mission statement helps everyone become familiar with the hospital’s goals and priorities. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for employees to understand their part in accomplishing those goals.
When employees feel that they really make a difference and what they do matters, they’re more likely to be engaged. For example, if your new CAHPS Child Hospital Survey (Child HCAHPS) scores look great, let employees know that patients and parents are happy because of the outstanding care they received from the nurses but also that other departments who work with pediatric patients played an important role as well.
Offer Plenty of Learning Opportunities
Doing the same thing day after day gets boring fast. Engaged employees are constantly learning and making contributions to the workplace. Give your staff opportunities to develop new skills by sending them to classes and conferences, offering special assignments that allow them to learn new skills, and holding on-site seminars at the hospital. When you offer on-site classes and programs, make sure that staffing levels are adequate so employees can actually attend the sessions.
Every good deed doesn’t have to be rewarded with an impressive prize, although it’s always a wise idea to reward staff members who make significant contributions. A genuine “thank you” can help employees feel good about the work they do, whether they’re preparing patient meals or handling the latest crisis in the ER. Create a culture of gratitude that starts from the top and reaches every employee.
At a time when only 32 percent of employees are engaged nationally, it’s more important than ever to make creating a better hospital culture a priority. After all, happy employees mean happier patients.
Help your team ensure patient satisfaction by distributing this Patient-Centered Guide to your nurse managers.