While having your cake and letting your healthcare employees eat it too, is great for office birthday parties – it’s not an effective engagement strategy. Cake doesn’t make people want to work harder or longer. It doesn’t magically make a micro-manager go away, even if she does allow someone else to divvy up the pieces, and it won’t make employees feel heard, understood, and respected. It’s cake. It’s fluffy and delicious, and even comes with frosting - but it’s not a magical cure-all.
An employee engagement strategy is one that is tailored to the issues that keep your employees from being engaged in their work. An Intranet is a great resource to help you with employee engagement as it acts as a centralized hub for positive communication exchanges and relationship building.
Hospitals with actual real-life engaged employees outperform their competition in profits, productivity and turnover. Their employees and physicians go the extra mile for their hospitals because they are emotionally connected to their work, and they identify, on a personal level, with the mission of their organization, it’s purpose, and values.
If you’re only worried about your bottom line, keep in mind that hospitals with unengaged employees result in lost productivity each year, driving costs to make up for these inefficiencies. Many healthcare staff would go so far as to classify themselves as not only unproductive, but unhappy in their current roles too. For clinical staff, the hours are arduous and the subject matter can often be challenging or depressing. It is important to pay attention to the cues from these staff to be sure they feel like they have a voice.
Here are 5 strategies successful companies use to engage their employees, increase the likelihood that employees will establish a positive emotional connection with their organization, create an environment in which they will thrive, increase productivity levels, boost the bottom line, earn higher retention rates, increase the sense of health and well-being of employees and decrease the cost of healthcare.
Sounds pretty good, right? Here is your first slice:
- Make Your Employees Feel Like They Matter
By being clear and communicative above what is expected of each of your employees, from the quality of their work, to your hospital’s mission, to their purpose and how they can contribute is the first step in demonstrating how they matter. Hospitals are run by people, not robots, or machines. As such: genuine, honest relationships need to be built between management and individual employees; the type of relationships that build trust and comradery. There are many ways to start the process. For example, give your employees the freedom to adjust their work schedules to better suit their needs. Offering flexibility in scheduling has proven to turn out more productive, happier, and more engaged staff. You can easily use your Intranet to support this strategy. Features like forums, online chat tools, idea banks, and access to corporate policies can assist you with this mission.
- Enable Your Employees
As growing professionals, your employees need and seek the tools, resources and training they need to thrive in their roles. By showing interest in their growth, both personally and professionally, you are not only showing a commitment to helping them do a better job, but they are more likely to become invested in their work as a result.
An employee’s perception of how their company values them can be directly correlated to the amount of training for both hard and soft skills they are provided. Proper training and development along with clarity on how to find help, get work done, and make decisions are important support tools that are needed for an employee to feel motivated, well-prepared, happier and motivated. With the right balance of support and hands-off management along with the proper tools, you’ll save the energy of wasted time and gain the precious time of your employees invested in their work.
Through the use of your Intranet, you can provide the means for staff to take classes online or access learning management system resources to further their skills. Additionally, Intranet features like Wikis or access to training files and documents allow them to learn at their leisure.
The goal should be to be as transparent and informative as possible with your employees, so they know where to go with their questions, requests and ideas. In addition, allowing your employees to be decision makers gives them a greater sense of responsibility and ownership and is an excellent building block to trust as opposed to micro-management. Online forms, idea banks and chat forums are some Intranet features that can provide your staff with the two-way and direct communication outlets they need to ask these questions and generate ideas.
- Make Your Employees Feel Heard
Employees need to know that their contributions provide value. This can easily be done by showing employees where they fit in within the structure of the company, what their overall purpose is, and how their work positively impacts the company’s success.
When employees feel that there are being heard, that their opinion not only matters, but is an asset to the company it will instill a level of confidence and personal pride in the company. This can be two-way, as well. No one likes to hear news second hand when giving your employees first-hand, first-account information you make them feel important, empowered, and a part of your organization.
As mentioned above, a feature like an idea bank can be useful with this strategy as well as it is a way for your employees to provide ideas about change that they’d like to see within the organization, at the facility or within their departments.
- Give Recognition
Recognition is a two-way street. Employees need to know where they stand with you, but you also need to know where you stand with them and should be actively seeking that feedback from your employees on a regular basis. By doing so you provide your employees with a stake in the direction of your organization.
As an employer, it’s imperative that you express to your employees that their work matters, that it contributes to the success of the organization and that you’re proud of it. Often overlooked by larger hospitals, acknowledgment by management among peers it the quickest way to build trust, restore once strained relationships and energize the work environment.
It’s not something that has to be complicated but is something that needs to go beyond a once-a-year annual review. A simple “thank you” for a job well done can be an incredibly powerful tool in showing an employee that you appreciate their work, and them.
Many Intranets contain employee recognition tools allowing you to highlight staff for a job well done and so other staff can recognize each other.
- Develop Trust
To avoid an “us vs. them” perception of the management-employee relationship transparency in communication must be paramount. When management is accessible, visible, and approachable in and around the office and facility, employees will develop a deeper investment in the healthcare organization and help to create a more cooperative atmosphere.
An Intranet can help here as well. Giving C suite executives and managers the ability to blog on the Intranet or post stories to their respectful department pages can bridge that gap between upper management and their employees.
Improving employee engagement isn’t difficult or complex, it’s simply something that is made a priority, and is the core function of any successful company. Rather than trying to fix a lack of employee engagement with employee appreciation days, or office birthday parties – put in the work needed to show your employees that they matter, and their voices are heard. Give them the tools they need to succeed and hand out recognition. Lastly, build those relationships that earn the trust of your employees to create an environment where engagement will flourish.