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I have been reading a lot lately on both the improvement of and conversely, lack of employee engagement in healthcare. Before one can comment on whether employee engagement is better or worse, we must first understand the definition of employee engagement.

Employee engagement can mean different things to different people. Having worked for many years within medical practices and surgical facilities, I feel that employee engagement means that the employees feel connected with the practice. They feel like they are part of the bigger picture. So many businesses have employees who come in each day just to get a paycheck. There is a difference between having an employee who strives to make the practice a success and one who just wants to get the job done. The difference between these two types of employees is that the former truly gets it. They want patients to be happy and they feel a need to connect with them. They want their employers to be proud of them. They want the practice to be a success.  This doesn’t mean that the employees that are just skimming by should be written off. You may have a superstar on your hands that is just waiting for an opportunity to shine. They just need the right environment to do it.

So how do employers improve employee engagement? From personal experience, it comes from asking them for their support. Let your employees be a part of the solution. It can be difficult to come to work each day and feel your voice doesn’t matter. What if your employees were able to share their opinions and make recommendations? Even better, what if those recommendations were heard and implemented when possible? Most of your employees will feel appreciated and connected with your practice. They will feel like they matter and that they make a difference. Not all employees are going to want to share, everybody is different. The point is to consistently provide an opportunity for them to shine, because if they succeed you will also succeed.

What are you doing to make your employees feel engaged? Are you hosting regular meetings where staff is able to share their thoughts? Do you provide an open door policy to employees? Do your employees feel that they can share their opinion with you and that you will take them seriously? These are very important questions to ask yourself as they hold the key to your practice’s success. For without happy employees, your practice will suffer. Don’t let that happen, take the time to get your employees engaged.