If you are interested in improving your patient satisfaction scores, you should consider investing time and money in your staff. The Health Care Satisfaction Report by Press Ganey, Inc., noted that increases in employee satisfaction are associated with increases in patient satisfaction. The centers for Medicare & Medicaid understand this. That is why it is more important than ever for hospitals and medical practices to be proactive in ensuring their patients have a positive experience. The bottom line of the organization depends on it.
Negativity breeds more negativity. Patients can tell if employees are unhappy. They are attuned to any dissatisfaction or disrespect the staff may be experiencing or delivering either among each other or to patients. This unease can translate into the patient’s own negative interpretation of their healthcare experience. Conversely, a positive employee can deliver a higher quality care and will engage better with patients. A positive employee, however, begins with a strong leadership team. If the organization’s leadership fails the employee, the employee will often inadvertently fail the patient.
The best way leadership can improve employee satisfaction is by engaging their employees. Better pay and benefits are not enough to achieve a higher performing staff. According to Dr. Leslie A. Grant, the top three concerns of staff are:
- Leadership shows they care about their employees
- Leadership listens to employees
- Employees receive help with job stress
To get started, it is important for the leadership team to develop principles that clearly state employee responsibilities, accountability and education. This will help employees understand what is expected of them and how to fix problems as they arise. Leaders should also determine if there are other areas that need improvement. Again, it is important to seek out assistance from the employees to address challenges.
The leadership team should also develop a company culture that is based on mutual respect and recognition. It is vital that employees be recognized for their positive efforts. This can be done through monthly employee appreciation events, employee of the month awards and other contests and incentives. Employees should feel they are treated respectfully, are appreciated and can trust their managers.
Finally, there should be an open door policy in place. Leadership should always be available to it’s’ employees needs. They should seek out and implement ideas generated by their employees to improve the culture of the organization. Empowered employees typically hold a higher regard for their management team and role in the organization than those that are not.
Once you develop and implement a structure for your organization, create goals so that you can quantify outcomes. It can be difficult to measure improvement in these areas so the leadership team should focus on areas they can quantify such as patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction and patient outcomes. When successes are experienced, organization leaders should reward the team.
By creating a healthier employee experience, your patient experience ratings will improve drastically. Invest in happy employees, they are worth it.