Increasing Employee Engagement in Healthcare with Leadership Speaker Vicki Hess


Exclusive Interview with: Vicki Hess

Healthcare keynote speaker, Vicki Hess, RN, is your go-to resource for improving employee engagement in healthcare. Whether you work in a hospital, health system or your members or customers work in healthcare, Vicki brings a unique view and powerful tools to transform engagement, one employee at a time. She is the author of four books, including SHIFT to Professional Paradise: 5 Steps to Less Stress, More Energy & Remarkable Results at Work and 6 Shortcuts to Employee Engagement: Lead & Succeed in a Do-More-with-Less World.

The conversation truly changes when leaders start to talk about employee engagement because they genuinely care for individual team members.

SPEAKING.COM: What do we need to change about the way we talk about employee engagement?

HESS: Too many leaders talk about employee engagement for the organization’s benefit, but charts and graphs which display engagement results and connect with bottom line measures don’t motivate staff.

The conversation truly changes when leaders start to talk about employee engagement because they genuinely care for individual team members. The person that benefits the most from being engaged is the employee him or herself, and when folks have a good day at work, then everyone else around them benefits.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the biggest challenges leaders face in engaging today’s employees?

HESS: One big challenge is the assumption that the organization and leader are responsible for an employee’s level of engagement when in reality, It Takes 3™. Engagement improves when the organization has a strategic focus, leaders have tactical focus and employees have a personal focus.

Think of the challenge of personally connecting with 50 team members and then add the additional challenge of not working the same hours.

SPEAKING.COM: What are a few employee engagement challenges that are unique to the healthcare industry?

HESS: Healthcare has employees working 24/7, 365 days a year. With the “always open” mentality of inpatient care, managers have a harder time supporting all shifts. Frequently, nurse managers have more than 50 direct reports working around the clock. Think of the challenge of personally connecting with 50 team members and then add the additional challenge of not working the same hours.

Another big challenge is the level of uncertainty and change due to the political and regulatory climate. Reimbursement formulas based on patient satisfaction add further complexity. Every day brings new challenges to healthcare employees and that can enhance or detract from engagement depending on how they are handled.

SPEAKING.COM: What do you mean when you talk about creating “Professional Paradise”?

HESS: Professional Paradise™ is an internal state of mind that is created by a set of beliefs and mindsets that drive positive actions and outcomes. Every individual is capable of creating his or her own Professional Paradise regardless of what’s happening externally. It’s a synonym for employee engagement. Team members create Professional Paradise when they are satisfied, energized and productive.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some ways managers can handle negative employees?

HESS: With negative employees who have “burned all their bridges”, the best management tool is to document negative behavior, follow HR policies and manage the person out of the organization. In the case of negative employees who are productive that the manager wishes to keep on, the conversation needs to change. Managers who approach negative employees with an “I care about you” attitude and dialogue have an opportunity to understand where the negativity stems from and proceed from there. When leaders want direct reports to be engaged because they genuinely care about their well-being, the conversation shifts.

New technology usually makes our jobs easier BUT it takes time, patience and a willingness to feel uncomfortable in the short term if we’re going to achieve the desired outcome.

SPEAKING.COM: You mention a great deal about employees being asked to do more with less. To what extent is the introduction of new healthcare technology actually making healthcare providers’ jobs easier?

HESS: New technology usually makes our jobs easier BUT it takes time, patience and a willingness to feel uncomfortable in the short term if we’re going to achieve the desired outcome. Seth Godin recently said “Change creates incompetence” and a big light bulb went off.

That’s exactly what happens in healthcare. We have systems and processes that we are used to – clinical or otherwise. When innovation and disruption come into play to improve quality, safety or satisfaction, then we have to adapt and that often creates a feeling of incompetence. Employees may become disengaged if they aren’t involved in the change process. However, having input before major transitions can minimize the impact of the change.

SPEAKING.COM: How can health organizations prepare for the possible repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act?

HESS: The same way they prepare for all changes: thinking strategically, acting tactically and getting individuals involved at a personal level. Communication is key; admitting that we don’t know what we don’t know builds trust in uncertain times.

One healthcare leader I worked with recently said, “We are doing the right things right” (things like delivering high quality, safe care in a cost effective manner) and “We know that no matter what happens with the ACA we’ll be okay.”

I completely agree.

To bring healthcare speaker Vicki Hess to your organization, please contact Michael Frick at: Mike@Speaking.com

© SPEAKING.com, published on June 17, 2018

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