Workforce Management 101: How Interactive Staff Scheduling Reduces Turnover

Staff turnover can sometimes have a snowball effect. One person becomes frustrated or unhappy and leaves the organization, followed by another and so on. Turnover and instability (real or perceived) can breed anxiety among the remaining staff. What begins as a single event could progress into a toxic work environment and patient care will ultimately suffer.

There is usually no single issue that leads to high turnover. While each organization has unique challenges, staff scheduling difficulties are among the most frequently-cited contributing factors, especially in healthcare.

This is where an interactive application like ABILITY SMARTFORCE® Scheduler can make all the difference. Several of the frustrations surrounding scheduling are eliminated when you make the switch from paper to electronic scheduling. Read on to discover how the latest innovations in healthcare staff scheduling can improve staff morale and reduce turnover.

Staff are active participants in scheduling

Interactive, cloud-based scheduling engages staff in the process, leading to greater overall satisfaction. Employees can view schedules, pick up extra shifts, swap shifts with coworkers or request PTO, all from their mobile device.

This is especially important as the healthcare workforce continues to skew younger. The bulk of their communication happens electronically, and they appreciate the opportunity to interact with coworkers and management in a casual way. The interactive platform can even be used for shout outs and well wishes for birthdays and anniversaries.

Easing the burden on schedulers

There are a lot of variables to keep in mind when creating a schedule – managing overtime, accounting for time-off requests and ensuring that staff are properly credentialed for their assigned shift locations/ departments. A cloud-based, electronic application ensures you have the information you need for fair and accurate scheduling at your fingertips.

Schedulers no longer have to spend their day on the phone trying to get shifts covered. With one text, they can send a notification to the whole team about open shifts and staff can respond immediately. This convenient alert system eliminates the need to call employees on their day off and guilt them into coming in, a common complaint from healthcare staff.

Data that does the calculations for you

In a hospital setting, schedulers know that a Saturday night in the emergency room is generally much busier than a Tuesday afternoon. In a skilled nursing facility, the number and conditions of patients can also fluctuate. Instead of being thrown by these variations, be prepared with custom templates based on patient volume.

In an electronic scheduling platform, data can be aggregated and used to predict staffing needs based on a number of criteria, saving the scheduler a significant amount of time. Striking the right balance ensures happy staff and the best possible patient care.

Turnover is an expensive problem. A simplified, streamlined scheduling process is an easy way to address some of the most common contributing factors, ensuring increased satisfaction for both staff and management.

Key Benefits of Incorporating “Shout Outs” Into Your Workforce Management Strategy

Have you patted someone on the back today? Is that a regular occurrence at your organization? Employee recognition or “shout outs” can go a long way to improve staff satisfaction and retention – two key concerns in healthcare.

There are few things that generate a larger (or easier) ROI than staff recognition. It takes very little time, but can shift the direction of an individual’s day, or on a larger scale, staff morale as a whole.

See why it’s worth your time and consideration to add shout outs to your workforce management strategy.

It couldn’t be easier

Let’s be honest, we’re all busy. But how long does it take to thank someone for picking up an extra shift at the last minute, or acknowledge a team member who went the extra mile to finish a task?

There are many ways to incorporate shout outs into your management strategy. It doesn’t cost a thing but generates significant goodwill. Workforce management is about more than just hiring and managing staff. A healthy workforce is a happy one.

People work harder when they’re appreciated

No one likes to feel taken for granted. We want to know our contributions are valued. Validation feels good, and studies have consistently shown that staff will work harder for recognition than for money. Healthcare is a difficult, and often thankless, industry. But by taking deliberate steps, you can change that within your organization.

Staff will stay put

Employee retention is top of mind in the healthcare industry. Long hours, complex working conditions and burnout can all contribute to high turnover. Replacing staff is expensive and time-consuming, and if they stay despite being unhappy, you may have an even bigger problem. Their pessimism can be a drain on morale.

While it’s not possible to please every staff member all the time, a genuine show of appreciation goes a long way to promote a positive attitude. Staff satisfaction and engagement can permeate a workforce as easily as apathy.

Your workforce management strategy determines the course. It’s easier to promote a positive atmosphere from the beginning than to claw your way out of a quagmire of discontent. Fortunately, technology can help you show gratitude and publicly recognize the accomplishments of staff. ABILITY SMARTFORCE®  Scheduler, for example, is an easy-to-use software tool that features shout outs on its mobile application.

Say thank you early and often. Recognize staff accomplishments in groups and one-on-one. Employees are less likely to leave if they think they’ll be missed.

workforce management tips

Reducing Overtime Pay and Understaffed Shifts – A Closer Look at How to Better Manage Your Team

Working overtime hurts employee morale. It causes staff burnout and hinders the patient experience, which can also occur when a shift is understaffed. There’s often a correlation between these two scheduling issues, leaving many healthcare leaders wondering what they can do to increase their workforce management efficiency.

The answer is simple: stop the cycle of overtime and burnout!

Not sure how to do that?

Here are a few tips on how to simplify this complex process for the benefit of all. But first, a closer look at the cost of scheduling inefficiencies.

The Real Cost of Scheduling Overtime

Scheduling issues – like working overtime, paying for overtime and struggling to keep up with the workload of an understaffed shift – only lead to more serious problems. These may include:

  • Low levels of employee engagement
  • Low patient satisfaction scores
  • High rates of employee turnover
  • Patient safety concerns
  • Inefficient allocation of company finances
  • Confusion and miscommunication across teams and departments
  • Mistakes in patient medication and treatment
  • Additional mistakes in other workflows

There are also more specific costs to consider.

For example, if your best nurses are overworked, the training of new nurses can suffer. If your facility is frequently understaffed, performance ratings will reflect that, making it much harder to recruit new patients and/or team members.

Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid these problems.

How to Improve Workforce Management Efficiency

To transform your scheduling workflow, you need to automate the process, establish specific scheduling rules and communicate better.

1. Automate your scheduling process

If you’re not already using an automated tool to schedule shifts, invest in one right away. An application like ABILITY SMARTFORCE® Scheduler can completely change how you identify the needs of each shift and track staff hours.

It can ensure you don’t miscalculate hours or overlook a shift that needs to be filled. It will also help you monitor performance indicators like on-time attendance, sick calls and no-shows. Together, these capabilities can give you a full understanding of how well your scheduling efforts are performing.

2. Establish job-specific rules across your organization

In addition to the automated staffing functions mentioned above, you should also take advantage of setting job-specific rules if this is available. This function will help you differentiate between salary and hourly employees. It can give you a more accurate picture of how each shift adds up on payroll, while further preventing schedule mistakes from occurring.

You might even use this as a resource when identifying hiring needs. The historical data of certain roles/departments can shed light on where extra talent may be beneficial.

3. Communicate expectations and set staffing alerts

When implementing any kind of scheduling change, you need to make sure your staff is on board. The best way to do this is by communicating clearly. Tell them that you’ve heard their concerns and share your plan for improving scheduling efficiency.

Your plan should include clear expectations for how the whole team will move forward. You might choose to address specific problems like call-outs and no-shows with a more rigid disciplinary protocol. Or, you could create a new process for trading shifts and updating availability.

To track how well these rules are adhered to, set staffing alerts. These will tell you when a shift becomes understaffed as individuals drop them or don’t show up.

Having a satisfied, motivated team is critical when running a high-performing organization. And since healthcare employees typically operate at an above average risk of burnout, the pressure is high for employers to master staffing efficiency and employee engagement. Don’t put this off any longer. Improve your scheduling process today to enhance staff performance and satisfaction.

workforce management

Adjusting to Tech-savvy Millennials in the Healthcare Workforce

Millennials are now the largest population of working Americans. This generation makes up 34% of the nation’s workforce, and many millennials are either already part of a healthcare organization or have plans to enter this industry. However, not all industry leaders understand the effects this has on workforce management.

Many long-time medical professionals are out of touch with the strengths, desires and habits of millennials. These leaders are slow to adjust to technology-based processes and new ways of thinking, which can significantly impact their organizations in a negative way.

Is your team already experiencing workforce-related issues, specifically with millennials? Are you interested in taking a proactive approach to better reach and retain millennial employees?

Here are three ways to prepare your organization for the growing millennial employee population within healthcare.

1. Improve outdated processes

Millennials have grown up with the internet. They’re used to working with automated systems and intuitive programs for both professional and personal functions. They work fast and smart, often using technology to support their work.

If your organization is still sending out claims by standard mail or printing staff schedules on paper, you’re not operating with millennials in mind. This population wants to be part of a team that encourages innovative thinking. They respond best to workforce management processes that save time and improve efficiency, which are only present in organizations that utilize advanced tools.

Consider the processes you currently have in place and ask yourself where they can be improved. You may choose to upgrade how you enroll new patients, bill claims, track staff credentials or capture market share. There’s no limit to the progress your organization can make when you combine the right technology with a staff who knows how to use it.

2. Implement advanced communication channels

Not all improvements have to occur at a high level. Simply changing how your team communicates can make a big difference in millennial engagement. It is this generation’s nature to be hyper-connected, but only when the information they need is easily accessible.

Start using an advanced staff scheduling program like ABILITY SMARTFORCE® instead of a paper-based system. Take advantage of a phone application that allows team members to trade shifts, change availability and request time off. Give them the chance to interact within the app for fun purposes, too. This may include functions that allow employees to share shout-outs or remember important dates like birthdays and work anniversaries.

Millennials won’t be the only ones who respond well to such workforce management improvements. Others on your team are likely to be equally invested in the new communication channels available.

3. Play to the unique characteristics of this generation

The misconception of millennial characteristics is one of the main reasons why professionals across all fields hesitate to adjust to the needs of millennials. Millennials are often thought of as entitled or impatient. Their lack of interest in certain processes may come off as lazy. But, these behaviors often stem from a desire to work in a more efficient manner – and in their mind, technology plays a key part in that.

It could be true that your new hire, age 20-25, is entitled or disengaged. Or, he/she could simply be inquisitive and performance-driven. They may be challenging upper management and the status quo because they’re interested in establishing better workflows. This person might be familiar with technology you haven’t tried yet. They may see the potential to lower mistakes, improve processes and/or boost engagement by leveraging new technology.

Give your millennial workforce the opportunity to present their ideas. Allow them to act on some of the initiatives they present. You’ll likely be satisfied with the results. Beyond better engagement, new tools or processes can potentially save money, improve the patient experience and much more.

Keep in mind these results depend on your willingness and ability to adapt to the tech-savvy millennials on your team. Make it a point to include all employees in the conversation as your organization progresses.

staff retention

3 Staff Retention Strategies You Need to Start Using

As of 2017, the average rate of healthcare staff turnover was 20.6% – a number calculated out of 11 million employees in an array of different healthcare markets and job functions.

From 2017 to now, the healthcare market has only gotten more competitive, which gives employees an advantage while putting pressure on employers to prioritize staff retention. Every time a person leaves your organization, it comes at a high cost. Between the overtime it takes to fill in shifts, the stress that under-staffing puts on your team and the cost of onboarding new talent, you risk losing a significant amount of time and money each year if you don’t focus on staff retention.

Here are three simple, yet effective staff retention strategies to utilize.

1. Continue onboarding beyond the first week   

The onboarding process spans well beyond a new hire’s first week. It’s a process that should be carefully thought out and include an equal level of engagement from supervisors and the new employee.

A healthy onboarding period lasts about 60-90 days. This gives new hires a chance to truly get a feel for the organization. It’s their time to take on all the job functions within their role, get to know colleagues and present fresh ideas to their managers. From a leadership perspective, 60-90 days is a great time to learn a new hire’s habits. It provides a glimpse of how often an individual may show up early or come in late, call out or pick up extra shifts and/or earn recognition.

In terms of staff retention, think of a new hire’s first few months as the company’s first impression. You may have won them over during the hiring process, but you must ensure that the day to day operations and actions of others reflect what was discussed in interviews. Otherwise, you risk creating a costly disconnect.

2. Invest in professional growth

Don’t forget about a new hire once they’ve gotten settled in. In fact, make professional growth and development a priority for all the people you oversee.

This may mean you become more proactive about how employees meet continued education requirements. It might be the reason you start having more frequent one on one meetings or informally checking in with your team. Other growth opportunities include:

  • Inviting/sending staff to conferences
  • Bringing in industry experts for training opportunities
  • Offering leadership development and clear pathways for advancement

Talk to your team before you roll out any of these development initiatives. You want to make sure you offer what they really want, rather than risk acting on a false assumption.

3. Make a habit of coaching and recognizing others

Sometimes, encouraging employee growth is as simple as making a genuine connection with them. Culture is a big reason why people stay or leave their organization. You can offer all the training and development you want, but it has to be matched with a genuine concern and interest in your people in order to be effective.

Make it a point to recognize staff more. This can be something you start doing at the end of team meetings or you can develop a special retention program. It can have a competitive spin on it and recognitions can range from verbal shout-outs to special tokens of appreciation. Whatever initiative you come up with, make sure it’s received well. Don’t hesitate to adjust as needed and continue improving the program once you have a good recognition system in place.

There’s one more retention strategy worth mentioning: gather and learn from employee retention data. As you work to implement the strategies mentioned above, measure their impact. Notice what your team responds best to and find ways to build on these initiatives. The ROI of higher performance, more staff engagement and a longer average employee tenure will be well worth the time and money you invest in your team.

information overload

How to Prevent Information Overload in the Workplace

Between gathering and verifying patient data, keeping up with new regulations and managing the day-to-day operations of your organization, there’s a good chance your staff is experiencing information overload.

At some point, important details will slip through the cracks and miscommunication will become more frequent. This can lead to under-performance within your organization, as well as an increase in mistakes and staff burnout.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case for your team.

Here are five things you can do to better prevent information overload.

1. Break down your emails

Most team communication emails cram updates, action steps and requests all into one message. To point out the “main ideas,” different words and phrases within one email may be bolded, underlined, highlighted or written in a color other than black. When all these differentiators are mixed together, staff members are left having to discern what information is the most important.

This kind of confusion can be avoided if you make it an organizational standard to send clean emails. Limit the important details within one email to two or three key points – ideally, they should relate to one another.

This may increase the number of emails you send to your team, but it will also increase how well information is understood and retained.

2. Make patient data easier to manage

Another tip to ease information overload is to simplify how you gather and manage patient data. This may include:

  • Offering new patients the option to fill out forms online
  • Giving patients access to a portal with all their payment and treatment information
  • Regular staff training on coding procedures and new rules and regulations regarding patient information
  • Providing continued training on how to improve patient interactions to better get to the root of their condition and explain their role in treatment more clearly

There’s often a gap between the information that a nurse/physician writes down at the start of treatment, the information another healthcare professional utilizes during treatment and how well a patient understands their condition. Aim to close this gap by being more clear and consistent. It will transform the kind of care your staff is able to offer and significantly enhance the patient experience.

3. Create a better patient data sharing process

If you often send patient referrals to other providers, or if most of your patients are referrals, you may want to improve how you share patient data. The more effective you are at communicating patient information, the more successful treatments will be.

When miscommunication occurs between providers, it causes a costly inconvenience for patients. Individuals are left having to track down their healthcare information from various offices before their treatment can move forward. This delays care, hinders quality and can increase a patient’s risk for other conditions to occur.

But, simplifying how you share and receive patient information can make their experience much better and relieve some stress from your team.

4. Minimize out-of-work texts and calls

How often do you find yourself texting staff members to fill in for shifts? Do you have a habit of calling people on their day off?

Such communication is highly detrimental. It doesn’t give your staff a chance to unwind from their work. It makes them more likely to burn out or leave your organization.

If you have an immediate need to communicate, do so over email or via your staff scheduling portal. Calls and texts make sense during emergencies, but most of the time, they just contribute to the information overload your staff experiences every day – on and off the clock.

5. Ask for staff input

The final way to prevent information overload in your organization is to gather feedback from your team. Ask them how they feel about the current communication standards in place – both amongst the team and with patients. See what they’d like to have more training on and set aside time to come together as an organization. Staff engagement makes it much easier to eliminate confusion and to push forward new ideas. This also ensures you don’t overlook anything that needs improvement regarding the expectations you’ve set for your team and the patient data they work with every day.

Healthcare professionals are expected to provide personal, attentive care to everyone they treat, to drive innovation within their organization and adapt to industry changes. They can’t do this effectively if they’re always juggling information. Keep things clear and concise and watch how well your team – and their performance – responds.

Automated workflow

From Paper to Digital: Key Steps to Take in Your Transition to an Automated Workflow

The first step in transitioning to an automated workflow is recognizing the need to move on from manual tasks. But, once you identify the processes you’d like to improve, it can be challenging to find the right fit for your organizational needs.

Take your time in choosing the vendor you’d like to work with. Establish the must-have features you’re looking for and get a demo on the products you’re interested in. Then, create a transition plan to make sure everything goes smoothly when implementing your new processes.
Here are three simple steps to follow for a smooth transition to an automated workflow.

1. Establish a plan for managing old paper records

The information on old paper records has to be added into your new system. Whether patient history is transferred to your new eligibility and claims management software or job applications are stored on your server as you get rid of paper files, one of the main goals of transitioning to an automated workflow is to have as little paper forms left as possible.

However, it’s much easier to scan a few forms than it is to transfer multiple filing cabinets’ worth of information. Depending on the volume of information you have to manage, you may need to spread out your transition plan over a few days, weeks or even months. Regardless of the timeline, having a plan in place will ensure you don’t fall behind, and it will help prevent any loss of information. Be sure to include the proper disposal of paper records in your transition plan as well.

2. Offer thorough training for your new workflow

The purpose of automated workflows is to simplify daily operations across your organization. But, this can’t happen if employees aren’t properly trained on the new systems and processes.

Training needs to be a top priority. The better you can explain the purpose of the transition and offer assistance to staff during this time, the more effective the switch will be. Your team will feel confident in the new technology and more engaged in their work, which could lead to improved retention rates.

Set clear standards about how to handle internal information. Talk through the tools and software you’re implementing as part of your automated workflow. Maybe have an industry expert offer a workshop for your team or schedule a special training for team managers to share. Also consider offering ongoing training after the transition is complete to ensure all team members are using the new workflow at its highest efficiency.

3. Keep up with industry shifts

This step is ongoing. As you continue to grow your business and make your operations more efficient, changes to healthcare regulations and consumer needs will occur. Your workflow should be adaptable to these changes as they’re announced and implemented.

Most of the time, your healthcare IT vendor will make adaptation easy to do. They’ll adjust their software as-needed or inform you about the impact of an industry shift before the change begins. But, it’s best to keep an open line of communication with your vendor and to do your own research on industry trends.

Make it a point to look for new optimization opportunities as well. Transitioning from a paper to digital workflow is only the first step in improving organizational efficiencies. You need to keep building on the tech-savvy tools and processes you already have in place, or are looking to implement, in order to realize the highest benefit of automated work.

outsourcing operations

Outsourcing Operations: 5 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Vendor

You’ve decided it’s time to lighten up your workflow and invest in outsourced processes – now what?

First, you need to clearly identify what pieces of your workflow you want to automate or have a vendor handle for you. Next, you need to establish a plan of when/how you’d like this change to happen. Finally, you need to find the ideal vendor.

Here are five questions to ask a vendor when you begin outsourcing operations.

1. What level of access will my team have to patient information?

This is the most important question to ask. Whether you’re looking to automate parts of your RCM cycle or you’re interested in improving the quality of care your team provides, your team should have access to all the information they need.

It’s hard for billers to manage payments or nurses to understand a patient’s condition if they’re constantly having to dig for the claims and codes they need. The whole point of outsourcing is to simplify your workflow – and that means making sure access to important information becomes more available, not more complicated.

2. Will your company train my team to use your product?

You need training just as much as you need proper access. It’s not every day you change how things are done in your office. Team members will need time to adjust to the change, and they’ll also need someone to guide the way.

Taking on the training yourself leaves practically no room in your schedule to handle other aspects of the business, and you risk missing key details. Bringing the vendor in to walk your team through the process is much easier. It establishes a strong working relationship with whom you’re outsourcing, and it encourages a positive reaction from your team to this new way of doing things.

3. How knowledgeable is your staff about my industry?

It’s one thing to know how a product works and another to understand the industry problem it solves. Make sure the vendor you’re working with has a deep understanding of your business. Their team needs to be highly educated in industry standards and regulations. They should be aware of any major shifts going on and prepared to answer any questions you have about how they affect your outsourced workflow.

4. Do you offer any additional services?

The only thing better than improving one part of your workflow is improving multiple parts. One vendor may be able to do that for you, but you won’t know until you ask.

Chances are, if they can help you create more clean claims, they can also help with resubmitting denied claims. The same goes for vendors who specialize in staff management/training or ways to enhance the patient experience.

5. How are performance reports generated?

The final thing to ask a vendor is how they manage performance reports. Some vendors will offer regular reports for their products. This provides customers the data they need to better understand how a certain tool/service is impacting their organization. Other vendors leave performance reporting up to the consumer. They have a more hands-off approach, which can put a strain on the customer experience.

And ultimately, a negative experience is what these questions aim to avoid. To get the best results possible, you need to find the best vendor to fulfill your business’s needs. Mentioning the points shared above will guide you in the right direction.

workplace culture

The Key Pillars of a Strong Workplace Culture

Can you list your company values off the top of your head? Do you know anything about your team members beyond their name and what they do at the company?

If you answered “no” to either of these questions, your company culture is in trouble. Culture is the driving force of your organization. When it’s healthy and inclusive, your team produces amazing results. When the team is disengaged, they’ll do the bare minimum, make more mistakes and may even search for another job.

In order for your team to show up excited for work every day – to be fully engaged in their role, communicate well with others and push new ideas forward to make the organization better – you need to prioritize building a strong workplace culture. Start with a focus on these three things:

1. Appreciation

It’s one thing to understand the need for all team members to feel valued, but another to make a habit of expressing employee appreciation. It’s time to put a recognition process in place that works for everyone. It doesn’t have to be grand or time-consuming, but it should be effective and easy to engage with.

Maybe this means you set a daily or weekly all-team meeting for everyone to touch base. You can use this as a time to cover progress since your last meeting and open the floor for people to recognize their colleagues. Maybe you start a “high-five” communication channel within your scheduling platform or via another system. This can be a place for individuals to recognize one another at any time during the day.

In addition to an all-team effort, make it a personal commitment to appreciate your people more. Do walk-throughs in your place of work and stop to check in on people and personally thank them for their good work. Ask how you can be of service to them, too.

2. Enthusiasm

No matter what aspect of healthcare you focus on or how big your organization is, you should feel excited about the work you’re doing – especially if you’re a leader within the company.

Your work ethic sets an example for others. If you’re not engaged in meetings or taking ownership of your work, it makes people think they can act in a similar manner. But if you show up with a passion for work every day, you’ll instill that passion in others. Your workplace culture will naturally become stronger; individuals will start to communicate better, work harder and create more impressive results.

To make sure everyone is as excited about work as you are, go a little further. Create a unique company saying or a tradition/habit for everyone to enjoy. There’s no limit to what this could be, just make sure it gets the message across loud and clear that your organization is a great place to work.

3. Opportunity

Team members at all levels need to know there’s a next step for them. Otherwise, they’ll start looking elsewhere to advance their career.

As such, it falls on organizational leaders to make sure there’s a clearly communicated path for growth. Growth does vary among different positions and individual interests, but there are still certain things you can do at a general level to make sure everyone knows new opportunities are available to them.

Talk through company-wide goals with the team(s) you manage. Explain how a person’s work contributes to bigger initiatives in one-on-one meetings or when offering that personal note of appreciation mentioned above. Get involved in individuals’ goal-setting processes if you have the time available.

The more you invest in your team members, the more they will give back to you. It’s that simple, and it plays a critical role in the strength of your workplace culture.

improve employee engagement

Employee Engagement and You: What Leaders Can Do to Motivate Staff

No matter the kind of healthcare organization you run, you can’t do everything on your own. But to rely on your staff to perform at their best, you must establish a strong, consistent level of employee engagement. Each person on your team should show up to work excited for the shift ahead of them. They should feel a connection to their purpose within the organization, a sense of comradery with other staff members and be comfortable to speak up when necessary.

If you’ve been dealing with consistent tardiness, dropped shifts or frequent mistakes, your staffing challenges are likely more serious than you think.

Here are five ways to elevate employee engagement.

1. Share organizational goals

It’s easy for an individual to become disconnected with their work if they don’t understand the role they play within the group. As such, it’s the responsibility of organizational leaders to make everyone feel valued.

Make an effort to share high-level goals with all your staff members and cater the messaging to specific departments, if not to individuals. This will help every single staff member connect to their role. They’ll take on more ownership of their duties and have more pride in their work – two things that do wonders for employee engagement.

2. Encourage feedback from individuals at all levels

Just as you need to share your thoughts with everyone on your team, you should be asking for their input. Staff members rarely offer unsolicited opinions, which means it’s on you to remind each person they have a voice and encourage them to use it. Make it clear that comments and criticisms are welcome and valued by the team. This sounds simple enough, but far too many people keep comments to themselves which can lead to resentment and lack of motivation.

3. Praise in public, criticize in private

There’s a delicate balance between developing professionals with praise and with accountability. While it’s crucial to do both, it’s even more important to understand when each one is appropriate to give.

Always save criticism for private interactions. Don’t single out individuals within a group or place blame on them. Rather, pull them aside and turn a mistake into a coachable moment. Praise can be shared in private or in public. When offering either form of feedback, be as specific as you can about a person’s actions and their outcomes.

4. Remember personal details

One of the most effective ways to make your team members feel valued is to treat them as people, not assets. Make it a point to establish a healthy personal connection with the men and women on your team. Remember their birthday and work anniversary. Talk to them about their family and personal accomplishments, too.

This will increase the level of respect between you and each individual, and may lead to stronger staff relationships as well. When people start to see their colleagues as friends, they work harder and smarter together.

5. Implement an employee appreciation program

As you start to see engagement levels rise, keep the momentum going with an appreciation program. It doesn’t need to be costly or large-scale. It can be as simple as adding a shout-out feature to your scheduling program or spending five to ten minutes of a regular group meeting to share special recognition.

If you’re interested in bigger appreciation initiatives, create a company award for individuals to work toward or run team competitions throughout the year. Whatever you do, make sure it’s received well. You want your efforts to feel genuine and create effective engagement results long-term.

Boosting staff engagement should be an ongoing responsibility rather than a one-time effort. Ideally, you want your best people to stay within the organization for years, and you want good medical professionals to become the best they can be. This begins with you and how you position your team for success.