Focus on these 3 engagement drivers to boost your HCAHPS scores

Editor's note: This insight was updated on May 22, 2018.

Many HR executives have asked us for data supporting a connection between employee engagement and patient satisfaction. It makes sense that highly engaged health care staff—who are willing to go above and beyond for their organization—would be willing to go above and beyond for patients.

In fact, data from the Advisory Board 2017 Employee Engagement Survey demonstrates that for every one-percent increase in employee engagement, an organization's overall hospital HCAHPS rating increases by 0.33 percent, and patients' willingness to recommend the hospital increases by 0.3 percent.

To build a targeted strategy that impacts employee engagement and patient satisfaction, HR leaders should focus on specific engagement drivers that are "two-fers"—in other words, specific drivers that impact both employee engagement and patient satisfaction.

There are 42 engagement drivers in the Advisory Board's Employee Engagement Survey, but the following 10 have the greatest impact on HCAHPS scores:

It's not surprising that drivers related to care and service delivery rise to the top, as these are the most directly linked to HCAHPS metrics. Where else should you focus?

When you consider your organization's performance on these 10 drivers, you'll likely find your organization is already doing well in some areas. Nationally, we see that on average over 75% of employees agree or strongly agree with the following five drivers:

  • My organization provides excellent care to patients
  • My organization provides excellent customer service to patients
  • My organization supports employee safety
  • My organization gives back to the community
  • My organization understands and respects differences among employees

This leaves the drivers with the most opportunity for improvement. Nationally, it's the following three drivers:

  • My organization supplies me with the equipment I need
  • I receive the necessary support from employees in other units/departments to help me succeed in my work
  • My organization does a good job of selecting and implementing new technologies to support my work

The national findings are a great starting point, but if you have the ability to conduct this analysis with your own organization's data, we recommend doing so. The findings can be quite different and may dictate the need for a unique approach.

For example, our team ran this analysis for one of our Advisory Board Survey Solutions member organizations, comparing their HCAHPS results with their Advisory Board employee engagement survey results. While the findings showed that having a manageable workload correlated with patient satisfaction, they also found that units scoring higher on job security tended to have lower patient satisfaction scores.

Individuals felt almost too comfortable and secure in their roles, leading to a sense of complacency. Due to this analysis, the organization put in place several initiatives to drive accountability.

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