Healthcare employees often feel overworked and underappreciated, which can have a negative effect on patient care and satisfaction. In healthcare it is absolutely essential to establish and nurture a culture of employee engagement. The Advisory Board Company found that 20% of all hospital employees are either disengaged or ambivalent, while 40% are merely content. When lives are on the line, ensuring your organization has engaged employees is critical to your healthcare organization’s success.

Disengaged employees are clocking in, doing their work, and clocking out — they’re not truly connected to your organization or invested in its success. Engaged employees, on the other hand, believe in their organization’s mission, vision, and values, and will put in extra discretionary effort wherever they can. Healthcare organizations are so focused on delivering patient care that they may unintentionally overlook the people who provide that care, not to mention the benefits of investing in employee engagement:

1.  Increased Employee Satisfaction and Retention

The “war for talent” is growing each day, with competition for healthcare hires on the rise and open roles exceeding the number of qualified professionals available to fill them. In fact, it’s been predicted that there will be a shortage of 1 million nurses in the United States by 2020. Employees who don’t feel connected to your organization have plenty of opportunities to pick up and leave when another opportunity presents itself.

Healthcare employees you who feel connected to their jobs are less likely to leave the organization for another opportunity. When they feel they belong in your organization, either because of the people you serve, the team they work with, or the opportunities they have for growth, they will stay longer.

2.  Improved Patient Care and Satisfaction

Engaged employees will go the extra mile to provide high quality care, while disengaged employees may do the bare minimum just to get through the day. Every employee in your organization, from your physicians and nurses to housekeepers and environmental service staff, have an impact on  patient satisfaction — for better or for worse. When your employees are stressed, your patients will be stressed. But when your employees are happy and go out of their way to make a difference in their patients’ lives, your patients will see it and be happier too.

3.  Improved Employer Brand and Candidate Quality

As employee and patient satisfaction improves, your employer brand — or the way candidates perceive your organization — will improve as well. People would rather work in an organization with happy employees and patients — so you will find it easier to recruit and retain top-tier talent. This will become increasingly important as the demand for qualified healthcare talent continues to grow. Healthcare organizations will be competing in the same talent pool, but a great employer brand can help you stand out as an employer of choice so you can win the best talent for your team.

4.  Increased Profit

Engaged employees and satisfied patients will also have a direct impact on your top and bottom lines. For each 1% increase in employee engagement, The Advisory Board saw a 0.33% increase in HCAHPS Overall Hospital Rating, and a 0.25% increase in HCAHPS Willingness to Recommend Rating. When patient satisfaction and HCAHPS scores are directly tied to revenue, happy patients can increase profits for your organization. With better patient care, it’s likely you’ll also see shorter hospital stays, fewer malpractice suits, and lower recruitment costs.

When 85% of engaged employees display a genuinely caring attitude toward patients, while only 38% of disengaged employees do, an engaged employee can be the key to high quality care and patient satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to happier employees, a stronger employment brand, and increased profit for your organization.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can improve employee engagement in your healthcare organization? Download our how-to guide:

Building Employee Engagement: How to Improve Employee Retention and Increase Patient Satisfaction


About Jen Dewar

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in the HR technology space with a focus on developing educational content for recruiters, corporate HR professionals, and staffing agency owners. She has spent the past 10 years working with a wide variety of companies — from corporate marketing for healthcare organizations and recruitment firms, to startup marketing for both Identified and, prior to their respective acquisitions. When she’s not doing marketing, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe, enjoying a glass of wine in Sonoma, or watching Netflix at home with her husband.