3 Disturbing Facts You Need To Know About Healthcare Employee Engagement

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There is a multitude of different types of employees who fall under the healthcare industry — all of which are necessary in keeping us safe and healthy. Unfortunately, there’s a crisis in healthcare employee engagement and that impact directly affects everyone.

According to the new Employee Engagement In Healthcare report from my company, Quantum Workplace, the healthcare industry is now dead last among 17 industries profiled. From 2014 to 2015, healthcare dropped a surprising six places in engagement rankings.

In a time where cutbacks and money saving initiatives are changing the face of healthcare, finding ways to keep these employees productive, motivated, and engaged is crucial. Here are three disturbing facts behind employee disengagement and how that is affecting the healthcare industry:

1. The millennial workforce is predominantly “checked out.”

Millennials are flooding the job market. Our report shows, as of 2015, 32 percent of the workforce was comprised of millennials, and by 2020, millennials will represent half of America’s workers. However, there is a major issue with retention rates. The Deloitte 2016 Millennial Survey found 66 percent of 7,700 millennials plan on leaving their jobs by 2020. Understanding millennials is the key to hiring quality candidates, engaging them, and improving retention rates.

Millennials aren’t blinded by dollar signs when deciding whether to stay with their current company or search for a new job. This generation is searching for meaningful work with an organization that has solid values and a quality mission statement. Healthcare sounds like the perfect place for them, right?

New research shows the solution lies in how this generation sees the world they live in. The 2016 Millennial Impact Study found 90 percent of the the 75,000 millennials surveyed in August think they can have an impact in the U.S. to make it a better place to live. Helping millennials make the connection between their jobs and the betterment of those around them, will bring them closer to checking back in.

What the Best Places to Work are doing: A company in our study resolved the issue of employees not believing in the connection between engagement efforts and quality of care. They took the number of mishaps in the hospital and connected it to their engagement. The higher the engagement, the less they saw errors.

What you need to do: To fully make this connection, ask employees what they think the company needs to improve upon in order to provide the best care for patients or customers. Using this feedback to implement change throughout the organization will prove you are interested in impacting the world too.

2. Hospital CEO turnover rate remains high.

Hospital CEOs aren’t hanging around to implement complex regulations or deal with consolidation repercussions, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). In fact, their American College of Healthcare Executives Hospital CEO Turnover report shows the rate is sitting at 18 percent — only slightly less than the record high of 20 percent in 2013.

Replacing CEOs is time consuming and expensive. However, replacing everyone who quits after a CEO leaves is even more damaging. When employees lose faith in their organization because they see a high turnover of leadership, it’s difficult to keep them motivated, productive, and passionate about their work.

What the Best Places to Work are doing: Jackson Healthcare knew something needed to change due to their high rates of turnover. They understood in order to tackle the issue of retention, they needed to start at the source — find out why people are leaving. The company took a deeper look at how others leaving affects current employees. They began pairing exit surveys with peer surveys to gain new insight into turnover and take action.

What you need to do: Use peer feedback and communication to get a better understanding of how retention issues are affecting your team. This will provide opportunities to create clearer change geared specifically toward employees who are still with you and prevent further turnover.

3. Nurses fear retaliation and discipline.

Knowing leaders value employees as their most important resource is ranked fourth as a driving factor of healthcare employee engagement, according to our data. However, efforts to save money with cutbacks and innovative tools are leaving employees overworked and scared — causing them to feel undervalued and disengaged.

This is having an even greater impact on patient care. An overwhelming one-third of nurses said they would hesitate to report an error or patient safety concern because they feared retaliation or being disciplined, according to Washington State Nurses Association’s 2016 Patient Safety Survey.

What the Best Places to Work are doing: Cardon Outreach took the first step toward change: acknowledging they had a problem. Their outdated recognition system was inefficient and difficult to use. They switched from their old platform to a new system that incorporated their values: integrity, compassion, and innovation — core values anyone could get behind.

Within 24 hours of putting the new recognition software into place, they had over 100 peer-recognition posts and continue to get an average of 300 posts per month, 1,400 post “likes,” and 425 post comments. In this case, by easily being able to see and give recognition, value was placed back into the hands of employees.

What you need to do: Offer feedback and recognition from both peers and leaders. Asking employees for their opinions and then allowing them to see positive changes evolving from their feedback will help healthcare organizations bring trust back into the field, and recognizing their hard work will reignite workplace engagement.

I challenge you to put these tips to practice. As a healthcare company that places patient and employee experience at the forefront, you will begin to see a rise in employee productivity, motivation, retention, and engagement.

How have you tried to engage healthcare employees? Do you think it worked? Let us know!

Greg Harris is the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day. You can connect with Greg and the Quantum Workplace team on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

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