Employee Engagement in Healthcare: The Impact on Providers and the Business
Perhaps more than in any other industry, healthcare employees are the face of the customer experience. Both their work and interpersonal skills shape the success of their organizations in the eyes of patients and the larger community. With that in mind, a growing number of healthcare providers are implementing innovative ways to enable and equip their employees to be successful. How does a strong focus on employee engagement help fuel the happiness of healthcare workers—and in turn lead to positive patient experiences?
Scaling Feedback Collection Without Missing a Beat
Soliciting feedback and encouraging employee engagement is critical work at any organization, but in larger, more complex organizations, it can be hard for management to keep a pulse on the concerns, challenges, and priorities of their staff. Yet this is a crucial undertaking for any healthcare organization that understands the link between employee satisfaction and patient care.
Spectrum Health, a healthcare system based in West Michigan with almost 30,000 employees, put this belief into practice by implementing a high-impact employee engagement strategy that fit the complex and unique needs of its business. Consider the perspective of Spectrum’s department chief for the acute health and continuing care clinical service line, Dr. Josh Kooistra. He manages a team of more than 250 clinicians, including trauma surgeons, emergency physicians, and hospice physicians.
In an ideal world, Dr. Kooistra would meet one-on-one with all his physicians and staff, listen to their feedback, and work with them to identify and implement solutions to their biggest challenges. In the real world, it’s an impossible task. Instead, he turns to employee engagement technology to help him scale his efforts. “Glint has allowed me to gain feedback from each individual that chooses to participate,” he says. “I look through each and every comment and each and every score. It’s been a great platform for me as a leader to feel connected with the front line.”
These insights enable Dr. Kooistra and other leaders at Spectrum to operate at scale without missing any critical conversations: “Glint allows us to listen to individuals on a broad scale, something we wouldn’t be able to achieve necessarily by having one-on-one conversations with everyone.” With the support of data-based insights and in-platform coaching, Spectrum’s leaders are empowered to engage employees to explore issues and together determine the course of action they can take to address it.
Feedback Translates into Action
How exactly does employee feedback lead to results at Spectrum? Through timely, focused action. Simply put, it’s the catalyst for meaningful change that can immediately and directly improve the environment for both employees and patients.
Spectrum’s staff is on the front line—taking care of patients and driving the safety and quality of that care—and their feedback directly impacts both the employee and patient experience. According to Dr. Kooistra, “Using Glint empowers us to get employee feedback about processes that can be improved and that’s incredibly valuable.” Here are a couple of examples of how that looks in practice:
- After one survey, Spectrum discovered that a regional payment system was causing headaches for staff. As a result, Spectrum implemented a change and adopted a different—and well received—model that eased the process for staff and physicians.
- Spectrum’s director of professional coding, Leisa Kimbrough, learned that many on her team of 170 coders wanted the flexibility to work from home. In response, Spectrum gave the coders laptops and permission to work remotely. The result? Higher productivity and a decline in employee turnover. “Engaged employees are more inspired to be on the team, knowing that they’re a part of Spectrum’s success,” says the Kimbrough.
Focusing on Continuous Improvement
Healthcare organizations are quick to learn that employee engagement is not a one-and-done exercise. To get the most from their efforts—in other words, better operations and happy employees who deliver high-quality care—organizations need to make employee engagement a core part of their culture. Doing so makes their employees feel truly heard and valued, and also delivers continuous value to the organization.
Perhaps Dr. Kooistra explains it best. “We’re in our sixth round of Glint surveys, and what we’ve done with it so far has been quite incredible. After getting employee feedback in the first survey, we identified themes and were able to target our approach for what we needed to implement to improve our patient and our staff engagement. We then came up action plans for each of the themes and show our providers the actions that we are taking—showing our focus on their wellness and listening to their suggestions for improvement on how we care for our patients.”
Through its intentional employee engagement efforts, powered by Glint’s People Success Platform, Spectrum is creating a culture that is transparent, intentional, and committed to continuous improvement. Watch our latest video to learn more: