There is not a magic solution to keep employees engaged. I have looked. Much like everything else within our lives we must be able to juggle staying on top of the morale of our co-workers. To be successful and get through these times, it is one of the most important things we will spend time on. You can go to numerous websites and see what the importance of engagement is for the patient experience, attendance of staff and the longevity of the staff. You can also learn about all the different methods of getting them engaged. I myself tend to review the data from Gallup, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Press Ganey to get an overarching view of what is going on and what others are doing to keep the spirit alive.
First off, as a leader, I take the approach that the engagement starts with me. To be able to do this you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- “How am I keeping engaged?” – Knowing what keeps you motivated through these unique times could help give others a means to find their own motivation if theirs do not coincide with yours. We are all human, so when we realize that our own mindset is not on track and where it needs to be, then knowing what motivates you can get you back on the right track.
- “Am I modeling the right level of engagement?” – To expect that others within your sphere of influence be engaged you must first model that expected behavior. Modeling from the leadership shows commitment to all and demonstrates that it can still be done despite what the world is throwing at you. With change management when you have leadership engagement and demonstrating a trait or action it has been proven that the rest of the staff will give the new way a chance. It helps to show them that there is something in it for them and they will often find what is their own stake in adopting that mindset. Let’s be honest, for some of your staff being positively engaged just might be an act of change management. You as leader, know your staff and adjust your methods of demonstrating engagement to fit each scenario.
- “Do I know my people?” – If you do not know them as well as you believe you should, might I suggest that you review a great “Rad Ideas” article from a few months ago where Sandy Michalski showed how to use a “Getting to Know You” document for just that reason. You can cater the document to fit your own needs, but I loved the fact that it asked each person their preferred method of communication for work related topics. I like to ask if they know what their personality type is. If they do not, there are several free websites out there that they can go to. Something to consider when you are approaching how to encourage engagement with your staff is their work environment. The in-person direct care staff member versus your staff working virtually are in different levels of interaction. Knowing their personalities and how they are affected with everything may help with knowing the level of engagement that you may need to participate in with them. People tend to be social animals and while those on the front lines are kind of getting that interaction (behind PPE) a lot of the staff working virtually are not. This includes staff members who come in to work but sit behind closed doors down the hall and are only seen via video call meetings. Recently, I have noticed that many staff members have their cameras turned off. Maybe you can institute a day of the week like Friday where everyone must be on camera? You can call it the “Show Your Face Friday” meetings. This allows everyone to see each other and, believe it or not, it is kind of fun to see everyone occasionally … if only on a monitor.
While this is not everything that you can do it is a great start toward positive engagement for you and your staff. If you would like to hear more and about engagement, I hope that you can join me at the Imaging Conference and Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida this month! Find out more at AttendICE.com.
John J. Beall, MAA-HA, FAHRA, Health System Specialist-Strategic Planner, VA Puget Sound Health Care System
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