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The Importance of Healthcare Employee Engagement In Challenging Times
Employee engagement encompasses all interactions an employee has with their employer. It is the structure and culture of the organisation and it is how the employee perceives the company.
Among the top challenges facing healthcare organisations today are the shortage of nurses, cost controls, and retention of staff. Each of these challenges directly impacts employee engagement and can determine how staff feel about their workplace.
Research by Glassdoor indicates that 53% of employees are confident that if they quit or lose their current job, they would be able to find a comparable position within six months. To us, this makes it pretty clear that if you don’t give employees a compelling reason to stay, then indeed they will find another job that does. When competition for top talent is fierce and the cost of training is high, you cannot afford not to focus on employee engagement.
How can I drive employee engagement in my organisation?
Line managers are an integral part of the employee engagement solution as they influence issues that drive declination in how an employee feels about their work environment. Improving receptivity towards ideas and suggestions, providing flexibility and some autonomy to staff around hours (as appropriate), empowering employees to make decisions, and rewarding teamwork increases employee engagement and trust in the organisation. If employees feel trusted, then in turn, they will trust who they work for.
Adding to that, a culture of strong communication and teamwork improves work performance in the healthcare industry. Communication in a healthcare setting is a key factor in providing better patient care and improve patient satisfaction.
Employees can leave tomorrow
With changes in the healthcare job market, employees have many more job opportunities open to them than has been the case in the past. This puts employees in the driver’s seat as they know that if they aren’t fully engaged with a high level of job satisfaction, they can likely easily find something better, and in a short period of time. With this knowledge, employers need to both attract employees and retain employees. Employee attrition can be very costly for organisations, so when you work to provide a great environment where employees can do their best work, they will want to stay.
Today’s employees no longer stay in one job for life. Instead, they are attracted to choose a position that aligns with their values and where they feel that they can be engaged and add value. A strong company culture leads to employees being committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivates them to contribute to organisational success, and helps them develop and keep a positive attitude towards their work.
Research conducted by the University of Aberdeen revealed that that feeling undervalued is more stressful to nurses than the actual work. Accordingly, to Professor Derek Johnston, the effects of demand are reduced If the nurse feels that they are in control and that their work is valued.
Improving the values and culture of your healthcare organisation will increase employee satisfaction which impacts in staff retention and better delivery of patient care.
Managers play an important role in creating a culture that promotes building relationships with nurses and makes them feel important and valued. Setting a tone of teamwork, making communication a priority, soliciting ideas and recognising signs of low morale can highly improve employee satisfaction. Nursing is by its very nature a very demanding profession but in the future organisations that place a priority on engaging their staff will benefit in the long term.
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