Duration: 4 min. read
Management & Operations
In the first of these 2 posts, I shared 5 strategies to reengage employees in your health system. In many ways, this is the least we can do to thank them for their commitment during a tumultuous 24 months. But how do you roll out health equity and anti-bias programs to raise the odds of your success?
I’m happy to share a few best practices we’ve developed here at Quest:
- Communicate 7 times. Our CHRO likes to say that you have to communicate 7 times, 7 different ways to ensure your message is heard. A lot of our folks don't have email, and even those who do aren’t checking it every day. So we use the intranet, and we give leaders talking points. One communication channel I’ve added is QR codes on posters and at the bottom of TV screens in break rooms where frontline employees take breaks or eat lunch. Using a variety of methods to reach your workforce is key to successful employee communications.
- No force-feeding. Politics and race are 2 of the things we’re told not to talk about at work, but we talked with 2,800 of our leaders after George Floyd’s murder about their experience with race. It was a powerful conversation, but it wasn’t mandatory for all employees. We make it very clear during calls like these: don’t jump on if the topic doesn’t resonate with you. Employees will respect you if you don’t push them into uncomfortable spaces. Leaders, on the other hand, need to get uncomfortable, because our expectation for them is that they make people feel welcome and respected within the workplace, regardless of where they are on their journey.
- Measure so you can manage. Survey employees regularly so you can measure how well you’re doing in their minds. Do people feel more like they belong with all these initiatives going on? Do they feel like you’re practicing what you’re preaching? For example, at Quest we know that Employee Business Network members are 8% more engaged than non-members from these surveys. And we can split out responses by demographic to confirm whether people are feeling the impact of our work. Also remember that inclusion and diversity speak to the heart first and the head second, so it doesn’t always resonate in a workplace full of scientists and doctors. Keep this in mind as you build your survey outreach: clearly state your intentions with the survey, provide clear instructions, and don’t ask leading questions. Also remember to find ways to touch those employees who don’t work in front of computers.
"One communication channel I’ve added is QR codes on posters and at the bottom of TV screens in break rooms where frontline employees take breaks or eat lunch."
- Use hybrid schedules strategically. Although many of your employees probably work on-site, you may have some who can work remotely, and it is important to use these schedules strategically. My team works all over the country, but at the local level we have committed to come into the office 2 days per week. We’ve asked our leaders to make the most of precious in-person time for coaching and mentoring conversations, interviewing and onboarding, important team meetings, and also for community work. I also can’t stress it enough: when you come together in person, don’t create a 65-minute agenda for a 60-minute meeting. Use 20 minutes of that agenda to ask how people are doing. Then pause and listen to what they have to say.
- Look for inspiration from within. By this I mean, from within your own employee base. Some of the best program ideas we’ve received are from our staff, who have passion and purpose that truly impress me. They may draw blood on the job, but their level of commitment, knowledge, and connection to the communities in which they live is truly inspiring. Remember in your own work that the answers aren't going to come from one central place, so be open to the feedback and ideas you receive and then build strategy based on that. It's really about staying tuned in and delivering not what you think employees want, but what your workforce is telling you they need.
You already have what you need
I’m not talking about a specific technical skill set when I say you have what you need already. I’m talking about a workforce who can be engaged and inspired because they see evidence that you’re working in their best interests. Develop the right initiatives and launch them in the right way, and I guarantee that your health system will become a place of greater caring for employees as well as patients.