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3 Areas to Build a Better Health Care Workplace

3 Areas to Build a Better Health Care Workplace

“Health care workers are reporting worsening rates of burnout," said The Nation’s Health, a publication of the US public health system. This means "emotional exhaustion, a low sense of fulfillment from work and depersonalization." And as a result, employees find it harder to connect with patients in meaningful ways.

But the story is different at the Best Workplaces in Health Care & Biopharma™. For the third year running, we found consistent qualities unite the best workplaces in this field. Here are three employee engagement strategies for success in this filed:

1. Cultivate an agile workplace

The best health care companies don't get stuck in inertia. Their leaders are able to install changes rapidly and with little resistance. In agile workplaces, leaders are trustworthy, transparent and collaborative. Employees feel informed, know that it's safe to experiment and ask questions, and feel the support of leaders.

A great example of an agile workplace is Texas Health Resources and Winjie Miao, EVP and chief experience officer. When the company had staffing problems, Winjie and her team sprung into action.

They realized they needed to crunch data from their facilities to optimize staff scheduling. “Sure enough, a tool didn’t exist. So we created a solution for our team," explained Winjie.

Nurse managers tested a new online scheduling system developed with a software vendor. As a result, Texas Health Resources has reduced staffing costs. Even as core staffing grew, they cut overtime wages and contract labor expenses.

2. Be change-ready through a supportive work environment

The Best Workplaces in Health Care foster "change-ready" behavior. That means employees continuously initiate and respond to change. They adapt in ways that create advantage, cut risk, and improve performance. Employees are change-ready when they can count on each other and have dependable managers.

Encompass Health - Home Health & Hospice is a change-ready workplace. Over the last three years, Encompass has acquired 26 agencies. A smooth acquisition process is important for productivity, employee health and success.

LaRay Lissberger, who is Director of Integration, devised a better way of integrating employees into the fold. Having only one contact person for the merger felt insufficient to LaRay. Instead, LaRay had Encompass staff connect directly with their counterparts at the new organization.

The move paid off. Transition to Encompass systems like patient record-keeping and billing were more efficient. The new approach is also kinder to new employees who are often confused and worried about the sudden change. LaRay speaks about the integration process as “hugging ‘em” into the Encompass company culture.

3. Support employees’ professional development

Employees of the Best Workplaces in Health Care report access to training and professional development more often than the average US workforce. These organizations see the link between consistent training and employees’ professional well-being.

They also provide educational opportunities that flex to employees’ schedules – such as e-learning libraries, alternatives to classroom training and tuition reimbursement.

If you work at Genentech, you can get advice from career consultants in their CareerLab. The center is open to employees in all roles, at all levels and all points in their careers.

Some career consultants specialize in engaging employees at the director level and above. Hatched in 2009, the CareerLab continues to add consultants to meet the demands of their growing team. The CareerLab was also refurbished to reflect employees’ philosophies on career development.

To learn more about the practices of the Best Workplaces in Health Care & Biopharma, check out our 2019 Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma Report.


Claire Hastwell