In many ways, an engaged workforce can be seen as a gift that keeps on giving; engaged employees can boost overall company morale, increase productivity and create a better work culture and environment. In fact, research shows that engaged employees outperform those who are not engaged by over 200%. Engaged employees are also twice as likely to be top performers, miss 20% fewer workdays and more willingly support organizational change.
In senior care, internal communication is a vital thread connecting clinics, staff and residents, leading to better employee engagement. Effective internal communication contributes to the overall health of senior care organizations because with increased staff engagement comes better resident outcomes. In a recent study, researchers determined that the engagement level of nurses was the number-one factor where patient mortality was concerned, with highly engaged hospital nurses experiencing superior patient outcomes and decreased mortality rates.
In this article, we explore how senior care organizations can leverage the kind of internal communications strategies used by some of the world’s most successful companies to improve staff engagement and more effectively recruit and retain employees.
Effective Communications through Technology
In senior care organizations, communications tend to be focused on patients and outside publics such as partners and family members of residents, and potential facility users. But overlooking the importance of effective communications among internal team members can lead to inefficient operations, in turn affecting the quality of care residents receive from staff.
Efficient methods of communication between management and staff are crucial in ensuring smooth operations. Keeping the lines of communication open between staff and leadership helps to reduce liability risks and ensure that staff have access to the policies, procedures and guidelines that they need to perform their jobs successfully.
Part of effective engagement involves finding workforce management and internal communications technology systems that make staff feel more valued. Many day-to-day processes—from shift callouts to staff communications and scheduling—currently rely on antiquated technologies and practices that drive inefficiencies and increase expenses, resulting in administrative burdens, poor staff communications and low job satisfaction in staff.
Advances in technology also make recruiting easier, more cost-effective and streamline the hiring process. Technology can help senior care organizations meet candidates where they live—on their mobile devices. More and more, candidates are using their mobile devices in the job hunt, with 89 percent of candidates believing their mobile devices to be a vital part of the job-hunting process. Technology can also help healthcare organizations improve the way they manage the workforce. For example, healthcare staffing software allows for more effective and streamlined hiring, retention and engagement practices in senior care facilities that contribute to improving the employee experience.
Organizational culture is the ‘social glue’ within an organization. It is a unique set of values, principles and behaviours that make up an organization’s personality. Organizational culture influences how people work, how they feel about their jobs, and how they interact with their colleagues.
When interviewing candidates, leaders often look for those who will fit into the company culture. But if internal communications are broken – so too is the culture.
To effectively build a strong workplace culture, internal communication is crucial as it allows organizations to tell their story in a way that resonates with employees and future employees.
Senior care leaders can leverage internal communications to bring their organizational culture to life in several ways:
1. Acknowledgement: According to a recent study, 69 per cent of employees said they would work harder if they were more appreciated. In senior care facilities, recognition can come in the form of everyday conversation, recognizing birthdays or implementing employee of the month initiatives.
2. Two-Way Dialogue: The more an organization encourages transparent communication and open, two-way dialogue between leaders and staff, the stronger its culture will grow. Incorporating employee feedback into conversations is integral to developing and maintaining a culture of trust.
3. Invest in Messaging Tools: A strong workplace culture encourages healthy interaction and clear communication between management and staff. Employee scheduling and communication software allow for more streamlined work practices that contribute to a positive work culture.
With healthcare turnover rising 5 per cent across all healthcare jobs over the last decade, and hospital turnover averaging 18.2 per cent in 2017- the highest ever recorded turnover for almost a decade in the industry – senior care leaders must continue to seek effective internal communications strategies and tools to improve staff engagement and entice new hires.
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