Engagement and High-Performing Organizations

I have had the privilege recently of working with three exceptional organizations that have embraced the philosophy of employee partnership and view it as a key component to becoming high-performing organizations. Each has assessed its employees so that it can address the issues that impact satisfaction as well as work to create an environment that fosters employee engagement. Aspects of employee engagement are highly correlated with overall patient satisfaction. These organizations understand the link between an engaged workforce, patient satisfaction and their overall success.

As defined by William A. Kahn, a professor of organizational behavior at Boston University’s School of Management, engagement is an emotional or psychological state where employees display ideal organizational behaviors. Simply put, it means employees who go above and beyond what is required of them. It means employees focusing on the needs of those they care for and those they serve before their own needs. It is employees who are equally concerned for their own success and the success of the organization. They look for ways to improve processes, quality, safety and service. They are partners. And really, who wouldn’t want to be cared for by an engaged employee? That is why engaging the workforce is so important to an organization’s success.

The organizations mentioned above have been successful at creating a culture that encourages engagement. They each work to create an environment where it is safe and encouraged to share concerns and suggestions about the work and how it is accomplished (safe social climate). Suggestions, input and differing views are encouraged. These organizations consider employee input necessary to arriving at the best possible decisions and to generating buy-in for implementation of change. They regularly assess employees’ perception of how well they involve them in decisions that affect their work. They ask about, and look for, additional opportunities to involve employees. They cultivate partnership.

Another way these organizations create an environment that encourages engagement is by supporting the delivery of high quality service through training and resources. They know that employees who believe the quality of care to be excellent and who would recommend the organization for health care services are more likely to have satisfied patients. These organizations are committed to quality and they demonstrate this commitment by ensuring employees have the tools to deliver quality service (adequate equipment, processes and ongoing training). They know that when asking employees to do quality work they need to provide the equipment and training to achieve high quality. Supported employees are then free to focus on delivering high quality service and focusing on the needs of others, which in turn will make the organization successful.

The organizations above understand the link between employee engagement and organizational performance. They have experienced the positive effects of an engaged workforce and will continue to create a culture of engagement