Two weeks ago, I wrote about the loyalty of our employees and how nearly 500 colleagues were celebrated at GBMC HealthCare’s annual Employee Recognition Dinner. Today, I want to share highlights – some positive results and some areas where we have room for improvement – of another annual organization event, the Employee Opinion Survey.
Providing healthcare is a joyful profession. People allow us to enter into their lives at vulnerable moments in the hopes that we will make their loved ones better, or at least comfortable, and GBMC leaders need to be able to make sure that our people can feel that. One way we can do this is by making sure that we do whatever we can to make their work lives better. This is the reason why we do the Employee Satisfaction Survey each year.
Nearly eight of every 10 GBMC employees participated in the 2011 survey, and in an organization with more than 3,000 employees, that’s good. Hopefully next year we’ll have closer to 100 percent participation, as the results we receive are very important and can effect changes for all staff.
Our overall average score was a 70 – a mixed blessing of sorts. The good news is that it didn’t go down from the previous year, but the bad news is that we had the same overall score last year.
I’m happy to report that our greatest area of improvement – an increase of eight percent – was for the question asking if employees trust executives (Senior Management). Our leaders have been working hard to say what we mean and then do what we say we are going to do. Communication between the front office and the front line is critical. You build trust by delivering on what you say you are going to do.
As part of the senior management rounding process, leaders have been assigned units to visit and ask questions, such as if staff has the equipment and resources they need to do their job. We’re also inviting employees to share ideas with us; if someone brings forward an idea we owe it to them to have one of three responses: “Yes that’s a great idea we’re going to do that right away”; “Yes that’s a great idea but it may take us a while to accomplish that”; or “No, we can’t do that” and explain to them why it can’t be done. Those are words, statements and commitments that we need to follow-through on which is how we’ll continue to build trust.
The management team exists to help make it easier for the people who are actually caring for patients to get the job done. Our people need to know that senior leaders do listen to them. We expect that anything that can be fixed by a local manager and his or her team will be fixed by them. Anything that is beyond the scope of the local leader needs to be owned and addressed by senior leadership.
One area that did not receive a positive response was the question asking if employees are satisfied with pay increases, with a 14 percent drop from the 2010 result.
We get it. In a stressful economic period, people who maintain their jobs would like to get a substantive raise. But with an operating margin of two percent, we have 2 cents of every dollar leftover after we pay all of our bills and it’s very difficult to give large raises. We’ve been happy to give raises in the past that hopefully aligned with increases in the cost-of-living, and we know that in families where the GBMC employee may be the only breadwinner that it could be a difficult situation. We are looking forward to giving a two percent raise again this year before the end of the calendar year, but this is a “call-to-arms” for all GBMC employees to pay attention to the organization’s waste reduction initiatives because that is where we would get the money from to give even bigger raises in the future.
Do you have any examples of unit-specific improvements that have been made as a result of senior management rounding? Please share your comments below.
Some readers of this blog may have seen the recent news that Catholic Health Initiatives, owner of St. Joseph Medical Center, has issued a request for proposals seeking a strategic partner for our neighboring Towson hospital.
Unfortunately SJMC has experienced some difficult developments in the past few years. Although we are “competitors” in the healthcare arena, GBMC and SJMC have traditionally been united in our quest to meet the healthcare needs of Towson and neighboring communities. Whatever the outcome of the SJMC situation, many believe that the result that would make the most sense is for there to be one strong system of care in Towson that is focused on better health, better care, and more joy for those providing the care at lower cost. One strong regional system increases the ability to maintain access to existing services with the possibility of adding additional services as they are needed. Healthcare leaders must realize that one united system has a better shot of creating efficiencies to ensure that people can continue to get the care they need close to home.
Finally, I encourage all GBMC HealthCare employees to consider participating in our United Way campaign which runs through November 18. You can pledge online here: https://epledge.uwcm.org/epledge/crm/Start.jsp There are many options to choose from if you’d like to keep your donation “in the GBMC family” –the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Comprehensive Breast Care Center, Geckle Diabetes & Nutrition Center, Harvey Institute for Human Genetics, Gilchrist Hospice Care, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or Hoover Rehabilitation Services for Low Vision. Unrestricted gifts can also be made to the GBMC Foundation or to support the hospital in general. As an extra incentive to donate early, all employees who contribute by 8:00 a.m. on October 17 either electronically or by dropping off paper forms at Human Resources on the 5th Floor will be entered into a drawing for an iPad 2.