IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: How Mobile App Technology Can Help Build and Maintain Employee Engagement in the Healthcare IndustryMarch 12, 2018 No Comments
Research from the most highly respected research organizations around the world are finding and reporting that there is a rising epidemic of disengaged employees in the healthcare industry. Given the potential dire ramifications (not to mention the business and legal implications) of a healthcare professional that isn’t “giving it their all” it is clear why a business case must be constructed for a proactive approach to building and maintaining employee engagement. I speak today with Geraldine Osman, Vice President of Marketing, StaffConnect on this important and timely topic.
- Q: In your opinion is the healthcare industry facing an employee engagement crisis? And, if so what are the ramifications?
A: The healthcare industry as a whole has been under increasing pressure for sometime, it’s a perfect storm combining elements of political pressure, growing populations and the escalating financial pressures, which mean staff are becoming ever more demotivated and disengaged. The need to scale for healthcare organizations means that recruiting talent is a high priority, but when you combine that with the high attrition that this market is experiencing it creates a never ending cycle of trying to scale while trying to plug the gaps.
The ramifications for healthcare can be literally life or death. When we consider that in the corporate world, poor attrition and low productivity (both classic symptoms of disengagement) directly affect bottom line and profitability which can be devastating for the future of any business. With healthcare, the same symptoms have a direct bearing on patient care, lower staffing levels due to attrition or demotivated staff means performance degradation and significant risk to patient experience and health outcomes.
- Q: Do the issues differ country-by-country – for instance, how does the U.S. differ from the issues being faced in the UK healthcare arena?
A: The underlying issues are very similar, despite the difference in a state system for the UK and a private system in the US, the pressures on the overall healthcare industry are being felt across global healthcare – it has one of the highest disengagement levels whichever geography you look at. It is no coincidence that the healthcare market is supported by a high proportion of frontline or non desk workers – field based care givers, paramedics, porters, caterers…. These workers are often out of the loop when it comes to communication and so they are much more likely to be disconnected from the organization goals and initiatives that are necessary to drive a cultural shift.
- Q: You have said that for healthcare organizations to move forward and advance their employee engagement levels, HR, Communications and other key executives must transform from being talent experts to being experience facilitators. What do you mean by this?
A: If you accept that the talent acquisition is a never-ending cycle when you have high levels of disengagement, then you have to shift and look at how to address the root cause in order to slow down attrition as well as making your organization more attractive to new talent. This means focusing on the employee experience and implementing measures to improve this. Creating a positive employee experience means a more engaged workforce, that is more productive, less prone to attrition and more likely to refer and recommend their employer to their network.
- Q: How does technology help facilitate this transformation?
A: The role of technology is to unify the workforce by including frontline workers in any cultural shift initiatives to address the problem. The only way to do this successfully is with a mobile platform that can reach the entire workforce and deliver a communication strategy that will really start to engage each and every individual across the distributed landscape of a healthcare organization. Giving employees access to all the latest information and programs that are designed to improve their working lives while simultaneously giving them the ability to voice their feedback on what is working and what is needed is critical to drive the transformation.
- Q: To close today’s discussion, can you offer any examples and point to any use cases?
A. Absolutely. Community Health Partnerships (CHP) recently deployed the StaffConnect mobile app platform to enhance employee communication and drive increased employee engagement. In doing so, CHP is now able to further deliver on its two-decade mission to do public good by building healthy spaces that improve patient care across England.
Rapidly growing and diversifying, CHP conducted an employee survey that showed extremely high levels of employee engagement. Determined to maintain and ideally improve these statistics it sought a solution that would enable them to enhance proactive employee communications across multiple locations in real-time, as well as enable the sharing of content across locations – regardless of title. In addition, it was highly critical that the solution enable them to continuously measure employee engagement and attitudes, so that they could respond quickly and appropriately.
CHP considered several choices which included setting up a private Facebook group or using Yammer. But, with a desire for simplicity and effectiveness, as well as a “personal touch” CHP selected the StaffConnect mobile app platform. And, since CHP was already using HR apps via phone for digital connection among its teams, StaffConnect offered a seamless and natural next step.
StaffConnect’s communications professionals worked closely with CHP, providing domain expertise to help the organization define best practices and implement a successful communication strategy that would ensure StaffConnect deployment and ongoing utilization success. As a result, when CHP launched StaffConnect, they saw extremely high download rates of the app, far exceeding initial expectations. Of course, downloads are great, but the true win here is the extent to which employees are utilizing the StaffConnect interactive app, which when combined with our intuitive management console and inspiring success program, has enabled CHP to transform how the organization reaches, communicates with, and engages its workforce.
For those interested in learning more, the CHP case study can be read here: https://www.staffconnectapp.com/customers/chp-case-study/.
Geraldine Osman, Vice President of Marketing, StaffConnectMOBILE