What to Communicate to Engage Your Workforce
As a manager, there are many items on your checklist. From scheduling, staffing, and check-ins it can be hard to focus on the broader items that are part of your role. Of those broader items, most important are the individual department goals that relate directly to the success of the overall hospital goals. Often there is a struggle at the department level when it comes to getting your entire team on board. Employees may have a hard time understanding how they have an impact on the overall success of the hospital and why the goals of the hospital relate to them and what they do on a daily basis. As a manager, finding a way to communicate and engage your team to align with these goals is important. According to Kevin Kruse, Forbes, “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals“. How can you help your staff feel this commitment to the organization, and in turn the organization goals? Think about your area and how your team specifically contributes to the success of those goals. As a nursing manager, are you tasked with improving patient satisfaction scores? Or lowering patient error rates? Your team may know and understand these specific goals as part of their role, but do they understand what achieving success in this area means for the overall success of the Hospital? You are the manager, the leader in the path to success and as part of this role it is your place to keep your team informed of what their part is on the path to success.
Improving Employee Engagement
The first question you need to ask yourself is: do your employees know what the hospital goals are? If you were to walk up to one of your employees and ask them what the hospital goals are, do you think they would know? The answer is probably no. A goal in itself should be how to best communicate what the goals are to everyone. Communicating the goals in a way that makes people care, and in turn understand what meeting the goals means to them, can help them find an emotional and personal connection to the results. Knowing their hard work has an impact on the success of the department and on the success of the organization is rewarding. Department managers or directors can be tasked to create a communication strategy for their areas on how their area affects the company goals. What does success in their area mean to the overall success for company? Managers should take time to meet with their employees to communicate the department and hospital goals. During this time, managers should also communicate how the employee’s specific role plays a part in achieving these goals.
When you are communicating with your team, make it an opportunity to solicit feedback on how best the employee and the overall team can help in meeting the goals. Having the employee feel they are helping create the plan to success creates a sense of ownership in the plan and helps to improve employee engagement. They are not just being told what to do; rather they are being asked how they can help and what they can do to achieve success. If it makes sense, have them come up with some ideas or a plan to bring to a check-in or team meeting. Have an open dialogue with your whole team where everyone is involved in the discussion. Once you are all on board, have one or more team members help create a formalized plan to put into action. Make sure the team has all the necessary tools and resources for meeting their goals, and if there is something they need or don’t know, help them get that information.
Once you have people working towards a common goal, you need to regularly check-in with team members and in team meetings to see how people are feeling about the plan and how it is performing to the overall goals. Also, use this as a time to update them on how the hospital is doing with its goals and how their work is impacting those goals. As the manager, you are often times the main source of communication for all hospital related items. Sometimes managers need help with this, especially getting the information on how the hospital is doing. This is where leadership can play a role in ensuring they are communicating the necessary information to management. Leadership can send regular updates via email or a company intranet on how things are going. If it is doable, meeting with your director or even certain leaders monthly or quarterly to ensure you have an understanding on how your department is doing and what, if anything you should be focusing on can help you in your role and in turn, help you provide better support for your team.
You as the manager play a vital role in helping engage your team in the success of the department and in turn the organization. Communicating the items your team is tasked with in a way that creates a personal connection to the goal can be a daunting task. Creating a plan for communication, and execution can make the task less daunting. Remember, employees want to understand how they play a part in the success of their department and the hospital. By involving your team to help support the plan, not only helps engage them in their work, but it makes the success of the department more likely. Ultimately the organization wants everyone working towards the same outcome, from leadership down to the employee, but it’s up to you as the manager to help facilitate this into action.