Graham Lowe and his research team surveyed over ten thousand employees from sixteen of Ontario’s hospitals varying in size and characteristics—from small and community hospitals to teaching hospitals and non-acute facilities—in order to evaluate how job, workplace environment, management, and other organizational factors played a role in how engaged or disengaged a healthcare employee may be.
Using a ninety-five-item questionnaire to assess the key drivers or engagement, employees were also asked to assess thirty-six features of their job, training, and career development opportunities, as well as to consider how supported they felt by their organization. Through their responses, Lowe was able to highlight ten top engagement drivers, with the five most important being ranked as:
- Trust in the organization
- The opportunity to make improvements in their work
- Feeling valued by the organization
- A commitment from senior management to deliver high-quality care
- Having clear job goals/objectives
The study stresses the significance of “closing the engagement gap” for a number of reasons, including how disengaged employees can pose a significant risk to patient care, negatively impact staffing budgets and affect internal service quality. Lowe reinforces the use of “effective people practices” as a way to foster trust and overcome lack of engagement in the workplace. While no costly new programs are necessary to drive engagement, the research shows that the transparency and engagement of senior management with its staff does have a major positive impact on organization-wide engagement.