Healthcare organizations are struggling to retain their work forces, and the people they do retain are often disengaged. Employee engagement can have a huge impact on the quality of care being administered, with engaged employees displaying a genuinely caring attitude towards patients 85 percent of the time, while their counterparts only showed genuine care 38 percent of the time.

Like all change, engagement can’t be forced. It is incumbent on Leaders to create an environment in which stakeholders are not just engaged in improving performance and hoping to measure up, but should be focused on performing differently.

Engagement starts with leaders, cascades to physicians and employees, and from there, affects patients.

So how will organizations know when employees are motivated to contribute to the company’s success? The proof is tangible. Key employees give their best and make additional efforts to accomplish important tasks in order to reach objectives. With this in mind, those employees can be roughly categorized into three types:

 Engaged collaborators: They are very enthusiastic about their situation and their employer. They consistently give their best and make significant efforts. 

Non-engaged collaborators: They show poor emotional allegiance. They contribute to the company, but in at a minimum level.

Disengaged collaborators: They are not at all invested in their work.

Sometimes, they even actively work against their company. This set shows a much higher rate of absenteeism.

Decades of experience have taught us that if you engage employees around a common mission and strategy, results will fall into place. Today’s health-care system is under increasing pressure to provide high-quality, affordable services with fewer resources, it may be wise to investigate new sector-specific ways of evaluating and managing performance.

Instead of a heavy focused on improving patient care and outcomes, organizations often believe that investing in cutting-edge equipment, new medicines, and innovative treatments is a measure of success. And, while it’s true that these elements all factor into the customer experience when reaching out to member services and care management agents, or the quality of care a patient receives, what is often overlooked is a health plan’s performance management scorecard. Most organizations rely on employee feedback, however, most employees are aware that barcoding and digital signatures are uses to identify respondents, so most employees are not 100% honest in answering those surveys and fear retaliation.

According to the The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), improving patient care has always been a healthcare priority, but outcomes are now tied directly to the bottom line. CMS takes into account quality care and patient satisfaction measures to determine how much they will reimburse eligible providers. Interactions between healthcare employees and patients can often determine the patient satisfaction measures that influence this reimbursement.

Based on extensive experience coaching health systems, community hospitals and physician organizations on how to increase employee engagement, The Studer Group suggest that financial and safety benefits of high employee engagement are well known and consist of:

  • Engaged employees are less likely to find “work-arounds” for safety procedures.
  • High employee engagement reduces turnover.
  • Organizations who sustain excellence share a common trait of engaged employees.
  • Ultimately, engagement of all stakeholders – patients, leaders, clinicians and employees – is the human dimension of healthcare transformation that the industry needs now more than ever.

Healthcare organizations focused on engaging their employees in a fair and ethical way, can arrest the high turnover rates as high as 30 percent in the first year according to a study conducted by McKinsey in collaboration with Harvard; and can reduce the average 20 percent (a fifth of the workforce) of employees noting to feel ambivalent or disengaged.