Prosser Memorial Health Increase Employee Engagement Throughout Pandemic


Prosser Memorial Health is a healthcare system with over seven locations. Their workforce is 81% female and 19% male, with an average workforce age of 42 years. They partnered with People Element six years ago to better capture employee feedback. Their goal since the beginning has been to gauge their level of employee engagement and work towards creating a value-driven and people-centric culture. Their long-term commitment to creating open communication channels has led to a steady increase in employee engagement and has positioned them as an employer of choice.


Keeping Engagement Climbing Through a Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, like all healthcare organizations, Prosser’s workforce was severely impacted. With employees working tirelessly through the pandemic, their teams were facing high levels of stress and burnout and they knew that listening and engaging with their employees was going to be more important than ever.

Despite the many obstacles presented by the pandemic, they wanted to maintain and exceed their 2019 engagement survey results and keep pushing for a highly engaged workforce in the following years.


Consistent Measurement

From early on, Prosser committed to running annual engagement surveys for their medical staff and employees. In their full annual engagement surveys, they always include a hallmark question that really allows them to capture how they are doing. For medical staff, they ask them to rate this statement on a 5-point scale: “I am satisfied with my current relationship with Prosser Memorial Health” and for employees, “I am satisfied with working for Prosser Memorial Health”. Along with their engagement survey results, they compare these results year-over-year to gauge their progress in realizing their vision to be a Top 100 Hospital. To generate more buy-in from managers and leadership, they tie a percentage of leadership compensation to the performance of these measurements. Benchmarking these hallmark questions consistently each year allows them to track trends and quickly identify how their workforce is feeling.

Strong Core Values

Prosser has always put an emphasis on culture and values which have built a solid foundation for them. They have integrated their values (Accountability, Services, Promote Teamwork, Integrity, Respect, Excellence) into all levels of the organization, starting with the hiring process and keeping it at the forefront of all things that they do.

As part of this, they practice behavioral-based interviewing aligned with their ASPIRE values to uncover how applicants have demonstrated ASPIRE values in previous positions and how they would carry into this one. Once hired, they have each employee formally commit to their values and standards of behavior and have them re-commit each year going forward. This creates a tight-knit environment from day one and they continue to nurture it throughout their employee journey.

Prioritizing their People

Staying true to their values, when COVID-19 hit, they did not want to drop the ball on engagement. They were one of the first organizations to offer incentive bonuses in the area and did not lay off any employees or reduce their hours. By keeping their staff on and engaging them frequently, they were able to operate without having to contract out many travel nurses or other ancillary staff. They made a conscious decision to avoid bringing on temporary employees as much as possible to keep their culture and values strong and centralized.

Promoting Participation

With all the added factors affecting the workforce during the pandemic, Prosser knew that they needed to make a concerted effort to drive participation rates in their 2020 and 2021 engagement surveys. The team at Prosser thrives through friendly competition and so they leveraged this competitive spirit to boost participation. When surveys were running, they published participation rates by department so each team could monitor their levels and see who could land the highest rates. They also supported this through incentives to celebrate when teams reached a specific participation level.

A Focus on Transparency

Every year, a representative from People Element visits Prosser Memorial Health to present the annual engagement survey results to the Executive Team. However, in the spirit of transparency, they ask that People Element present the results to all levels of the organization (physicians, nurses, admin, service staff, etc.). They make it a point not to scrub the data and leave all verbatim comments–they want a full picture of the good, the bad, and the ugly. This transparency helps drive accountability for leadership and gets the whole organization involved.

Action Planning and Execution

After sharing results with the entire organization, their focus shifts to planning how they will take action. Their main priority is to distill their insights and pull out the top items that are most important to the employees and will be most impactful to their people, day-in and day-out.

They begin by taking the anonymous survey results and cascading them by department and sharing them with their respective department heads. This gives each department a chance to dig deeper into their data and meet with an HR leader to discuss their preferred course of action. Getting all the departments involved has allowed them to take action on a more direct level. Once action plans are finalized, they are posted in each department for everyone to see. It keeps leaders accountable, and employees informed on what initiatives are to come.


Despite the ongoing pandemic in 2020 and 2021, their efforts proved effective and continued to drive positive results on their annual engagement surveys.

Engagement Level

Prosser increased employee engagement by 7% from 2019 to 2020. In 2021 they held strong to their previous engagement level as they weathered the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022 and 2023 they saw engagement begin to climb again, increasing 6 points in both years. They are currently sitting at an 85% engagement level, 29 points above People Element’s Global Engagement Benchmark of 56%, showing that their commitment to engagement has set them apart.

Engagement refers to the percentage of the population that is engaged based on People Element’s Engagement Index.


Both overall favorability and participation also increased over the three-year period. Favorability followed a similar trend to engagement, where they saw the largest percentage increase from 2019 to 2020 (6%), slight growth (1%) in 2021, and then larger increases in both 2022 (3%) and 2023 (5%) respectively. They are currently boasting an 89% favorability rate.

Engagement refers to the percentage of the population that is engaged based on People Element’s Engagement Index.


Participation followed an inverse pattern where there was little change from 2019 to 2020 (1%) and then a jump in 2021 (6%) followed by steady growth in 2022 (2%) and 2023 (3%). Their most recent results reflected an 87% participation rate, an impressive number for an organization of this size. Their additional efforts to drive participation rates are apparent in their results.

Favorability refers to the percentage of favorable survey responses (4 & 5’s on a 5-point Likert scale of agreement)

Already well above industry standards in all areas, Prosser Memorial Health continues to strive for sustainable growth in its engagement levels in the coming years.


About Prosser Memorial Health

Prosser Memorial Health has been dedicated to serving its community since 1947. For more than 70 years, this health system has provided top-quality medical care with respect, hope, optimism, and honesty at the forefront of all that they do. They strive to become one of the top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the country by staying true to their values and pillars of excellence

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