Cost savings from reduced turnover alone can be a major money-saver. From hiring costs to overtime pay to cover empty positions, to time and resources dedicated to onboarding, high turnover rates are something every hospital administrator has their eye on.
So the next time your budget goes under review or you have to justify a learning and career development expense, you'll be better prepared!
Can you check all these items off the list in your organization? Do you know what portion of your entry level are experiencing each of these? What about your mid-level and first time supervisors? What can you do this year to improve one or more of these areas? Take control of turnover costs and help your patients feel how much ALL of their care team wants to be there.
“Service support is increasingly important. There is a tremendous need for high customer service skills: think hospitality-minded members. We are trying to work with workforce boards and schools to prepare for a better fit for health care for our future.” Amy Barry, SVP and CHRO, Lakeland Regional Health
With service support positions taking an increasingly important role in healthcare, employee engagement and retention is top of mind for HR leaders. Most organizations understand the importance of employee engagement as it relates to morale and turnover, but what let’s take a moment to define an engaged employee.
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. (Forbes, 2012)
The definition of an engaged employee has been confused in recent years. It’s up to administrators and managers to identify the characteristics of an engaged employee according to the organization’s mission and goals. Quite as important, leadership must effectively communicate these characteristics to all departments and units to ensure alignment.
Once you’ve defined the traits and behaviors of an engaged employee, you can develop a strategy to encourage those qualities. While rewards and incentives are important, strive to go beyond the norm and create a positive environment that is unique to your organization. There are a number of ways to build loyalty with frontline employees.
Frontline employees with high morale perform their best and have a desire to advance within the organization. When it comes to turnover, investing in talent yields much greater returns than dedicating valuable resources to a reactive approach.
The ability to think clearly and solve problems is a vital skill for healthcare employees, regardless of position or title. The decisions that frontline employees make can have an immediate impact on the efficiency of the unit, the quality of care received by patients and their families, and the reputation of the healthcare organization... and that's nothing to sneeze at.
Employees with strong critical thinking skills are well-informed and more flexible in their approach to daily work. They understand how to gather relevant information and when to change direction, which is essential in an on-your-toes healthcare setting. Strong thinkers and problem solvers also know how to identify issues and proactively implement solutions to avoid costly mistakes.
When HCAHPS surveys show opportunities for improvement, leaders turn to several places for insight before taking action. By looking at specific questions and targeting the roles responsible for them, improvement teams can target role-specific employee engagement survey results. When conferring with floor and team managers, individual performance reviews may produce some candidates for learning and skill development.
In any case, healthcare employers never fail to draft improvement plans - these usually include learning seminars which address topics such as:
▪ Understanding the steps in the problem solving process
▪ Determining the root causes of problems
▪ Using critical thinking skills to improve decision making
▪ Practicing the key skills of analyzing, evaluating and reasoning
Even the White House takes notice when employers display the level of dedication to advancing front-line workers for which CLC's customers are known! On Friday 4/24, Mercy Health (Cincinnati), Norton Healthcare, TriHealth and UnityPoint Health represented all entry level healthcare champions who provide upward mobility for their associates.
At the White House Upskill Summit, employers were lauded for their success in helping their employees move into Middle Class jobs. Best practices for helping frontline workers develop new skills and earn higher wages were shared. Congratulations to all! Read more about Norton and TriHealth's frontline efforts.
Why This Is a Really Big Deal
Ongoing development at the entry level is not always the first thing on the minds of healthcare executives, even if it is smart business. And recent challenges stemming from ACA make you wonder how these hospitals manage to prioritize these program and why they feel it's still so important. But then, that's what Catalyst Learning is all about:
"We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with over 500 healthcare employers to increase the skills and upward mobility of entry and mid-level associates. It's a win for the organization in retention and engagement and a win for the associate who gains a career he/she never dreamed possible. Executives like Jenny, Molly, Tony and Joyce are making this happen from one end of America to the other - and we humbly and sincerely thank them for their partnership."
- Lynn Fischer, Founder & CEO, Catalyst Learning Company
And for those still craving information on facilities using more flexible approaches and targeted academies, download the write-ups in the CLC blog.
Make a Commitment in Your Healthcare Organization
Administrative assistants - they save you time, money, ensure you're prepared for half a dozen meetings a day and ward off unwanted calls and emails. If you did the math on the amount of time (money) your office assistant saves you in a given week, you'd probably be looking for the same return in all your investments.
The use of medical secretaries in hospitals, physician practices and outpatient facilities is projected to rise by 36% in the next 10 years, reports the US Department of Labor. That's more than RN's, LPN's, Medical Techs or even healthcare IT professionals. [read article]
1. Outstanding office benefits and
2. A strong belief in their own abilities.
So what about the other office support roles in your organization? If you think they can't impact quality or patient satisfaction, you might want to consider this: registrars and schedulers deal with patients that skip appointments, forget their paperwork, and pay their bills late. Medical records clerks and transcriptionists type notes that go into medical files for quality review. And coders contribute to reimbursement through accuracy, timeliness, and their efforts to make the switch to ICD-10. See our special offer on 2.5 hour seminars - good only through April 23rd.
The duties of Patient Service Reps can also have a powerful impact on HCAHPS and operational effectiveness. Last month our newsletter highlighted one organization's work in professionalizing this role. If you missed it, read here.