Healthcare professionals work hard to keep patients satisfied, safe, and healthy. Organizations in the healthcare industry invest in top specialists, high-end technology, and research-backed health programs to improve their profitability. There is one variable that is often overlooked: employee satisfaction and happiness.
Why Employee Job Satisfaction is Crucial
Job satisfaction and employee engagement have a direct impact on patient care quality. When nurses are highly engaged and happy, patient mortality rates are known to be lower. Happy employees are motivated to do their job better. This leads to lower mistakes and therefore lower spending on malpractice claims. Like any other industry, healthcare workers tend to provide better care when they are invested and happy in their jobs.
The Current State of Healthcare Workers
Over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented burnout rates among healthcare workers. Frontline workers have suffered a heavy toll due to the influx of hospitalizations and have been dealing with burnout, exhaustion, and stress from their work. According to a survey conducted in 2020, 93% of employees in the healthcare industry experienced stress. A large number of healthcare professionals have considered leaving their jobs since the pandemic began.
Stress among healthcare workers is not new. Even before the pandemic, healthcare workers have been prone to burnout and exhaustion due to the nature of their work. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to measure employee engagement and satisfaction levels. Low employee engagement can stem from many reasons such as industry changes, mandates, and employee turnover rates. Many organizations today are investing more time and effort into discovering problems faced by their employees. Some are even addressing these problems, but there is still a lot of work to be done. With the right strategy in place, it is possible to improve employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, and provide better support to healthcare workers.
Understanding Employee Engagement
Employee engagement refers to the connection that employees feel with their workplace. Employee happiness is quite different from engagement, but both are important. Happy employees are satisfied with their work and employees that are engaged are committed to always improving the work they do. Employee engagement impacts performance and organizations. In the healthcare industry, engaged employees positively impact patient safety, quality of care, and satisfaction rates. Investing in employees will ultimately benefit the financial performance of a hospital because it impacts every area of the organization.
Employee Satisfaction Affects Patient Experiences
Healthcare organizations work with the aim to provide excellent care to their patients. When healthcare workers are not engaged, there may be adverse patient outcomes. Care quality and employee engagement have a strong relationship. Low job satisfaction leads to higher turnover rates. In the healthcare industry, there is a steep cost associated with employee turnover. The recruitment costs are high and staff turnover also impacts patient safety, patient access, and quality of care. Employees who continue to work although they are unhappy at work can make mistakes due to burnout, stress, and increased workload.
Highly engaged employees work hard to provide high-quality service to patients. They are committed to their jobs and this can be seen in the efficiency of care they deliver, as well as in patient satisfaction and recommendations from patients. They genuinely care about their patients, and this is the biggest benefit of investing in employee engagement initiatives.
Ways to Improve Healthcare Employee Satisfaction
Fortunately, there are many easy ways to improve employee satisfaction and engagement through solutions like benefits and compensation. Providing development opportunities and skills training is also a critical strategy to nurture job engagement. Here are a few other ways healthcare organizations can improve employee satisfaction.
Value Employee Feedback
One of the best ways to improve employee satisfaction is to welcome feedback. Employee feedback is a valuable tool to understand the satisfaction levels of your employees and which areas require improvement. There are a variety of tools that can be used to gather staff feedback. Written or digital feedback forms and in-person interviews are two great ways to learn more about what your current employees are feeling about their jobs.
Employee feedback will allow you to design and implement policies that will improve employee satisfaction. It can be invaluable for creating a supportive, positive culture. This practice also enhances communication between healthcare staff members and admin professionals.
Invest in Employee Development
Employees may often feel uncertain about their career path, and they often leave for other organizations that provide them with advancement opportunities. If you provide a clear career advancement plan to employees, they will be more motivated to work toward those milestones. Knowing that they have advancement opportunities in their own organizations will make them feel that their work matters.
Employees also need to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Create clear guidelines and definitions for each role in your organization. Talk to employees about how their work contributes to the overall success of the organization. You can also work on creating advancement plans for each role so that your organizational goals are aligned with the career goals of your employees. When you work with employees to create a clear path of advancement, they will have something to look forward to. It will also allow them to personally measure their efforts so that they can adjust their efforts when needed and enhance their performance.
Invest in Employee Training
Employees are happier when they have access to training and developmental courses. Employees who have opportunities to develop their skills are more engaged and are less likely to leave their organization. It is important for healthcare organizations to invest in training opportunities for their employees. One of the main reasons is that the cost of investing in training courses is a lot less than that of recruiting new employees. Recruiting new employees involves a lot of resources and time for interviewing, reference checks, hiring, onboarding, and training.
There are a lot of options available today where employees can improve their skills through online programs. Spring Arbor University, for example, offers an online MSN Nurse Practitioner Program where students can pursue a high-demand specialization while studying at their own time and pace.
Investing in employee training is important because it affects employee engagement, productivity, motivation, and retention. Healthcare employees are lifelong learners that like to learn new skills. When they are not provided the means or support to advance their skills, they look for opportunities elsewhere. Supporting employees that are interested in learning new skills also improves their performance and the profitability of organizations.
Investing in employee training pays off when it comes to patient satisfaction and quality of care. Employees will feel better equipped at their job, will understand their responsibilities better, and will be more inclined to work harder.
One of the most effective ways to improve employee satisfaction is by improving communications within the organization. When internal communication is vague or poor, employees are not engaged. It is important to have clear guidelines and plans in place to provide employees with directions and to share news and critical information. Clear communication will also make it easier for employees to understand the goals of the organization. This, in turn, will help them be motivated and productive.
Opportunities, where employees are provided training and coaching from senior colleagues, are an effective way to improve productivity and morale. Mentorship programs can help build interpersonal relationships and reduce turnover rates. Employees that participate in mentorship programs can learn new skills and feel more confident in the work they do. This is an easy and effective way to enhance employee happiness.
Recognition and rewards can be very valuable tools when it comes to improving employee satisfaction and morale in the healthcare industry. Employees need regular feedback about their work, praise, and recognition for their completed work to feel valued. Showing them that their work is contributing to the success of the organization is very important. Implement strategies for public acknowledgment of achievements, bonuses, and rewards to show employees that their work is appreciated. This will also motivate other employees to work harder.
Mental Health Resources
Healthcare workers are stressed due to the nature of their work and their long working hours. Working in the healthcare industry is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. Things have become incredibly more challenging during the pandemic. The challenges presented by the pandemic have influenced the mental and physical health of healthcare workers. They are experiencing high levels of stress, burnout, and anxiety. Now, more than ever before, it is crucial to provide them with resources to support their well-being. Healthcare organizations can provide their employees with free counseling services, assistance programs, and other free resources that can help them combat burnout and stress. Employees will appreciate having access to these resources and will feel more valued.
It may be challenging to create a work environment that fosters employee happiness, but the results are worth the effort. Engaged, happy, and satisfied healthcare employees are crucial for delivering better care to patients.