Your hospital is taking care of its bottom line, but is it taking care of its employees? Patient satisfaction is so closely related to employee satisfaction that it is almost impossible to have the first without the second.
Any small business owner can tell you that unhappy employees are rarely productive employees. That is also true for hospitals and clinics. Unhappy hospital team members rarely prioritize customer service. Bad attitudes toward work can create for an environment where employees treat patients as an annoyance rather than engaging with them to solve problems and build relationships.
A happy employee, on the other hand, is much more likely to treat customers with respect and compassion, which leads to better patient satisfaction.
So how can we help our employees?
Leadership comes first in improving employee satisfaction. Leading by example is not just the job for the hospital administrators. Managers, directors, at all levels of a facility’s staff should be compassionate toward employees and responsive to their needs and concerns. A good leader offers guidance and shows the way rather than dictating and giving orders.
Listen to staff
Hospital staff are your eyes and ears when it comes to the day-to-day operations of your facility. That means their concerns and suggestions should be taken seriously rather than dismissed off hand. We know that working in healthcare can be a stressful job, but taking a few seconds to slow down and listen to your team members can go a long way toward restoring trust – and it can also reveal ways to improve efficiencies and work practices.
Inconsistent rules and procedures are frustrating. Making policies understandable and training staff on procedures will make expectations clear and reduce frustration. When a member of the team in one department is treated differently than in another department it’s easy to lose focus – or worse, lose respect for the hospital’s leadership. Enforcement of policies must always be uniform across all areas of the hospital. Explaining to staff why certain guidelines exist helps them understand that procedures are in place for a reason and are not just arbitrary. “I don’t know why we do it this way; it’s just what I’m told,” is not what a patient wants to hear from a member of your staff.
Improve staff relations
Team cohesion is important to employee engagement. Your staff member don’t have to be best friends, but gathering everyone together to flesh out problems and go over ways to make work less stressful can help everyone get along better in the workplace. Make sure to hold regular team meetings and give everyone a chance to speak and give suggestions on how to improve the workplace environment. Staff activities such as contests and events are a good way to promote employee interaction. Even just a little dialogue between staff members can help improve team relationships.
Creating a positive environment for you employees is one of the best ways to improve customer satisfaction. An engaged team is much more inclined to be responsive to patient needs and build constructive relationships.
For more advice about customer service in hospitals and clinics, call SRJ Marketing Communications at 214-528-5775 to schedule a consultation. SRJ has years of experience training hospital staff in customer service.