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At Temple Health, an urban academic medical center located in North Philadelphia, tracking employee engagement is a top priority and is critical to our mission.
According to a Gallup study of 200 hospitals, nurse engagement was the number one predictor of patient mortality rates. In addition, stress and burnout among physicians continues to worsen, with 54 percent of healthcare providers demonstrating signs of burnout according to a study from the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Mayo Clinic.
Recognizing the life and death importance of engagement in healthcare, Temple Health’s strategy includes a regular on-going process to survey employees online and get feedback on what the Health System is doing well and where opportunities for improvement exist. In recent years, engagement at Temple Health has gone from the 33rdto the 73rd percentile of its northeastern urban medical center peers. In addition, while the average turnover rate for healthcare workers continues to increase—according to a 2017 Compensation Data Survey, turnover at Temple Health has dropped dramatically in the past four years. Overall turnover at Temple Health is seven percent with first year turnover at approximately six percent compared to 28 percent across the country.
The secret sauce? We keep the Human in Human Resources. We look for every opportunity to apply technology to automate processes, reduce inefficiencies and improve experiences for our employees and patients alike. But we also never lose sight of the fact that our employees are caretakers that deserve excellent engagement and learning opportunities throughout their career.
As a health care system, with employees that work different shifts throughout the day, our employees need access to these services 24 hours day 7 days a week.
Our strategy integrates employee engagement, in-person and self-guided learning and development programs that allow employees to enhance their career, and a strategic well-being program that encourages employees to be better stewards of their holistic health -- physical, mental or financial.
With any new technology or service, communication is key for Temple Health. We have created a weekly e-newsletter called “HR4U”, which is sent out at the same time every week to all employees and includes important HR and Benefits topics that promote engagement and wellbeing. In addition, Managers also share these emails as talking points with their staff during their weekly team meetings.
"We look for every opportunity to apply technology to automate processes, reduce inefficiencies and improve experiences for our employees and patients alike"
One of the tools Temple Health uses to drive engagement is a personalized health and benefits navigator that provides concierge-level service to the organization’s employees and family. Healthcare is so complex that even people working in the system need support to navigate it. Employees have the ability to speak with their health assistant through multiple communication channels to build a relationship including an app that allows them to communicate their questions any time of day.
As a healthcare organization in the Philadelphia market, we continually review our benefit programs to ensure they are comprehensive, competitive and most importantly, that they meet the needs of our employees. In our last engagement survey, 84 percent of respondents agreed or highly agreed that our benefits meet their needs. This result is 21 percent above the national benchmark of 63 percent.
These results also have led to great outcomes in our medical plan experience with Temple Health bending the healthcare cost curve and experiencing flat trend over the last three years, reduced inpatient days, and increased usage of primary care services.
If we can provide programs and support to alleviate some of the stress in people’s lives, then they feel secure about their own well-being and are able to better focus on their critical mission of providing care to others.