In today's increasingly interconnected world, effective communication between superiors and subordinates is the sine qua non for any healthcare organization if they wish to meet society's demand for higher quality and greater efficiency.
The best are doing more with less
Not so coincidentally, effective communication is key to becoming one of Modern Healthcare's 100 Best Places to Work. It is crucial to creating a workplace where engaged and motivated employees come to work every day with a deeply felt awareness of the organization's mission and the personal ambition to deliver superior performance.
Yet how can organizations undergoing fundamental and rapid change create that environment? The resources needed to meet these higher expectations are shrinking. People are being asked to do more with less. The healthcare workplace, never a place for sissies under the best of circumstances, has become a chronically stressed environment.
Organizations that made it onto the 2013 list figured out ways to alleviate stress. Those programs invariably depended on effective communication.
Wellness programs are part of the answer, we found. Organizations with tight budgets found numerous ways to reduce stress, which won the hearts and minds of their employees. Beneficial strategies included offering workers free meals and snacks, inviting families to corporate events and allowing telecommuting options for some employees.
What are the benefits for the hospitals and other healthcare employers who won high marks with these low-cost benefits? Obviously, their training costs are reduced through reduced turnover. When an organization is striving to improve its quality and safety profile by getting people to work in teams, the last thing it needs is a rotating roster constantly in need of retraining.
Modern Healthcare appreciates its collaboration with the Best Companies Group to produce the 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare, now in its sixth year. In the profiles that follow, you'll find that this year we delved into the data like never before to paint a picture of what your organizations can do to create high performance workplaces.
And effective communication was often key. At Texas Health Flower Mound, for instance, which was named No. 1, top executives three years ago recognized they had a serious problem with flawed communication. They made a concerted effort to rectify the situation by initiating employee meetings and forums and created an in-house newsletter. The 72-bed hospital went from a 50% turnover rate when the hospital opened three years ago to 4%.
Their experience shows that any institution can engineer a turnaround and make it onto the next Best Places to Work in Healthcare list. The tight-fisted economic environment and the constant pressure to improve quality and performance aren't roadblocks to improvement. They are incentives.
Follow Merrill Goozner on Twitter: @MHgoozner
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