CS MANAGEMENT: FOUR SUREFIRE WAYS TO ENGAGE EMPLOYEES

CS Week comes around every year, and it provides a great opportunity to do special things for your staff. Potlucks, after-shift get-togethers, food in the break room, etc. are all fun things to do to celebrate the contribution CS makes to your hospital’s operations. But what about the other 51 weeks of the year? People management is a constant activity—and the best managers focus on creating a great environment every day through effective people management.

Perhaps the best measure of effective people management is employee engagement:  great managers are able to get their staff to fully engage at work. And fortunately, there is a lot of research in this area that CS managers can learn from.

Gallup, an organization that conducts research on people’s attitudes, has identified several elements of a workplace that lead to high employee engagement. And high employee engagement is a critical link to achieving business outcomes.

In addition to the more obvious factors such as making sure staff members are clear in their responsibilities and have the right materials & equipment to do their jobs, there are several other factors that contribute to high employee engagement. The four most powerful are discussed below.

Show them you care.  Caring about your employees isn’t enough. You need to show them that you personally care about them.  In the workplace setting, care is typically shown in demonstrating that you are invested in an employee’s growth and development. Encouraging employees to be involved with department decisions, learn new techniques or expand their skills is a great way to show you care. Also, research shows that for optimal engagement, managers should discuss an employee’s development with them at least every 6 months. So don’t just wait for the annual review. Discuss goals and aspirations with your staff on a regular basis.

Celebrate their work…regularly.  The impact of the CS department is often overlooked in the hospital setting. After all, the location of the department is typically in the basement (or some other less than desirable space), and a good day means that no one in the OR is upset with you! While CS Week gives a great opportunity to formally celebrate the work (and workers) in CS, an effective manager needs to find other, more informal ways to recognize good work. Gallup research shows that best engagement occurs when an employee has been praised or recognized in some way in the last 7 days. The takeaway is that managers need to find ways to make sure that employees are getting positive feedback on a regular basis, or else they run the risk of employees disengaging. Informal congratulations, complements and sharing accomplishments with others can be great informal ways to make sure there is a steady stream of positivity in your department.

Let them know their work is important.  Again, CS Week celebrations often focus on showing other departments the importance of the work that CS performs. To make this more present for your employees, consider creating a mission/purpose statement for your department (if you don’t already have one). Words can be powerful, and when employees can see how they directly impact the mission, they are more likely to be fully engaged. Once a mission is established, make sure to reference it regularly. One idea is at every staff meeting, bring up how a certain employee’s actions perfectly aligned with the group’s mission. This keeps the importance of the department top of mind for the staff and can have the follow-on benefit of training others how to best respond in certain situations. Another idea involves celebrating your certified technicians. You can do this by congratulating newly certified staff members during staff in-services and displaying staff certifications in the break room or other common area.

Foster friendships.   An often surprising aspect of employee engagement involves your employee’s social connections at work. Research has shown that engaged employees often report to have strong friendships among their co-workers. So, for maximal engagement, make sure you give people the time and space to get to know each other. While you can’t force friendships, you can encourage interactions by assigning two people (instead of one) to represent your department on cross functional task forces or to investigate the latest equipment offerings. Having employees share experiences together is a great way to foster friendships.

An effective manager keeps employees engaged with purposeful action every week of the year. This year, while you celebrate CS Week, make sure you are also thinking about the rest of the year, too.