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How to Improve Employee Engagement in Healthcare

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

How to Improve Employee Engagement in Healthcare

No one can undermine how the Australian healthcare industry stood out after the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. The bravery and relentless dedication of healthcare workers, giving their all to their patients, truly sparked admiration. But the pandemic did more than just spotlight healthcare professionals' heroism—it drove home how vital it is for these professionals to feel connected and engaged at work.

At HR Coach, we believe that a highly engaged workforce is more than an asset - it is a critical component in delivering quality healthcare services. In a field that calls for crazy hours and buckets of physical and emotional strength, making sure staff feel appreciated, understood, and part of the team can really amp up their work game and overall happiness.

Equipping our healthcare workers with the right gear and fueling their ambition to succeed is utterly essential. So, let's delve into the ways you can boost how involved and motivated your team in healthcare feels.

Why Staying Invested in Your Healthcare Workers Matters

Patient outcomes in the intricate healthcare landscape hinge on the skill and commitment of our healthcare professionals. Engaged employees are often at the heart of this equation, serving as our first line of defence in health-related matters, from routine check-ups to managing chronic illnesses.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian healthcare workforce was pushed to its limits due to unprecedented demand and limited resources. In the midst of such intense pressures, it's engagement at work that sparks resilience and fires up a sense of commitment and drive among healthcare professionals.

An online survey conducted by Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness in September 2021 examined the willingness to work among frontline healthcare workers in Australia during the country's first wave of COVID-19 community transmission. The study showed that, especially for doctors, the crisis seriously shook their readiness to be on duty during the pandemic.

However, only a fraction of these healthcare workers received clear communication from their employers and healthcare leaders about their responsibilities during the pandemic. Their readiness to take action was seriously compromised by not just the looming dread of running out of personal protective equipment (PPE) but also the risk of getting infected and an overall lack of clarity.

So, what this all boils down to is we have to make sure our healthcare heroes—those on the frontline of any pandemic—are physically and mentally fit. They're basically carrying us through every health crisis.

In essence, boosting healthcare employee engagement and job satisfaction is not just a nice-to-have - it's a must-have.

5 Common Barriers to Employee Engagement in Healthcare

With all the pressure and demands placed on healthcare professionals, it's no surprise that employee engagement can sometimes take a backseat. Here are five common barriers to employee engagement in healthcare:

1. High Stress Levels

One of the biggest hurdles to fostering engagement among hospital workers is the high level of stress they endure. Healthcare professionals often work under intense pressure. Unending stress can lead to total exhaustion, negatively impacting team spirit, work efficiency and, most importantly - patient safety.

Healthcare leaders really need to get their act together, focusing on stress management techniques and creating a more balanced lifestyle for workers - it's just too important to ignore. In doing so, they're setting up their healthcare employees with the right tools to tackle stress head-on, increasing engagement as a bonus.

2. Long Working Hours

Another major hurdle in keeping highly engaged employees is the gruelling grind of long work hours. Many healthcare workers have crazy schedules. This can really wear them down and make their jobs less enjoyable.

When employees are burning the candle at both ends, their connection to work can slip, potentially dipping the standard of patient care. By shifting to flexible hours and making sure staff aren't pushed too hard, companies can give their team a better balance between work and life, which in turn could boost how engaged they are at work.

3. Lack of Effective Communication

In healthcare, you have to be crystal clear in your communication; it's not only vital for taking care of patients but also keeps the team engaged. If communication falls short, employees might feel like they're not seen or understood, which can lead to them checking out. Rolling out things like regular catch-ups and always-on chat options can make sure your team feels listened to and respected, boosting their overall engagement.

4. Lack of Recognition

Lack of recognition is another common barrier to employee engagement in healthcare. When employees feel that their efforts are not acknowledged or appreciated, they are likely to feel undervalued and disengaged. Employees feel more engaged when managers regularly recognise their dedication.

5. Insufficient Training and Development Opportunities

Finally, a lack of opportunities for professional growth can lead to lower engagement levels among healthcare employees. Folks working in healthcare often have a burning need to keep on sharpening their abilities and learning more. Through well-organised learning and growth opportunities, companies can help fulfil this urge to get better - a move that could lead to happier workers who are more plugged into their jobs.

5 Strategies to Enhance Employee Engagement in the Healthcare Sector

Coping with the challenges of employee engagement in healthcare requires a proactive approach from business owners and leaders. Here's a solid plan to increase employee engagement in your healthcare business:

1. Invest in Automation and Technology

By tapping into automation and tech, healthcare pros can seriously slash their workload, making room for what really matters - patient care. So, imagine this - an automated system takes care of the pesky job of managing schedules. It's like a breath of fresh air for healthcare workers because they can ditch the stress of shift planning and devote more energy to looking after their patients.

When work processes are smooth, and the workload is lighter, it can spark a sense of fulfilment and active participation among employees.

2. Create a Positive Work Culture

No matter the industry, but particularly in stress-loaded sectors like healthcare, fostering a dynamic and positive work environment is vital to crank up team engagement. By cultivating a work environment that values each team member's input, companies can amp up communication and teamwork.

Increased employee satisfaction through a supportive and respectful company culture can boost engagement.

3. Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits play a significant role in employee satisfaction and engagement. In the high-stress world of healthcare, giving competitive pay and perks is a big deal—it helps keep great workers around and keeps them involved.

Companies need to frequently check out what their competitors are offering salary-wise, just to make sure they're not shortchanging their staff.

4. Prioritise Employee Well-Being

The well-being of employees should be a top priority for any healthcare business. So, it's all about making sure you've got the right help and tools to tackle stress, access to mental health resources is a given, and striking that sweet spot between work time and downtime.

5. Recognise and Appreciate Employee Contributions

As mentioned earlier, recognition is crucial for employee engagement. Businesses should make an effort to recognise and appreciate their employees' contributions regularly. This can be done through formal programs such as employee of the month awards or simply by acknowledging hard work during team meetings.

Act Now to Boost Employee Engagement in Your Healthcare Business

Improving employee engagement is not an overnight task, but it's an investment that yields significant returns. Act now, and you'll pave the way for a team that's really into their jobs, resulting in top-notch patient service, less staff leaving, and, overall, a thriving business.

If you're ready to take action, HR Coach's Staff Engagement Survey Software can be the perfect partner in your journey. Our software gives you the lowdown on how engaged your team really is and points out where things could be better.

Reach out to us now, and let's kickstart your journey towards a more motivated healthcare team.

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