Healthcare’s shortage of workers might be the biggest issue plaguing the industry. Low staffing levels are not only putting more pressure on workers who are already burnt out, but they’re also leading to employee strikes and a lower quality of patient care.
To address this pressing issue, health systems across the country are working to ensure their hospitals are places where workers feel heard and supported. Last week at the Reuters Total Health conference in Chicago, AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw shared three key pillars that the health system uses to create a people-first culture among its workforce that numbers 92,000 caregivers across nine states. .
Execs don’t have the best vantage point
A few years ago, AdventHealth learned that its executives don’t always have the right answers like they may think they do, Shaw pointed out.
“I asked my group of 450 executive leaders to prioritize what they thought our team of 85,000 frontline employees would want from a benefits package. And then I had our other team go out and do a survey of about 5,000 of our frontline employees and ask the exact same question. Lo and behold, when we put the two things side by side, we found we weren’t nearly as smart as we thought we were,” he explained.
In Shaw’s view, some executives need to “get real.” To do this, he encouraged health system leaders to recognize the fact that their reality is different from that lived by the people who show up on the front lines each day to deliver care. Once executives acknowledge this, they can make decisions that prioritize workers’ desires and daily challenges.
Follow through is crucial
Asking for workers’ feedback on how their workplace can be improved isn’t enough, Shaw noted. Staff members need to see that their feedback is being used to make changes, he said.
“Don’t bother to ask unless there’s something you’re going to do about it. Because asking those kinds of questions without follow through is kind of the death knell because the next time you ask, nobody is going to think you’re serious,” Shaw declared.
Employees need career advancement opportunities
In 2018, AdventHealth established a leadership institute to identify and develop emerging executive leaders across the organization. It was designed to foster career growth for team members on every level, Shaw pointed out.
The workshops within the institute help AdventHealth’s leaders and potential leaders understand the importance of making their employee base feel valued. Leaders are trained to engage their workers and ensure that they are managing the unit in a way that suits all its workers, Shaw explained.
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