Driving Community Health Through Employee Engagement: Spectrum’s Story
A myriad of trends—from the consolidation of insurers and providers to industry reforms like the Affordable Care Act—have permanently altered the healthcare landscape. Not only have these trends pushed healthcare organizations into a seemingly continuous state of change, but they have also shifted the patient experience more squarely in the center of their success.
One healthcare organization—Spectrum Health, West Michigan’s largest employer—is taking these changes in stride, finding innovative ways to enable and equip employees and clinical staff to effectively deliver on what’s important to patients. One of these innovative approaches? Listening intently to their employees and responding quickly and effectively to continuously improve the employee experience.
Spectrum Health’s mission is to improve the health of the community that it serves. Like many healthcare organizations, the system employs a mix of care providers and business/administrative staff, amounting to approximately 30,000 employees.
Staff across the business know that they each play a critical role in Spectrum’s mission. As Cheryl Sinclair, Nurse Manager for Surgery at Spectrum Health says, “If our employees are not satisfied, that transitions over to our patients and so recognizing the satisfaction of employees is just as important as the satisfaction of our patients.”
Improving Business Results Through Action Taking
Engagement begins with gathering feedback to understand employee concerns, ideas, and challenges. But it’s taking action on feedback that transforms an employee survey from a one-way information-gathering tool to a pathway for true and better engagement.
Understanding this critical distinction, Spectrum Health uses Glint to enable its employee engagement program and support its broader mission.
Leisa Kimbrough is Director of Professional Coding at Spectrum. Her group of about 200 people codes the claims related to patients getting care from Spectrum Health, which are then sent to the health plan so Spectrum can get paid.
“I oversee five managers, thirteen supervisors, and about 170 coders. My team codes patient claims and those claims get sent to the appropriate health plan so we get reimbursed. If we get the codes wrong, Spectrum Health loses revenue.”
After the first Glint survey, Kimbrough created a Listening Survey Group—consisting of 12-14 coders from all the specialty lines, along with supervisors and a team manager. This group meets monthly to review the Glint survey results, determine what is most important to the coding team, and create and execute action plans to ensure the team continues to feel engaged.
In one instance, the survey results revealed a previously-unknown issue: the team was hungry for more flexibility, especially the opportunity to work from home. In response to this challenge, Kimbrough instituted a new remote work policy and provided employees with laptops for the first time.
As a result, Kimbrough says, productivity has improved, as well as the team’s engagement scores. In addition, turnover has declined: “Our retention rate is higher now that we’re using Glint and taking action on feedback,” she says. “Engaged employees are more inspired to be on the team, knowing that they’re a part of Spectrum’s success.”
By soliciting and taking action on her team’s feedback, Lisa keeps her team motivated to stay engaged and do their work accurately and efficiently. As she explains, this has a direct impact on revenue for Spectrum.
Engagement Directly Impacts Clinical Staff
Listening to employees and acting on their feedback is a proven way to reduce the likelihood of low engagement—a key indicator of looming burnout and a risk to the satisfaction and safety of the system’s patients. As Dr. Josh Kooistra, Spectrum Health’s department chief for the acute health and continuing care clinical service line, says, employee engagement is extremely important to provide good care to Spectrum’s patients. “If people are happy, they’re much more likely to provide good care, to be invested in the quality of the care that they’re providing. Listening to our employees and making their work life better helps instill pride in the care they’re providing. With that pride comes excellence.”
While it takes commitment and effort to ensure an effective employee engagement program, it’s well worth it. As Dr. Kooistra concludes, “Using Glint shows our frontline providers and staff that we truly are listening to their criticisms and their feedback and that their concerns are not falling on deaf ears. It provides us, as leaders, with a way to focus our change management and our strategies on how we’re going to engage and promote wellness within our staff and physicians.”
Watch our latest video to learn more about how Spectrum Health uses Glint’s People Success Platform to fuel its employee engagement strategy: