Employees who are engaged in their work are more productive, happier, and better at their jobs. But ensuring your employees are engaged takes effort. Do you know how connected your employees are to their work? Do they feel like they are an integral part of your organization? Are they striving to help you accomplish your mission and goals? Are they growing and progressing in their careers? If you don’t already know the answers, asking the questions may be your first step in creating a more engaged team.
To better understand employee engagement, our executive group recently read the book MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement by Tracy Maylett, Ed.D., and Paul Warner, Ph.D. It was a great refresher on an issue that perennially plagues healthcare providers. The book outlines five ways to create real employee engagement:
Maylett and Warner describe meaning as when “your work has purpose beyond the work itself.” This is an area where healthcare has a real advantage. The work you and your employees do every day is meant to restore health, cure diseases, mend broken bones, or help patients in countless other ways.
How often are you reminded of this purpose or the meaning of your work? As a leader, it is up to you to remind your employees what their work means—and not just those involved directly with patient care. The person who answers your phones or cleans your exam rooms is just as integral to the patient experience as the providers who are treating them. Make sure everybody knows the important role they play.
Autonomy doesn’t mean employees work independently or have total control over their job. It means employees have the ability to “shape your work and environment in ways that allow you to perform at your best.”
It’s important to note that peak performance is a focus on getting things done, not fretting about how they get done. This may mean allowing an employee to leave early to attend a child’s sporting event, knowing he/she will make up the time later getting caught up on his/her charts. It could also mean allowing the front desk staff to collectively determine the best scheduling software to use rather than making the decision based on what works best for you or the supervisor.
Growth is not just getting a promotion or starting a new job. Growth is extending yourself and getting better at what you do. This could take the form of cross-training employees to learn new skills, mentoring new employees, or letting someone lead a committee. Growth is anything that helps employees feel they are being challenged in ways that lead to professional progress, which ultimately improves employee engagement.