Employee Engagement is a hot topic in healthcare today. An engaged workforce is demonstrated to produce a better product. No where is this more important or evident than in the healthcare arena. Happy nurses make happy patients. Cranky nurses or nurses who don't seem to care negatively impact the workforce. And its not only the nurses. Staff through out the healthcare workforce, from the CEO to the valet, have a positive or negative impact on patient satisfaction. With so much depending on patient satisfaction the more you can know about what engages or disengages employee the better chance you will have at satisfying your customers.
So To Start - lets talk about what I like to call "DEMs" or Disengaging Moments.
What can you say - if you have ever been micro managed you know how disengaging this can be. Unfortunately some leaders confuse micro management with holding people accountable. When you hold people accountable - its for the end work product. When you micro manage its about someone telling you exactly what they want EVERY step of the way. The employee never does it good enough because its not done exactly as you think it should be done. If you hire the right people - don't micro manage them - you will just drive them out the door. Let people do their jobs the way they think they should be done - as long as you get the end product you want and they are ethical and legal in their approach, be happy.
-Not Holding Everyone Accountable - Many leaders practice "performance punishment" where those that do the most work - get the most work to do. Those that do the least work - get the least work to do. Not only is this a pathway to disaster - you work your best workers to death- but is is very disengaging. As a leader its your ultimate responsibility to get the end product completed. If you have poor workers, either take the time to develop them, or move them out. Do you practice "performance punishment"? If you do, intentionally or not, you are disengaging your high producers.
-Painting Everybody with the Same Brush - What the heck is this? Its when one or two people make errors and everyone is lectured about it in a meeting or open forum. Inferring that the leader thinks everyone is responsible. Instead of talking to those that make the errors or are not working at peak levels, the leader blasts everyone about the issue. Some make say this is a way to keep everyone up-to-date about the expectations but to a high performer - its an insult and will disengage them if its done often enough.
-Failure to Recognize or Praise for a Job Well Done- Every employee wants and needs praise for a job well done. When a leader fails to do this - the employee begins to feel taken for granted and will disengage, If you don't show you care and appreciate your employees by praising them and recognizing their efforts - you are setting up a climate of disengagement for all employees.
-Failure to Tolerate Mistakes - Employees are human and they do make mistakes. A lot of the times the mistakes are due to problems in an infrastructure - policies, systems, equipment, etc. Sometimes they are just "mistakes" an employee makes, If no one is hurt or died - you can fix any mistakes made. Don't berate the employee. Instead, figure out why the mistake was made and work with the employee to fix it. Mistakes can be engaging or disengaging - its all in how you handle it as a leader.
-Failing to Give Clear Instructions - If you can't give clear instructions or you don't know what you really want done - keep you mouth shut until you figure it out. There is nothing worse than a leader that keeps revising an employee's work product because they don't know what they really want. It makes high producers nuts and will absolutely destroy someone who is not confident in their job.
-Knee Jerk or Reactive Leadership - Good employee's will only tolerate "the sky is falling" mentality in a leader for so long. If you have ever worked with a "hair on fire" boss you know what I am talking about. When everything is an "emergency" workers get burned out and will eventually leave for calmer leadership.
-Failure to Let Employees Follow their Passion - This can be tricky but we all have things that we do that we like and things that we do that we don't like. Failure to realize that an employee is or is not passionate about some of their work can lead to disengagement. While letting an employee pursue their passion leads to engagement. For example, I have a true "compute geek" on my staff. This person can do anything with a computer. I make sure any work to be done with computers, Learning Management Systems, electronic data gathering, etc, is assigned to them. Although they have to do a lot of things they are not wild about. The fact that they get to pursue their passion makes them highly engaged and productive. How do you figure out what their passion is - ask them - most people will gladly talk about it.
-Not Listening to Them or Asking Their Opinion- NEVER, EVER make a decision without hearing everyone's side of the story. Ask opinions - don't make decisions in a vacuum or you will get sucked into the disengagement abyss where your employees leave you.
-Giving Credit Where Credit is Due - There is nothing more disengaging than taking full credit for someone's work. There is a reason plagiarism is a no-no in the world. Talking credit for someone's work when you didn't contribute to the work is extremely disengaging to your workers. Give credit where credit is due - although its tempting to take the praise for a job well done - you will better engage your workforce when you at least share the credit with those that have done the work. Its the ethical thing to do.
That is enough for now - give me your feedback and your stories about how you have been disengaged so we can all learn how not to disengage our employees. Once we get disengaging moments covered we can start working on engaging moments! Have a great day!