The concept of employee engagement entails a workplace approach aimed at ensuring that employees not only remain committed to their organization’s mission, vision, and goal statements but are motivated enough to contribute significantly to organizational success (Suck et al., 2011). In the field of healthcare, employee engagement is most critical when seeking to achieve the ultimate patient experience and as well achieve the organization’s goal of providing quality, safe, evidence-based, and affordable health care (Milkovich, 2013). Therefore, this report reflects on the concept of employee engagement and how effectively it has been applied at the Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel. The report will look at both the overall engagement and the engagement of clinical employees. Further to this, the report will reflect on the role of HR in employee engagement.
Employee Engagement at FHWC
At Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, employees demonstrate a notable level of engagement. This is indicated by the fact that despite the facility being a Protestant health care provider, patients and visitors are treated with a level of respect and kindness that reflects on the organization’s goal of promoting culturally competitive care (Lowe, 2012). Cases of patient dissatisfaction are also rare at the facility and this further indicates the level of engagement exercised by majority of the employees (Collini et al., 2015).
A significant number of Employees at Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel also take part in voluntary community services, a program under the facility. Employees at the facility who take part in voluntary community services have played an important role of educating the community on best health practices (Suck et al., 2011). This group of employees’ works closely with local volunteers to improve the health practices of local communities with a strong focus on preventive rather than curative measures (Milkovich, 2013).
Engagement of Clinical Employees
The level of engagement among clinical employees is significantly higher than that of other employees and this is evidenced by the finding that the hospital was earlier this year ranked as the top workplace in the whole of Tamba Bay (Collini et al., 2015).Conducted by an independent research agency, the study carried out confidential employee surveys across hundreds of organizations in the region. Considering that this finding is based on the responses of the hospital’s clinical employees, there is little doubt as to the engagement levels of this group of employees. Further to this, past studies have indicated that better workplaces promote employee engagement and this seems to be the case at FHWC (Suck et al., 2011).
Clinical employees at FHWC also enjoy a wide range of employee benefits all aimed at promoting engagement (Lowe, 2012). The hospital rewards its clinical employees for healthy behaviors and this has promoted a sense of belonging and appreciation among majority of these employees. Being a faith-based organization, the hospital further strives to meet the spiritual needs of its employees and this equally promotes engagement (Milkovich, 2013).
Role of HR in Employee Engagement
While employee engagement could be viewed as a value inculcated in employees over time, there are several HR strategies that can promote engagement in organizations (Lowe, 2012). Hiring employees based on how good they match with an organization’s culture can promote engagement especially considering that the basis for a harmonious relationship between the employer and the employee is set during the hiring process (Suck et al., 2011). Regardless of how talented a prospective employee may be, there should be no doubt as to whether the employee matches the organization’s culture.
Building a culture of recognizing performance is an equally important HR strategy that can influence engagement. Through liaising with departmental heads, HR can ensure that outstanding team and individual performances are not only recognized but also rewarded accordingly (Milkovich, 2013). Developing such a culture encourages employees to remain focused on achieving both personal and organizational goals (Suck et al., 2011). Further to this, HR could also identify key organizational metrics that should be used to develop the criteria for recognizing performance. Transparency is fundamental when recognizing performances (Lowe, 2012).
HR should also play as the engagement advocate within an organization by articulating its benefits. By playing as the advocate of employee engagement, HR can help to make the executive aware of these benefits and the need to invest in them. Further to this, HR can also play as the engagement consultant by training and guiding departmental managers on ways to engage employees. While metrics are important when assessing employee engagement, HR should help departmental managers to understand that dialogue with employees if far more important than the figures obtained from engagement surveys (Collini et al., 2015).
The current situation of employee engagement in healthcare is far from ideal, although efforts to improve engagement are underway in many health organizations (Milkovich, 2013). At FHWC, one of the strategies that are not working is starting engagement only after the first day of work for new employees. Established research findings have noted that starting engagement before the first day of work contributes to reduced attrition (Jeve et al., 2015). Providing training and setting goals with new employees before their first day at work helps to shorten the time span to productivity and further create a sense of community among the employees. Further to this, there is need for FHWC to introduce its new employees to their teams early enough before their first day of work (Collini et al., 2015).
Although there is no empirical evidence to indicate that failing to start engagement before the first day of work has any significant impact on patient care, there are concerns that depending on individual clinical employees, this could indeed affect quality of care especially considering that new employees might take too long to adjust to the new environment (Milkovich, 2013). New employees who don’t network with their coworkers and complete paperwork before the first day might be compelled to do so at a time when they are expected to attend to patients. Consequently, attrition is likely to set in when such employees try to balance between the overwhelming experiences at their new place of work and their clinical duties (Crawford et al., 2010).
An appropriate plan to address the current challenge would involve supplying new employees with sufficient materials about the organization as part of the information package provided with the letter of job offer. In addition to the organization handbook, FHWC could create a program through which new employments are taken through the organization’s operations over several weeks (Suck et al., 2011). During this time, information should be provided moderately and overloading should be avoided. In addition to this, new employees should be allowed to take part in some practical work rather than relying on job training alone for engagement purposes. Starting an induction program will also ensure that the process is not left for the employee’s supervisor to carry out on a day-to-day basis when the employee reports for work (Milkovich, 2013).
What FHWC Does Well
One of the areas that FHWC has succeeded in regard to employee engagement is facilitating open communication among its employees. At FHWC, open communication is highly encouraged and this ensures that employees are continuously updated with organizational developments (Lowe, 2012). Another area that FHWC has greatly succeeded is centralizing all its essential resources online as a way of ensuring that clinical employees at the organization can focus on the most urgent patient-related issues. In addition to this, the simplicity of FHWC’s range of online resources further facilitates the engagement of its employees (Collini et al., 2015).
Conclusively, while employee engagement at FHWC is treated as a critical contemporary issue, there are areas that the organization needs to improve on in order for experience the benefits of engagement (Suck et al., 2011). At the center of promoting employee engagement is the human resource department. HR can promote engagement through a number of strategies such as ensuring that culture of applicants match with that of the organization, building a culture of recognizing performances as well as articulating the benefits of engagement within the organization (Lowe, 2012). In addition to this, there is need for organizations to assess their levels of employee engagement and address the strategies that are not working. It is through such approaches that health organizations can realize the benefits of employee engagement more so on patient outcomes (Crawford et al., 2010).
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Crawford, E., LePine, J. & Rich, B. (2010). Linking Job Demands and Resources to Employee Engagement and Burnout: A Theoretical Extension and Meta-Analytic Test. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(5):834-848.
Jeve, Y., Oppenheimer, C. & Konje, J. (2015). Employee engagement within the NHS: a cross-sectional study. International Journal Of Health Policy And Management, 4(2), 85-90.
Lowe, G. (2012). How employee engagement matters for hospital performance. Healthcare Quarterly (Toronto, Ont.), 15(2), 29-39.
Milkovich, G. (2013). Compensation, 4th Canadian edition. SI: Mcgraw-Hill Ryerson.
Shuck, B., Reio, T. & Rocco, T. (2011). Employee engagement: an examination of antecedent and outcome variables. Human Resource Development International, 14(4): 427-445.