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Healthcare employee engagement surveys

Engaged employees are better for your hospital or clinic. Learn more about your employees with an engagement survey.

To care for patients with skill and compassion, healthcare employees need to be engaged, trained, and motivated.

Employee engagement surveys make sure physicians and staff have everything they need to put patients first.

In a recent study, we saw that more than half of healthcare providers measure employee satisfaction as part of their effort to offer great care. If you’re not measuring employee engagement, you could be overlooking a key element that impacts patient satisfaction and—most importantly—health outcomes.

Fire up your workforce with an automated, high-cadence engagement program rooted in social science.

Employee engagement reflects the level of commitment employees have to their organization. In the healthcare industry, a high level of commitment and dedication is needed. So, it’s good practice to survey your staff frequently to stay aware of how connected people are with their work. 

Employee engagement shouldn’t be confused with employee satisfaction, although the two terms are interconnected. The level of employee engagement can often mirror how happy they are with their job, but it’s also possible that happy employees are not fully committed to the mission and goals of your healthcare organization. The level of employee engagement in healthcare is a critical assessment to keep track of because your customers are patients. And each patient’s needs are life-and-death-related cases. 

There are 4 levels of employee engagement to distinguish hospital workers’ performance: Highly engaged, moderated engaged, somewhat engaged, and disengaged. Here’s a closer look at what at how these levels are defined:

  • Highly engaged healthcare employees: These are workers who understand how their role makes a difference in the organization’s success. They’ll work overtime when needed and are passionate about finding ways to improve processes for a more efficient workflow. 
  • Moderately engaged healthcare employees: These workers are model employees. They’re content with their job, but they’re not actively advocates. These are the people who have the potential to contribute more, but something is holding them back. 
  • Somewhat engaged healthcare employees: These workers come to work to perform their duties, but because they are indifferent to the organization’s mission, they may underperform and might leave for another job that’s more attractive to them. 
  • Disengaged healthcare employees: These employees are unhappy workers who openly share their negative attitudes with colleagues causing discord in the work environment.

Employee engagement in healthcare can have a direct impact on hospital finances. Low levels of engagement can result in malpractice claims, with funds going toward attorney fees instead of the betterment of healthcare. 

The requirement of healthcare employee engagement will typically rank on the higher side for doctors, surgeons, nurses, and nurses’ aids since their responsibilities involve direct healthcare to patients. Administrative duties also require a level of excellence to keep track of patient charts, insurance, and other confidential information, while the maintenance department and housekeeping contribute to keeping the structure clean and safe. From the top tier down, every job in healthcare is vital to the overall success of the organization, which is why hospital employee engagement matters.   

In addition to the upkeep of hospital conditions, hospital employee engagement requires 24-hour service. Absenteeism and retention can negatively affect patient satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. This can mean lower revenue and loss of profit to provide healthcare staff with state-of-the-art technology needed to treat patients and save lives.

Employee engagement surveys measure how passionate healthcare professionals are about the work they’re doing. They also make it easier to identify changes that will help doctors and staff do an even better job.

It’s worth mentioning again that measuring employee engagement in healthcare is vitally important, as employees who are happy tend to provide the kind of care that makes patients happy. In fact, research has shown that engaged employees are more likely to innovate, and they’re more likely to tackle their work with focus, intensity, and enthusiasm.

Fortunately, measuring the engagement of healthcare professionals can also be pretty simple. We’ve developed expert survey template questionnaires to help you get reliable results, and we also offer benchmark data to help you see where you stand in relation to other healthcare organizations.

The options for creating engagement surveys are infinite. Your creativity can drive the designing and formatting, but you also want to be strategic in collecting relevant data to help answer questions and solve problems. You can also use your feedback to benchmark data for future survey insights. 

Here are 10 steps to creating a healthcare employee engagement survey:

  1. Build good formatting: Build your survey in a way that keeps healthcare respondents engaged. You also want to prevent them from exiting the survey prematurely, so include page titles with instructions and information about the purpose of the survey. Create whitespace with page breaks to make the questionnaire appealing to the eye and less condensed with questions. 
  1. Survey frequently: Be sure to try and survey your healthcare workers often enough to establish a benchmark of their performance. You also want to avoid assigning them too many surveys to complete to prevent fatigue and less-than-honest feedback.  
  1. Use brevity: Avoid creating surveys with too many questions. Also, long-worded questions can complicate the clarity of your query. Healthcare workers typically have pressing obligations, so be strategic with your questions. Try to ask them in a way that gives you the most valuable feedback. 
  1. Ask for assistance: Ask healthcare workers to contribute questions. Use this survey project as a team-building opportunity to learn what issues are important to your practitioners, staff, and department heads. 
  1. Be specific: Avoid vague questions. Make sure each question is meant to address one idea at a time. The feedback you’ll collect from specific questions will generate data that reads better. 
  1. Be clear: Keep your questions simple enough to avoid misinterpretation. Asking a 2-part question may confuse a respondent causing them to answer one question or provide an irrelevant answer. 
  1. Be relevant to the topic: Speaking of relevancy, make sure your questions are related to the subject matter. Questions that are specific to one department might not be suitable for another. 
  1. Use binary questions sparingly: Yes and no questions can provide valuable insights with the right questions, but they won’t help you gauge a level of employee engagement, so try not to use too many of them. 
  1. Use matrix questions sparingly: While matrix questions can give you information that gauges how your employees feel, it also makes it easy for them to answer without putting much thought into the question. That’s why it’s best to use a variety of question formats.
  1. Use templates: SurveyMonkey templates offer a variety of questions you can customize to your brand–and pretty much assists you in all of these steps. Browse SurveyMonkey employee feedback templates

Surveys like this might sound complicated, but we make it easy.

Our Employee Engagement Survey Template can help you gain insight into each and every part of the employee experience, from overall motivation to career development. And you can refine those results with other employee questionnaires that measure benefitsrelationship management and more.

We can even provide you with benchmarking data for employee engagement, so you’ll be able to measure your progress over time, and compare your success with the success of others.

To understand a little more about healthcare employee engagement, we surveyed 717 senior-level healthcare professionals. Our research shows more than half of healthcare organizations use surveys to measure employee satisfaction, and this is what they’re learning:

  • More than 60% of employees are satisfied with the training they get from their organization.
  • More than 70% are satisfied with the level of interaction they have with patients.
  • But only 45% say senior management staff is full of good communicators.

This last number provides administrators with a unique opportunity. Rather than focusing on managing a medical practice more efficiently, experts at these facilities might want to invest in new communication tools. Or they might want to foster more face-to-face meetings between junior level and senior level staff. Some might even focus on multitasking, as stressed employees might be more likely to be disengaged.

Do these findings hold true for your organization? A well-crafted survey can provide you with the granular detail you need to help employees do a better job.

If the staff is relatively happy with the training they get but there isn’t enough communication from senior management, you may need to make some shifts. You can follow up with another survey that could be submitted to department heads with questions about employee leadership. These insights can help you plan ways to improve employee communications.

Expert survey templates can make it simple to create engagement surveys, but there may be specific topics you want to ask about that aren’t covered. Here are a few ideas to help you write good survey questions:

Be conversational: In healthcare surveys you write for patients, you should work hard to eliminate the slang, lingo and abbreviations that pop up around healthcare facilities. But in surveys for healthcare professionals, you’re writing for your peers. It’s fine to use the language everyone understands.

Assure confidentiality: In the introduction to your survey, remind your readers that you won’t attach their names to the answers they provide. Few employees will feel comfortable being open and honest about sensitive work-related feelings (like safety issues or the performance of others) if they think it could be tied back to them.

Keep it (relatively) short: Our research suggests that response rates for surveys tend to drop when participants are asked more than 10 questions. But measuring employee engagement is a tricky business, so you might need to ask a lot of different questions in different ways. Do try to keep the survey short, however, and remember that you can always follow up with another set of questions at a later date.

Track your progress: Setting up internal benchmarks allows you to compare your scores as they change with time. But you can also use SurveyMonkey Benchmarks to compare your responses with hundreds of other organizations.

For more survey writing ideas, check out our survey best practices.

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