The importance of employee engagement cannot be overstated. Specifically, for hospital support services and operations the driving aspect of the success of your program is hinged on the engagement levels of your staff. Many studies focus on the engagement levels of clinical team members for hospitals, however very few focus on the support service teams. Healthcare support service staff include all non-clinical roles, which are essential to providing a safe and efficient location for patient care. Imagine as a leader the time and increase in efficiency you will have if you are able to focus the time dedicated to employee turnover and attrition into a process improvement. Most importantly, engaged employees are happy employees. Their work is better, their interactions with other employees and our patients/guest is better, and their overall lives are better.
For some numbers according to Gallup on how this affects you:
85% of employees are not engaged at work. This means that you, as a leader, are working with 15% of the staff who are happy and want to be at work.
81% of employees polled would consider leaving their job today if another offer was presented.
61% of employees are burned out on the job.
Companies with engaged employees gain 2.5 times more revenue than those without engagement employees.
All of this sounds terrific, the overarching question is how do we do it? There are countless programs available to engage your staff. I believe there are three main areas to focus on for overall staff happiness and engagement in the healthcare support service arena:
This quality cannot be focused on enough for a leader of a Support Service division. Communication with your teams is vital to the department’s success. How do you do this? Simple, spend time with your team members. We implemented a program called, “Manage by Walking Around”. One day a month, our leadership team rotates through the different departments that eventually report through me and spend the day with our front-line staff. This gives the leadership team a direct insight into the operations of the department, an opportunity to recognize top performing individuals, and an opportunity to pinpoint pain points and areas of opportunities in the areas. More importantly, this gives us an opportunity to spend time with our staff in their element. There is something to be said about the way you would interact with someone in the board room versus in your office, the same applies here with your team members. Get out there and work with them, you never know you may have an undiscovered talent within the infection prevention or nutrition areas!
One on One Goal Setting
When we were interviewing an EVS front line team members and asked them what their annul goals were for the department, the team member recited these as if it was their middle initial. However, when we asked them to tell us what they were doing to get to our stretch goals for the year these individuals could not decipher how. This opened up a lot of direction within our Support Service leadership team. Most importantly, the importance of setting a goal for an individual that they could relate to. The team members could not tell us how they would improve our HCAHP scores or reduce the failed Infection Control testing. They could tell us how they would appropriate interact with a patient, how important it was to ensure a waste basket was emptied appropriately, and how important handwashing was for their assignments for the day. We took this and implemented one-on-one goals for each employee. This allowed the leadership teams the ability to continue to drive the best practice results we were focused on as well as giving the front-line team members a sense of involvement and accomplishment with the things they could control in their environment.
Recognition and Awards –
Acknowledgement of a job well done or an overarching accomplishment is extremely necessary in ensuring employees are engaged. Many of us forget this component, this doesn’t only apply to work related accomplishments. A direct supervisor or manager recognizing an employee for an overachieving accomplishment is an essential motivator and driver for employee engagement. One other component of this is to do this publicly. Focus on this during your daily huddles, many more of your staff will attend and participate if they know they will receive public acknowledgement for their accolades. Overall as well, this makes both the employees react positively but also yourself. Imagine being able to focus the beginning of every huddle on things that were completed well versus focusing on areas of improvement.