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Employee Engagement in Healthcare Settings

           Work engagement involves an employee’s ability to perform work based on energy levels, mental resilience, enthusiasm, and inspiration (Ginsburg et al., 2014).  According to Ginsburg et al. (2014), the authors noted that positive behaviors associated with work engagement include positive organizational commitment, academic performance, low turnover rates, and decreased frequency of sick time used.  The volatility created by negative associations of work engagement creates disruption of daily work processes.  The result of such instability could result in lower employee morale and negative feelings of resentment or hostility towards other staff or residents.  As the staffing shortage extends nationwide, staff continue to do more with less. 

            Operations continue to face mounting pressure regarding financial stability with shrinking financial resources. Political discourse, which continues to cause instability and uncertainty in the markets, creates uncertainty in appropriately projecting revenues.  The result of such financial instability forces administrators to make difficult choices, including staffing cuts.  Existing regulations concerning staffing formulas further compound to creating adverse working conditions for staff.  The combination of the negative elements from various stakeholders trickle down to the floor, which negatively affects quality of care.

            In LTC facilities, the provided care is evidence-based and specialized for the individual needs (Sarti, 2014). Unlike acute care, ambulatory settings, and hospital settings, work stressors have been identified as less under LTC resulting in more routine processes. However, LTC workers experience psychological duress of caring for a set of individuals on a hall or wing from the resident or family member who exhibit limited understanding of the LTC process.  With the combination of the resident’s acuity along with other factors involved including state regulatory bodies, family members, different feeding expectations, wound care, and communication with physicians or treatment providers outside the facility, the LTC worker must quickly assimilate the information or required to make swift decisions while attempting to provide quality care.

            The Four Fits of Dynamic Leadership is a book that discusses how to improve leadership in a variety of organizational settings. In the healthcare industry, where attentiveness to detail and the patients’ concerns are paramount, building a relationship with the team is as important as building a relationship with the resident or family member.  The quality of care provided in healthcare settings do not only affect the resident and his or her family members directly, negative feedback can spread throughout the community. The result of such poor feedback includes loss of productivity, retaining and hiring quality staff, loss of revenues, and poor employee morale. 

            The Four Fits of Dynamic Leadership focuses on four key areas of developing leaders to be responsive, flexible, and dynamic: Mental Fit, Emotional Fit, Team Fit, and Personal Power Fit.  To address work engagement, the Team Fit is a recommended chapter to review as the purpose of this chapter is to understand that the leader is strong as his or her team. A saying I often incorporate in my meetings and training go as follows: “I cannot be great unless you are great, and if you are not great, I need to work on making us great!”  This concept is discussed in more details in the Team Fit under one of the axioms “A Dynamic Leader has a Dynamic Relationship with the Team.”  If you are able to apply the incorporate the concepts of this axiom into your organizational framework, employee engagement can increase, as well as employee morale.

Dr. Terrence D. Duncan holds a Doctorate of Business Administration and has published several blogs in healthcare, project management, personal motivation, leadership, and self-motivation.  Dr. Duncan published his first book, The Four Fits of Holistic Growth, a personal motivation and self-development book complete with 15 interactive worksheets to assist the reader to think more outside the box and achieve a harmonious balance.  Dr. Duncan’s second book, The Four Fits of Dynamic Leadership explores leadership in the 21st century in addressing challenges in organizational structures involving turnover, emotional intelligence, servant leadership, team-building, and enhancing communication.  Books can be purchased with the option to have each copy personally signed through his website: www.drtduncan.com. Books are also available on Amazon and Kindle.

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Works Cited:

Ginsburg, L., Berta, W. Baumbusch, J. Dass, A.R….& Taylor, D. (2016).  Measuring work engagement, psychological empowerment, and organizational citizenship behavior among health care aides, The Gerontologist, 56(2), e1-e11.

doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnv129

Sarti, D. (2014). Job Resources as Antecedents of Engagement at Work: Evidence From a Long-Term Care Setting. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 25(2), 213-237. doi:10.1002/hrdq.21189