HCAHPS and patient satisfaction scores remain among the top priorities of healthcare providers today. While healthcare providers address how to improve these, one critical area is often overlooked — their employees. Healthcare facilities need to focus on the link between employee engagement and patient satisfaction. Numerous organizations like Press Ganey and The Forum have studied the effect of employee engagement on patient satisfaction. Press Ganey found that on average, 40% of healthcare workers across the country plan to change jobs. Along with the considerable costs that come with turnover, including recruiting new candidates, employment background checks, increased use of travel nurses and per diems, orientation time, and training costs, comes a decrease in morale and loss of organizational knowledge that can limit a hospital’s ability to serve its patients most effectively. In addition to increased retention, high employee engagement improves employee willingness to go above and beyond for their patients, increasing the patients’ comfort and well-being. A 2009 study by The Forum found that patients rated the quality of care higher when treated in departments with more satisfied employees. As a result, these patients were more likely to recommend the hospital to others.
Individual recognition, even for those in higher positions, is one of the most influential factors over employee engagement. Employees expressed the need to feel empowered to make decisions and be involved in overall organizational decision-making. They also cited better communication and clearly defined organizational goals as essential components in order to succeed. Recognizing your employees for making a difference increases engagement, which is important in employee satisfaction and commitment, leading to better patient satisfaction, and ultimately, improved financial performance.