Try These 8 Healthcare Employee Engagement Strategies for Better Patient Outcomes

Last updated on November 21st, 2023

Are some employees just more passionate about their work than others? Or can you inspire your staff to do more for your practice than just completing tasks?

In this blog, we’re tapping into our experience with hundreds of practices to give you our best tips to improve employee engagement. 

What is Employee Engagement in Healthcare?

Employee engagement is what your employees contribute to your organization, staff, and workplace environment that goes beyond doing their job. When employees feel connected and valued, they bring more commitment and contribution to their work. This is because they see themselves as part of something bigger than just work. Engaged healthcare employees improve patient care outcomes, increase patient safety, and invest in creating a high-quality workplace experience for all. 

Employee engagement is important in every industry, but it faces unique challenges in healthcare. According to a Harvard Business Review analysis of a Willis Towers Watson study, only 44 percent of U.S. hospital workers are highly engaged. 

While a competitive salary and generous benefits may help you to retain employees over the long term and lead to happy employees, we recommend a more active approach to stimulating and sustaining healthcare worker engagement. 

8 Tips for Healthcare Employee Engagement

1. Inspire Your Team With a Mission They Can Get Behind

When your team knows the purpose and value of their work, they will feel a personal connection and become more engaged. Beyond simply providing dental care, explore what the results are that your clients get — what does your practice bring to their lives? Answering this question will tell your staff why their work matters. From there, compile a list of 3-5 values that communicate why you started your business. This list will become the foundation of your mission statement. 

2. Define, Communicate, and Implement Your Core Values

Core values fuel how your team accomplishes the mission of your practice. When employees understand their priorities at work, the standards set for everyone on the team, and the reputation they’re building — each day at work becomes a purposeful part of the ‘bigger picture.’ You can use your core values early on in your recruiting process and throughout your employee’s onboarding, training, and daily work. Be sure to recognize employees who exemplify core values. This recognition reinforces your values and the importance of healthcare leaders.

3. Encourage Autonomy 

Healthcare employees who feel a sense of autonomy at work engage at higher rates because they feel they can make a difference in the workplace. You can increase autonomy by communicating expectations clearly, training your employees thoroughly, and equipping your staff to make decisions within the business confidently.

4. Invest in Each Employee’s Individual Growth

Dentists and dental specialists want a career they can grow in. They engage when their employers invest in them. Investment in your employee’s growth might mean paying for continuing education, sending staff to enriching conferences, or planning leadership development activities. 

5. Set Clear Company-Wide Goals 

An engaged and flexible healthcare staff requires clear standards of care and company goals. Without meaningful goals, the grind of healthcare work can lead to burnout and leave employees feeling they haven’t accomplished much. When possible, break your goals down so that your leaders and other staff members understand exactly how they can contribute to them. 

6. Provide Ongoing Feedback

When you create a workplace where feedback goes both ways — from your employees to you and you to your employees — engagement increases, patient outcomes improve, and everyone has a sense that their perspective, preferences, and professional expertise make a difference. Get your employees involved by sharing performance observations, noticing their hard work, and responding to their feedback. 

7. Make Room for Peer Support and Mentorship

You may be missing opportunities for healthcare employee mentorship and collaborative peer support. Notice which leaders in your organization could mentor other employees and how leaders could support each other. Making time and space for support in the workplace creates a sense of belonging and ensures a connected, engaged workforce. 

8. Invest in Your Leadership Team

Gallup found that “70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager.” Beyond your typical investment in employee growth, give a bit more thought to how you can invest in your leadership team so that they understand the importance of engagement and how to implement your chosen engagement strategies in their management. 

Building a high-performing team starts with first-class recruitment! That’s why we have created this resource to provide guidance when hiring your next dental professional. 

At Prodent, we’re more than a recruitment partner for dental practices and dental service organizations. We can help you create and implement healthcare employee engagement strategies to keep top talent thriving on your team. Contact us today to talk about your staffing needs.


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