How to Improve Employee Engagement in Healthcare

   Minute Read     Employee Engagement Healthcare

How to Improve Employee Engagement in Healthcare
Table of Contents

    Improving employee engagement in healthcare is an important responsibility of industry leaders.  But, with the demands of their roles we understand it isn't easy . How can you help engage staff in such a challenging environment? Well we’ve got you covered with this blog. 

    An NHS study found that the average turnover rate for nurses per trust was around 10-12% per year and is even higher in some US states. Clearly disengagement, stress and enjoyment are all issues within healthcare and on a global scale. 


    This being said, it is possible to keep health workers engaged and there are all sorts of hints and tips to suit all kinds of budgets. 

    In this blog we will show you how to improve employee engagement in healthcare. The answer to your prayers!

    The blog includes:

    • How to Improve Employee Engagement in Healthcare
    • What is Employee Engagement in Healthcare? 
    • Why is it Important in the Healthcare Industry 
    • Reasons for Poor Employee Engagement in Healthcare 
    • How to Improve Employee Engagement in Healthcare 

    What Is Employee Engagement in Healthcare? 

    Employee engagement is the emotional commitment someone has to their work and their sense of purpose in it. This applies to healthcare workers, but it also impacts the care that they give their patients.

    A HealthCareSource study found that only 38% of disengaged employees displayed a genuinely caring attitude towards patients. Quite a worrying statistic to say the least!


    Just because an employee is disengaged, it doesn’t mean they’re not giving the best care they can in the circumstances. In fact, they might feel disengaged for this very reason. 

    They may be suffering from burnout, low morale and absenteeism, which is out of their control. Risks of a disenfranchised workforce need to be addressed by management.  

    Why Is It Important in the Healthcare Industry?

    The consequences of disengaged healthcare workers are far starker than they are for other industries. Quality of care received by a patient will be linked to how engaged their caregiver is in their role. It can even be a matter of life and death.

    A Gallup study found that employees who are burned out are 2.6 times more likely to look for another job and are 63% more likely to take a sick day. As a result you will have staff shortages, leading to further burnout in stretched workforces. It’s an endless cycle.


    Reasons for Poor Employee Engagement in Healthcare

    Healthcare workers have highly emotive roles, so the employee experience can vary dramatically from day to day. You can feel like a superhero one day and helpless the next. 

    However, there are some fundamental issues within the health sector that can lead to poor engagement levels. Here are a few common factors of poor engagement in healthcare. If you work in or around the industry, they might look a little familiar.

    Lack of Investment

    In healthcare, your budgets are often stretched to the limit. Investment in technology or employee initiatives can be a low priority and given the urgent need in several areas we can understand why. 

    However, the cost of high turnover and absenteeism as a result of disengagement makes the right kind of investment essential. When tackling these two common side effects of poor engagement, you will see significant ROI. 

    By not giving your employees the tools to support them in their role, you aren’t doing them any favours. It will also inevitably increase recruitment spend and sick pay. Whilst it may cut short term costs, no investment into engagement is rather short sighted.

    High Turnover

    If you haven’t experienced stressed front-line workers handing in or considering handing in their notice in the past year, then either you’re extremely fortunate or don’t work in healthcare. 

    On the subject of employee turnover, staff shortages are a huge contributor to employee engagement in healthcare. Given the pressures already put on workers, a lack of personnel will lead to burnout and exhaustion.

    The timely nature of getting staff onboarded, shortages in specific departments will leave individuals unable to cope with the demands of the role. Employees may leave as a result of poor engagement, but the high turnover itself will intensify the issues.

    Lack of Health & Wellbeing Resources 

    The hours they work and the stress they are under is bound to impact healthcare workers’ wellbeing. You need a lot of resilience to work in health.

    A University of London study found that more than 1 in 4 healthcare workers have sought out mental health support during the pandemic. Who looks after the doctors and nurses? 

    Clearly mental health is a prominent issue in the healthcare profession. Failure to combat it is a failure that will lead to rock bottom morale within teams. A lack of services available for staff makes this an inevitability. 

    How to Improve Employee Engagement in Healthcare 

    Getting visions of hoards of stressed workers knocking on your door with resignation letters? Fear not. We may have the antidote. 

    Despite the pressures that come with the industry, there are simple and effective measures to put in place. Here are five tips ways to improve employee engagement in healthcare: 

    Implement a Mobile App

    Healthcare is a predominantly deskless workforce, particularly direct caregivers. It is difficult to keep employees connected and engaged when accessibility to company information is limited. 

    A modern intranet app allows employees to access all the company info they need when they need it. Oak’s integrated push notifications alert workers through their app on urgent updates that are relevant to them. This is helpful for any shift changes or legislation that needs to be considered. One less thing on their plate.

                   Three mobile phones show intranet homepage, chats and log in page

    Recommended Reading 📖:  What is an Employee Engagement App? 

    Recognise & Reward 

    Healthcare workers go above and beyond constantly, but that doesn’t mean a bit of praise wouldn’t give them a little boost. A ‘thank you’ post on your intranet social feed can help them reflect the importance of their contribution.

    Recognising staff through your intranet also highlights achievements to the rest of the organisation. It can help to inspire and realign the rest of the workforce to create a better culture.

    A simple act of kindness can make a world of difference. Having an intranet with built in recognition tools makes it even simpler. 

               An employee called Amie Ross is recognised by Graham Smith for outstanding work

    Recommended Reading 📖: Employee Recognition in the Workplace [A Complete Guide]

    Encourage Team Building and Socialising 

    Are you encouraging employees to build friendships at work? Of course it may not be a high priority, but having work friends can actually help staff be more productive. 22% of employees say working alongside friends makes them more productive. 

    Give them a space to speak about mutual interests, instant chats to organise social events and an online calendar to organise them! Having friends at work makes it that much easier to confide in each other and put some fun back into their jobs. 


    Get Feedback 

    Sometimes you just have to ask…. 

    Surveys and feedback forms are a great way to evaluate how your employees feel about their role. Asking direct questions like ‘how well does leadership communicate with you?’ as part of a survey, will provide honesty and practical suggestions. Building a culture with your employees helps instil a sense of belonging and inclusion throughout your business.

    Formalised feedback will also help to integrate it into the culture of the organisation, which will encourage more transparency throughout. Then you will have the knowhow to make changes and engage employees further. 

              Survey questions ask to rate and the communication by leadership team and if they feel supported by HR

    Recommended Reading 📖: 24 Employee Pulse Survey Questions to Ask in 2021

    Keep Everything Centralised and in One Place

    Healthcare workers have a pretty stressful job as it is, right? Well, having policies, staff rotas and other company info in disparate locations aren’t going to help matters. 

    Oak’s solution can house a centralised content hub, document management platform, rotas and payslips under one proverbial roof! It is a weight lifted off the shoulders of your employees and makes their jobs that little bit easier. 

            Latest news on company intranet shows a post on the Return to Work plan and a blog post on Mental Health in the Workplace           

    Hopefully, you’re feeling clearer about how to improve employee engagement in healthcare and that it can be more straightforward than it might have seemed five minutes ago. 

    Want to read more on employee engagement? Check out our ultimate guide: What is Employee Engagement? 


    Stephen is a Content Marketing Specialist at Oak Engage. A Public Relations MA with a background in tech recruitment, he has a passion for producing engaging content for technical and non-technical audiences.