As we have been considering employee involvement in health care, we need to keep another important factor in mind. High quality customer service, a hallmark of quality organizations, is best achieved through employee involvement.
Any high performing health care system must consistently exceed customer expectations. This begins with engaging employees to determine the needs of their patients and find ways to provide exceptional service. Employees spend the most time face-to-face with their customers and are vital in determining how to best deliver this level of service.
Customer satisfaction can be elusive in hospitals. Many of the customers do not want to be there, and that affects their attitudes toward their service providers. Some patients and their families may demand levels of service that are not possible based on available personnel or resources.
Even when starting from this position, it is still important to find ways to enhance customer satisfaction. Patient surveys are a good starting point to gather information from customers at all levels of health care. Employees can help develop survey items based on their observations and interactions with their customers.
Staff members can help analyze the results and identify the problems uncovered. Employees can use their experience and knowledge of the work system to diagnose the root causes of the problems and develop innovative solutions.
There are many examples in the literature of employee involvement improving customer service in health care. Many point out the relationship between the level of employee engagement and employee satisfaction. Since more satisfied employees are more likely to put forth the effort to deliver the best possible customer service,
If you are in health care and not realizing the benefits of an employee engagement process, what is holding you back? Sometimes the hardest part of effective employee involvement is making the commitment to start the process. In other organizations, it may be a need to improve the effectiveness of the process. In either case, CALMC can help.