The challenges of the healthcare industry today require hospitals and health systems to apply all available resources to a strategy toward reducing cost and improving quality. One of healthcare organizations' greatest resources — and often the key to the success of new initiatives — is their employees.
Attracting and retaining skilled employees necessitates a nurturing environment that encourages and rewards innovation through both material and nonmaterial benefits. While tangible benefits, such as health insurance and compensation, are important to employee satisfaction, what may be more important are intangible benefits, such as respect and recognition. A company focused on the patient experience implies "People want to feel valued." In fact, most of the following pillars of success involve abstract concepts that, while difficult to define, may ultimately separate a "good" workplace from a "great" one.
1. Culture. Hospitals and health systems identified by employees as great places to work have developed a culture that reflects the values of the workers and organization.
2. Transparency. Being transparent with employees is critical to gaining their trust and engaging them in their work.
3. Communication. In addition to being transparent with employees, hospitals and health systems should communicate openly with employees on other aspects of healthcare that affect them.
4. Listening. As important as providing information to employees is soliciting information from them through surveys or other discussions.
5. Caring. Showing employees their leaders and colleagues care for them is important in enhancing job satisfaction and employee retention.
6. Empathy. Empathy takes caring one step further by expressing an understanding of employees' situation. Making employees aware that their leaders understand the challenges of their job is critical in engaging employees in the workplace.
7. Recognition. Recognizing employees for their efforts significantly impacts employee job satisfaction.
8. Professional development. Professional development opportunities are also central to an attractive workplace because they show the organization's investment in employees and their desire for them to progress in their careers.
9. Organizational pride. Hospitals and health systems identified by their employees as great places to work are those that make their employees proud of the organization, such as by getting involved in the community.
10. Fun. Becoming a great place to work in healthcare also requires opportunities for employees to have fun. One way to have fun is encouraging employees to decorate their office space.