Quality patient care is a top priority of every healthcare organization. Interactions between healthcare associates and patients play a significant role in patient satisfaction, and organizations are continually striving to improve healthcare quality through associate and patient interaction. Associate engagement might offer the single most effective way to make these improvements.
What Is the Relationship Between Employee Engagement and Healthcare Quality?
Associate engagement leads to better experiences for everyone in the hospital setting, driving healthcare quality and boosting healthcare organizations' financial performance. Hospitals that improve either patient experience or associate engagement recognize improvement in how patients rate their care. Hospitals that will enhance both factors enjoy a compounding effect.
For associates, improved engagement leads to:
- Reduced job stress.
- Improved job satisfaction.
- Bolstered productivity.
- Enhanced relationships with management.
- Increased retention.
Those effects directly carry over to improving patient satisfaction. Happier, more engaged associates display an attitude of genuine care toward patients they interact with, and patients can sense this happiness. All in all, employee engagement leads to:
- Increased patient loyalty.
- Increased patient satisfaction.
- Improved quality of care.
Strategies to Improve Employee Engagement
Although many hospitals understand the positive relationship between employee engagement and healthcare quality, healthcare organizations still struggle to find ways to keep associates engaged. Hospitals can focus on some of the following areas to boost engagement:
- Communication: Associates respond well to clear, measurable goals that allow them to see how performance drives organizational success. Effective internal communication empowers associates to do their jobs well, and proactive communication ensures associates have the information they need to succeed.
- Recognition: Formal programs to celebrate associates help drive success in performance while fostering a team-based culture that keeps employees engaged. Recognition demonstrates to associates that their organization is listening and responding to their hard work.
- Volunteering as a team: Providing opportunities for associates to serve together enhances engagement. Research shows that workplaces that promote volunteering enjoy improved employee morale, a better workplace atmosphere, and enhanced brand perception.
- Diversity and inclusion: A diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace translates to associates who feel empowered to listen and share. Prioritizing diversity and inclusion builds a sense of belonging for associates from different backgrounds. Diversity and inclusion efforts also directly impact patient satisfaction, since employees can better respond to patients' cultural values.
- Training and development: Offering ongoing development and training helps associates reach their full potential. Associates are loyal to companies that provide opportunities for career growth.
Building Engagement Takes Time
Organizations may not see the results of engagement initiatives right away. It's essential to keep the ultimate goal of improved healthcare quality in mind while recognizing that building engagement takes time. In other words, engagement doesn't work as a seasonal activity or one-time event. Engagement is a slow and steady process. Healthcare organizations should strive to draw in more and more associates while implementing strategies that continue the culture of engagement for the long term.
When employees are engaged, they enjoy the work they do and feel valued. These sentiments translate into better patient care.