I had an interesting conversation online last week about a Press Ganey study that said 45% of hospital employees are “distanced from or discontented with” their work—and that employees who work most closely with patients are the most likely to be dissatisfied.

So what can hospitals do? From the Press Ganey news release:

Rather than simply concentrating on any single basic employee need, such as pay, benefits or quality of daily work, partnerships are created when employees are both satisfied and engaged. To achieve this, the report’s findings suggest that hospitals focus on creating an environment where employees feel an emotional bond with colleagues as well as with the overall organization. Based on the experience of the Press Ganey Consulting Group, organizations that take steps to partner in this way with their employees have seen increased employee retention, increased patient satisfaction and a healthier fiscal bottom line.

 

In other words, it’s not about the money. It’s about the love.

Hospital employees want to be part of something bigger. They didn’t get into health care because it was easy. In one way or another, the nurses and others who provide patient care chose their professions because they want to help people. The fact that so many of them are dissatisfied suggests they’re being frustrated in their quest to do good work.

What to do, specifically? How about better communication? How about making sure employees are connected with your strategic priorities in terms of both medicine and marketing? What does the hospital stand for? What is excellent about it? How can employees get more involved? How can they help their friends and families live healthier lives? Most hospitals are relatively large employers in their communities, and employees should have disproportionate influence over their friends’ healthcare decisions. It would seem that keeping employees informed and inspired would be good for business in lots of ways.

For our client St.Vincent Health (with our partners at St. Claire Group), we’ve also made it a priority to connect

associates with our marketing campaigns—encouraging them specifically to get familiar with our campaign websites—including our 3384HER.com women’s health site and our oncology site, OurFightAgainstCancer.com. We’re encouraging St.Vincent associates to get involved with and even take ownership of these sites. In so doing, we’re connecting them directly with our public messaging and showing them how important they are to the team.

Keeping people informed and empowered is just part of the solution. But helping employees see that they’re part of something larger—and giving them tools to connect with each other and their community—is a great first step.