Help Your People Love Their Work (Again)

The most effective means of increasing engagement and retention, regardless of industry, is to bring people back to their why to help them fall back in love with their work.

The healthcare industry has been hit with repeated challenges over the last few years, and it has taken a significant toll on its workers. Joyce Batcheller, an innovative healthcare leader and Executive Nurse Advisor, says there are key actions leaders can take to make their teams proud of their work so they can feel fulfilled. That, in turn, reminds them that the reason they got into the profession was a good one. Joyce breaks down how to bring joy and pride back into the workplace through recognition and celebration.

Truth You Can Act On

1. Build Trust to Drive Engagement

We’ve got to rebuild trust with our staff, and we’ve also got to learn how to really listen to them. What I am finding is that they have a lot to say. They have been through a lot. They have had experiences at both work and at home. We have to listen and give them time and honor what they’ve been through, and really look at and appreciate what they’ve accomplished, and then really begin to look at how do we move forward? It’s really making almost like a formal transition from the craziness that we have been working under and how to now begin to create a new future. We have to get unstuck because if we don’t create the future we want for the nursing profession.

2. Build Positivity Around What Your People Do

To reignite people’s hearts, we need to really give them time to share something they’re proud of. To tell a patient’s story that really warms their heart. We need to practice appreciative inquiry, where you find out what they’re most proud of to show them where they made a big difference. We focus so much on what the data’s telling us about turnover, burnout, and all these other things and we’re not remembering that there’s a lot of great care being given every single day. We’re getting too stuck on some of the negatives. And we need to start really recognizing the amazing work that people are still doing and the transformational changes that they’re helping to create.

3. Lead with Data Insights

Other leaders and I were meeting to really look at the outcomes that we saw at every site when it came to patient safety, because we had a goal back in 2005 to get to zero preventable deaths and injuries by 2008. And I can tell you, those were some of the most fun years I had because of that alignment and the accountability that was heightened at each site. But it was also people understanding that it wasn’t to be punitive, it was to figure out what we needed to do as leaders to make the environments better, healthier, and safer so people were set up to be successful in the care that they were delivering. And I used to always say, ‘I want this to be so intuitive that when it’s 3:00 AM on a Saturday morning and the new grad came off of orientation yesterday, that that person knows what to do.’  If we don’t have that sort of thing set up, then we should not be satisfied because we’re going to have errors. And we got to zero on so many metrics and had work that was so stellar.

4. Standardize Your Systems

I did a lot of standardization in my prior role and it allowed us to move people around more readily. If things are the same, no matter where I show up, I can really hit the ground running and you’re more likely to be able to continue to do the right standards and be set up for success. If you’re trying to figure out all the variations as you go from place to place, you’re more likely to make a mistake. There are nurses who have floated in from other units, there’s a traveler, there’s a new grad who’s come off of orientation three days ago, and you sort of scratch your head and if everything is different in this organization versus the one they were just in, they’re going to make mistakes. And that’s part of the issue that we’ve got to figure out is how do you make those environments where you set people up to be successful?


Book Recommendation:

Listen to the full episode: 189:  Help Your People Love Their Work (Again) with Joyce Batcheller

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