Employee EngagementBy Isaac Johnson | June 3, 2021 << Back to Articles
The environment of care for patients in the hospital setting has gained increased focus recently. This can be linked to two significant factors: The COVID-19 pandemic and the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (HCAHPS) surveys administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Cleanliness plays a large role in the environment of care, so it is critical that we have engaged associates that have a clear understanding of the expectations of their role as well as the impact their actions, or lack of, play in the healing process. Here are a few action items that will serve as a cornerstone to ensure employee engagement when established and hard-wired into the department:
- Reward and recognition programs
- Newsletter committees
- Daily huddles
- Employee committees
Reward and recognition programs
Reward and recognition programs can be big or small but need to be impactful. You can choose to reward and recognize associates for length of service, HCAHPS achievement, perfect attendance, and much more.
Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement. A handwritten thank-you card can go an exceedingly long way!
It is often a good idea to produce a monthly or quarterly newsletter for the department. A newsletter committee can include whoever in the department has a passion for writing, taking photos, or reporting news. Everyone enjoys seeing their name in “lights.”
When you take the extra step of including your staff members in reporting the department’s news, you empower and entrust them on a higher plane of engagement, and the benefits will show in many ways.
These huddles provide both management and front-line staff an opportunity to be heard daily.
You can include items such as safety reminders, coverage changes, daily announcements, and other opportunities. Once established, it is a good idea to allow various members of the team a chance to serve as the huddle leader from time to time.
Who doesn’t like a party—or at least good food, snacks, certificates of recognition, or some hospital swag?
Holiday celebrations, birthday recognitions, passing a major inspection, or just “because we care” parties bring environmental services (EVS) departments closer.
I encourage my teams to celebrate whenever they can. As we all know, the job we do every day can be very demanding, so you must highlight the wins!
This level of engagement is one built on trust, understanding, empathy, and action.
An employee committee can represent the ideas and often the pulse and vibe of the staff. They provide management with input and feedback on items such as uniforms, equipment, schedules, etc.
This committee should be a mix of associates on various shifts and levels. It should also involve management on multiple levels.
In an increasingly employee-friendly and all-embracing health care industry, employee engagement must be made a priority. Before now, the importance of EVS staff was sometimes overlooked.
However, we have seen the essential role they have played during the past year as hospital EVS workers have been in the spotlight.
Their work in cleaning hospital surfaces has been crucial. Therefore, employee engagement is vital for the EVS staff.
About the Author.
Isaac Johnson is an IEHA council member and district director for IEHA’s Southeast district and holds the distinctive Master’s Registered Executive Housekeeper designation.