Why Employee Engagement Matters in Healthcare

Employee engagement seems to be the latest buzzword in healthcare and beyond.  Many have jumped on the bandwagon, claiming that an engaged workforce is the silver bullet to achieving optimal employee performance, superior quality patient care, and increased revenue.  But, what is engagement really and why should you care?

Employee engagement is defined as the extent to which employees are emotionally attached or passionate about their work and loyal to their organization.  Engaged employees possess heightened motivation to make meaningful contributions above and beyond the status quo in order to help their organization achieve its goals.

For skeptics and believers alike, there is an enormous body of academic studies demonstrating the powerful impact of an engaged workforce on many aspects of employee and organizational performance.  Research has established links between employee engagement and higher overall job performance1, performing above and beyond role expectations2, turnover intentions2, and superior quality patient care3.  Overall, engaged employees are happier, more productive, and less likely to leave, which translates to better patient outcomes and ultimately, better financial performance.  Recent estimates put the cost of disengaged employees in the United States between $250 and $300 billion a year4.

In light of the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrating the multifaceted benefits of having an engaged workforce (and dire consequences of having a disengaged workforce), Strategic Programs partners closely with healthcare organizations to make lasting employee engagement improvements.  Instead of simply administering a employee engagement survey and passively monitoring scores over time, we partner closely with our healthcare clients to find data-driven solutions by linking engagement data to organizational metrics impacting patient and business outcomes.

In our 25 years of experience, Strategic Programs has perfected strategies and processes that transform survey data into meaningful solutions.  We first partner with the client in survey, process, and report design to collect robust, customized, actionable data. We then deliver analyses, results, and specific recommendations based on healthcare industry benchmark data and best practices.  To continue momentum, we partner with the client on Action Planning using a suite of technology and consulting resources to ensure staff buy-in and accountability for results.  In addition to annual surveys, we offer brief pulse surveys at six-month intervals to monitor progress and keep the data fresh, dynamic, and relevant.  Lastly, our tools allow clients to continuously monitor progress through real-time data reporting, and drive results through targeted consulting, coaching, and training.

So, who cares about employee engagement?  In the ever-changing and challenging landscape of healthcare today, measuring and improving employee engagement is critical to achieve thriving employees, patients, and healthcare organizations.

1 Christian, M. S., Garza, A. S., & Slaughter, J. E. (2011).  Work engagement: A quantitative review and test of its relations with task and contextual performance. Personnel Psychology, 64, 89-136.
2 Shuck, B., Reio, T. G., & Rocco, T. S. (2011). Employee Engagement: An examination of antecedent and outcome variables. Human Resource Development International, 14, 427-445.
3 Bogaert, P. V., Wouters, K., Willems, R., Mondelaers, M., & Clarke, S. (2013). Work engagement supports nurse workforce stability and quality of care: nursing team-level analysis in psychiatric hospitals. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 20, 679-686.
4 Meere, M. 2005. The high cost of disengaged employees (Employee Engagement Industry Briefing). Hawthorne, Victoria: Swinburne University of Technology.

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