A recent study finds 80 percent of healthcare employees feel they’re being prevented from reaching their full potential. Not only that — the overwhelming majority of respondents (96 percent) say they have additional strengths they could be offering their employer.
This points to a growing need for healthcare employers to invest more resources into furthering their employee’s professional development, as there are real consequences for not meeting employee needs.
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Because healthcare employees are responsible for the quality of patient care, they require added resources — from training to digital tools — that can enable them to deliver a high standard of work under stressful circumstances. Here are three steps healthcare organization leaders can take to support their employees.
- Communicate better. Frontline healthcare workers are often left out of the loop while high-up administrators make decisions about their work, leaving them feeling undervalued. To remedy this, employers need to do a better job of opening the lines of communication between the two organizational levels. Giving healthcare workers an opportunity to be a part of the conversation, especially as it relates to their work environment and available resources, helps them feel empowered. It can also help administrators gain perspective on what employees deal with and truly need to get the job done while staying engaged. Implementing a two-way communication model between healthcare workers and organization leaders is undoubtedly challenging, especially considering that healthcare workers are often spread across many hospital and clinic locations. But this is where the power of digital tools comes in. An employee engagement platform allows communication to go both ways, rather than flow only from the top down. Those on the front lines of patient care will embrace the opportunity to offer insight to the higher-ups, and leaders should value and prioritize that insight.
- Improve training. Healthcare workers have admitted they don’t feel empowered by the resources they’ve already been provided, from their training to their technology systems. While scaling technology resources isn’t always an immediate option, ongoing training and professional development gives employees an opportunity to continuously challenge their views on their work. By offering open-ended professional development depending on what the employee is interested in — perhaps a conference on mental health nursing or a speaking series on pharmaceutical pain management — administrators can give employees an opportunity to take ownership over their career direction and professional knowledge. In taking employee training coordination to a digital platform, employees can customize and track their own training content, as well as stay on top of the basic mandated coursework. Allowing employees to have a say in their training requirements keeps them invested in their career, as well as the care they provide daily.
- Prioritize recognition. Healthcare is grueling work. It’s far too easy for employees to become burnt out. That means it’s especially important for employers to recognize a job well done. Administrators should make an effort to let healthcare workers know their efforts are noticed. After all, when it comes down to it, these frontline workers are the ones directly caring for and even saving patients. They deserve recognition, and receiving it helps them keep morale up to power through some pretty stressful and emotionally challenging work days. Since employers and employees in the healthcare space aren’t often in the same physical location, delivering well-deserved praise can be tough. Seeking a digital engagement tool provides a space for leaders to thank employees for their hard work, as well as single out specific professionals to the whole organization for a job well done.
In healthcare, a disengaged employee can mean the difference between a high-quality and low-quality patient experience. Those on the front lines of patient care and coordination deserve added resources that will further arm them with the capabilities to reach their full potential at work, but that onus falls on the actions of healthcare administrators.
Will Eadie is global vice president of sales and strategy for WorkJam.
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