Who are Frontline Healthcare Workers?

As the name suggests, these workers are stationed at the frontlines of hospitals, clinics, hospices, and related facilities.

Frontline health care workers are the backbone of the healthcare system. Almost 50% of the health care workforce is made up of frontline workers.

They are a bridge between families, communities and the health care system. These roles range from nurses, midwives, pharmacists, medical assistants, dieticians and others, who work long hours to deliver quality health care.

These workers deal with vaccinations, food trays, checking vital signs, etc. and are usually well-versed in treating various ailments such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, tuberculosis, coronavirus and more.

They are also adept at managing chronic ailments like diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, and obesity.

Without these workers, communities in middle and low income countries will become devoid of health care. These employees primarily serve rural and semi-urban communities that lack access to high end facilities and services.

Simply put, without these workers the very framework of the healthcare system will be under threat!

Employee Engagement: Why it Matters?

The healthcare industry hinges on the services of frontline healthcare workers.

Despite the critical roles they play, investment in developing and nurturing this faction of the workforce has been rather sporadic.

Recruitment and retention within the frontline healthcare workforce is becoming harder day by day.

The coronavirus pandemic has been an eye opener of sorts. Employers and society at large have realized the importance of health care workers.

The lacuna in the healthcare industry has also come to the forefront during this global crisis.

Sometimes, it takes a disaster to provoke us to stare reality in the face!

That’s the long pending dialogue that the COVID outbreak has initiated among health care employers, governments and countries at large.Talk about a silver lining!

Establishments are gradually realizing that nurturing their firstline workers is crucial to meeting goals such as quality health care, reduction in costs and improving community health standards.

A productive workforce translates to better patient experience and budgetary benefits.

Productivity is a direct outcome of engagement. Hence, an engaged workforce should be the focal point.

Employee engagement among frontline healthcare workers has a significant business impact.

Tangible benefits of better employee engagement could be decreased turnover, cost savings from recruitment and faster recovery rate among patients.

Intangible benefits are better patient care, improved culture and work environment and more collaboration among staff members.

All these outcomes create a solid case for health care employers to invest in better employee engagement in their workforce.

4 Strategies to Improve Engagement in your Frontline Healthcare Workforce

Health care units in America have lagged behind in financial performance and customer service.

To save costs, hospitals and organizations in health care need to increase market share and improve patient care.

Patient experience is directly proportional to employee experience.

The pressure to reduce costs while providing quality service puts health care providers in a fix.

The solution to this issue is improving the employee experience within the unit.

Employee experience improves with better employee engagement.

This also impacts productivity and performance. Here are a few brief ways in which you can improve employee engagement within your frontline health care workforce:

1. Change Begins at the Top

The attitudes, habits and mind-set of the leadership trickles down to impact every rung in the organization.

It’s a lot like a chocolate fountain!

Leadership has a first-hand part in creating a positive work environment.

Therefore, upper echelons of a hospital or health care unit, directly impact engagement.

Good leadership leads to a space of trust and cohesiveness.

When leaders exude positivity, it eliminates the likelihood of proliferation of toxic personality types throughout the workforce.

Empathy in leadership reflects as empathy towards patients, resulting in patient satisfaction.

Patient centered care is the means to improve the profitability and brand value of the unit.

At the macroscopic level, it contributes to a better community and society.

People in leadership positions should reach out and communicate with the workforce on a regular basis.

Clear and periodic top-down communication creates an empowered and motivated workforce. Transparency fosters synchronicity within and between teams and departments.

2. R*E*S*P*E*C*T

Respect is a basic human need. Employees that feel respected feel more attached to their employer. This applies to frontline healthcare workers as well.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) conducted a study of around 20,000 employees around the world. The study revealed that respect was the most important factor that influenced their level of engagement and commitment to their job.

Respect emerged as the most important factor when compared to other factors like communications and environment, in improving employee engagement. Workers who feel respected feel compelled to give back through better performance.

Respect and recognition directly influences employee well-being, retention, job satisfaction and engagement.

3. Sense of Ownership

When employees feel a sense of ownership towards their work, it is likely to increase their performance quite significantly.

One step further is emotional ownership – which is a state of being emotionally involved and connected to one’s’ work.

This is easier to achieve in health care where workers have a direct impact on people’s lives and well-being.

Employee relationships in the workplace – with colleagues, managers and other staff, have an impact on their job performance.

Being emotionally connected to their job makes employees relate better with each other, resulting in better engagement and productivity.

Giving employees a space to express their ideas is the key to fostering emotional ownership.

A good work environment and constant communication induces a feeling of ownership towards a job.

A sense of security and lower risk of job loss also increase an employees’ commitment levels.

However, transformative leadership is the primary factor influencing motivation and ownership within a workforce.

Disengaged employees tend to do the bare minimum in order to retain their position.

4. Adopt an Employee Communications Tool

Communicating with frontline health care workers takes an added effort.

This is because, unlike desk workers, they are not always looped into official communication channels.

Most of these workers don’t have official email ids or designated systems. Their primary means of digital communication is their personal mobile device.

An organization that communicates primarily through email will not be reaching out to frontline workers.

Therefore, investing in a mobile-first and secure employee app helps in engaging deskless health care workers. Health care workers rarely sit at a desk. Therefore, the communication tool should be mobile first and easy to use.

The employee app should give frontline health care workers access to all resources they need no matter where they are stationed.

The communication platform should also support both top down and bottom up communication.

Workers should be able to give feedback, share ideas and address grievances through the app.

To facilitate company wide adoption of the employee app, ensure that your internal communications team is constantly sending out useful, interesting and interactive messages to engage various teams.

The employee app should also act as a productivity tool. Most frontline workers work in shifts and have a daily task list.

The employee app should have provisions to create digital checklists for routine tasks.

It should also be able to create shift rosters and have provisions for digital authorization of approvals and processes.

Groupe.io is one such employee app that checks all these boxes. It is user friendly, mobile-first, secure, compliant and doubles up as a productivity tool as well.

Recently, Groupe has been featured in Clearbox ConsultingEmployee Apps Report V1.0” wherein Groupe has been called a “hidden gem” for its cost effectiveness and easy to use productivity tools.

If you’d like to know how Groupe.io can help you communicate with your frontline, dispersed or remote workers, sign up for a product demo today!

You can also write to us at info@groupe.io!

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