BLOG: How happy employees make healthier patients
Common sense tells us that a happy employee will have a positive impact in the customer experience and lead to a happy customer. When you work in healthcare, you picture the same principle which would ideally translate into a better experience for the patient, and a happy patient is, in most cases, a healthy one.
But how can hospitals operationalise an improved employee experience? Budget restrictions, careers freeze, especially in the nursing area, or frequent changes in labour legislation are examples of the turmoil faced by employers and employees in healthcare. Nevertheless, caregivers are the face of the hospital and have a relevant impact in the patients’ perception of the hospital care services.
To perform their duties at their best, every professional must feel their efforts recognised and reciprocity in commitment from the organisation.
When looking at employee experience, more than establishing processes that work, our objective is to innovate in search of experiences that improve the work performance, culture and, above all, the satisfaction of employees.
Having their workforce valued should be key for organisations when defining their operations. But how to do it? How can we combine the array of methodologies, tools, technologies and even buzzwords that the market throws at us? And how to maximize the benefit with all the constraints in our reality?
A simple initiative to reduce employee turnover while improving patient experience
It is fundamental that professionals have visibility and feel recognized for the work they deliver. Turnover issues are very common in hospitals, especially among nursing professionals. Inova, a US Virginia Hospital, was experiencing this and came up with a low investment solution. They started applying a personality assessment as part of their recruitment process.
Inova realized how important it is to align the personality of the nurses with the social skills demanded for the department they are allocated to. Nurses who presented a more attending and communicative profile were considered to perform best in the A&E department, supporting patients and their families in a distressing situation. Nurses who revealed a higher tendency to focus on details were allocated to the operation theatre. The impact of this simple measure was quickly felt by the patients and their families, and professionals were getting higher satisfaction from their job, increasing their motivation to contribute to the organisation.
The role of technology
Technology has also proven to be a strong enabler improving employees experience. For instance, mobile solutions allow nurses to immediately access all patient clinical information when they need it and where they need it, without all the hazard of paper records, errors and duplication, or delays. This frees up time for quality interactions with the patients, thus providing a better patient experience.
Maybe we can’t change all variables at once. Maybe we can’t have a perfect working environment quite yet. But starting by implementing systems and tools will have a huge impact. The adoption of solutions that reduce the duplication of tasks and optimise the time dedicated to take care of the patient are examples that help improving the working conditions of healthcare professionals, protecting both caregivers and patients from possible clinical errors.
Regardless of hierarchical positions, all professionals should be involved in the design and implementation of this type of strategies. Whatever you implement, it should be a reflex of the ecosystem’s ambitions, rather than a mediocre instrument created out of some theoretical concepts.
So, involve your teams, understand your reality, align your priorities, start small, but think big. The focus on employee wellbeing must be a key part of healthcare organisations’ macro strategy to achieve an improved patient experience.
Learn more in Glintt's workshop at UK e-Health Week 2018 in London (15-16 May) - 'Navigating the Analytics Journey – improving operational and financial efficiency and patient experience', which will focus on enhancing planning and scheduling of surgeries and ward management through analytics and operational research methodologies. Glintt will also be at stand 220