When your staff is happy, your patients are much more likely to be pleased with the care they receive. Unfortunately, lack of engagement is a problem in many workplaces, including post-acute care facilities. Only 33 percent of U.S. employees report that they’re engaged, according to a 2017 Gallup report. These four strategies can help post-acute care providers foster a culture of engagement.
Talk to Your Employees
Employees know why they’re not engaged, but may not be motivated to share that information with you. If they’ve worked for another employer who used employee survey information to chastise staff, they may be reluctant to tell you how they really feel. Whether you plan to send employees a formal survey or want to conduct informal interviews, it’s essential to emphasize that the information your staff provides will not be used against them.
Concentrating on a few issues initially, such as employee/supervisor relationships, working conditions, professional development opportunities, relationships with co-workers, and the factors that motivate your staff, can help ensure that you don’t become overwhelmed by all of the information you receive.
Tell Them What You’re Going to Do
When you share the results of the survey with your staff, identify one or two issues that you will address immediately. Choose problems that are easy to correct quickly, such as adding more tables to the employee break room, replacing antiquated computers or laptops with newer models, or using a GPS system to find wayward physical therapy department equipment.
Periodically provide updates on thornier issues and the changes you plan to make. If employees report that cooperation between departments is lacking, you might note that you plan to get both sides together to review procedures, challenges, and communication methods.
Share Organizational Strategies and Goals
It’s difficult to be engaged when you don’t feel that what you do makes a difference. When you share your organizational strategies and goals with your staff, explain how every department in the facility contributes to the success of the organization. When goals or benchmarks are met, let employees share in the good news. If progress is slower than expected, ask for employee input and suggestions.
Improve Work/Life Balance
Poor work/life balance is particularly common in the healthcare field. In fact, 43 percent of nurses surveyed by RNNetwork reported that their workplaces don’t support a healthy work/life balance. Employees’ personal lives don’t just disappear the moment they walk through your doors. Concerns about sick children, elderly parents, transportation difficulties, and other issues can keep your staff from being fully engaged while they’re at work.
Your post-acute care facility probably doesn’t have an unlimited budget to eliminate all of those worries, but you can do a few things to make your employees’ lives easier, such as:
Emulating school districts by staffing a pool of qualified substitute employees who can fill in when a staff member can’t come to work due to an illness. If the pool is shared with other facilities, there will be enough work to keep the substitute employees busy.
Reimbursing employees for using car-sharing services when public transportation is delayed or their own cars are out of service.
Offering professional development sessions and programs that can enhance your employees’ wellbeing, such as lunchtime yoga or mindfulness training.
Celebrating when goals are met with low-cost activities, such as free lunches or shoulder massages from a massage therapist.
It’s never too late to make changes to motivate and support your staff. When your facility embraces a culture of engagement, you may be surprised by the number of resulting positive changes.