For businesses, the customer always comes first. However, providing top-notch customer service is contingent on an engaged workforce. Fostering a culture of engagement promotes a willingness to go the extra mile for those they serve. Building such a positive community in a healthcare organization requires sponsorship from top administrators, initiative from employees, and a commitment to creating a safe workplace to which everyone wants to return every day.
Engaging Achievements and Pitfalls
The idea that employee engagement should come first has long been a centerpiece of employment strategies. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, those healthcare organizations with the highest rated employment engagement levels are rated top in terms of overall rankings, communication among nurses, and workplace safety. Furthermore, according to API Healthcare, employee engagement leads to less absenteeism and retention of staff over longer periods of time.
The truth is that many health care employees simply do not feel engaged in the workplace. Twenty-six percent of nurses are looking to leave their position in two years or less and 34 percent reported not feeling supported or cared for. With those numbers affecting healthcare organizations daily and eroding the potential for high-quality customer service, healthcare employers are beginning to analyze just how to reclaim the hearts and minds of their employees.
Developing an EVP
At the hiring phase, it is important to lay out for your potential new hire two key points: what you expect from them and what they should expect from you. This road map is called an Employee Value Proposition or EVP. Towers Watson says the value of the EVP is that it attracts devoted talent while retaining longstanding employees. It is a building block to success, a promise to help the new employee get to the next level and a contract for employment engagement.
Despite this, only 38 percent of nurses buy into their employer’s EVP. Instead, they feel that their employers do not live up to their promises. EVPs can be improved by makingthem a hallmark of hiring nursing employees. Nurses serve as the backbone of a healthcare system by providing the longest continual customer care. By improving EVPs to include clear cut expectations as well as goals and benchmarks, nurses can feel more assured that they are getting the most out of the employment promise.
Listening to Employees
True engagement comes in many forms, but where most employees take note is when they feel that they are being listened to and that their voice is respected and understood. A study by Donahue, et al, featured in the research article, Does Healthcare Employee Satisfaction Effect Patient Experience of Care?, gives the example of nurses being empowered to make and report changes that would work for their organization. Along with every paycheck, they were provided with a short survey to fill out. Nurses who indicated a level of empowerment in terms of being supported and heard by their employers were more likely to be higher educated, more satisfied with their workplace, and had better retention rates.
Finally, employers must be cognizant of the effects of stress. With such a high-stakes, demanding job, it is no surprise that less than half of nurses report having manageable levels of stress while on the job. Healthcare organizations can overcome this issue by providing employees with opportunities to practice better self care. This may include providing memberships to gyms, improving staff-only facilities (such as lounges), or offering meditation and yoga classes for free.
Creating a Safe Work Environment
With violence against healthcare workers continuing to rise, it’s essential that employees feel safe in your facility. To retain your top performers and keep employees satisfied, you need to be able to create a safe work environment. This can be a challenge with thousands of people entering and exiting a hospital every day. Maintaining a safe environment for staff requires a comprehensive compliance management system as well as a team committed to managing that system without compromise. With IntelliCentrics , staff will know that every person has gone through a thorough but relevant screening process based on their roles—increasing safety and allowing employees to provide quality patient care.
Putting the Employee First for Better Customer Engagement
While adapting a healthcare system’s “customer’s always come first” motto can be difficult, research has shown that when employees are not cared and provided for, customer engagement also falls by the wayside as employees, especially nurses, have less buy-in and commitment. By evaluating the EVP to include ways to empower employees and manage stress and burnout, employers can see the rate of investment towards their employees pay off big in higher levels of customer care.