What our caregivers say about engagement: Three essential takeaways

The last three years have been a time of incredible change for Providence and our affiliates. We have gone from operating as separate regional entities to becoming much more integrated and aligned, sharing resources, expertise and a common vision across the five states we serve. We have also grown tremendously, welcoming new affiliates into the family to support the continuum of care in our communities.

And we’re looking at new ways to  serve our patients – through more convenient digital access to services, as well as through new models of care, such as accountable care organizations. All the while, we remain deeply committed to serving the most vulnerable among us and are collaborating with others in innovative new ways to care for those in need and create healthier communities, together.

“Focusing on our core” in a time of change

But of all oEngagementur strategic priorities, the most important one to me personally is to inspire and develop our people.

I often think of it as “focusing on the core.”  Our caregivers are our most important asset. You are the people who serve our patients and bring our Mission to life every day. How can we do a better job of supporting you and harnessing your talents and passions? And how can we create an excellent caregiver experience just as we strive to create an excellent patient experience?

Toward that end, we have taken initial steps this year to help us drive engagement and start creating a caregiver experience that differentiates us from other employers. These include:

  • Performance and development – We rolled out a formal performance and development program this year and asked core leaders to talk with every caregiver at Providence to help us better understand what support you need to do your jobs and what skills you want to develop for personal career growth. Our aim is to do this formally a few times a year but to make it an ongoing conversation between caregivers and core leaders. We’ve also devoted more resources to career development and education, which you’ll hear more about in the next few months.
  • Shared administrative services, such as HR, IS and Finance – Our shared services teams have been working diligently to improve the way we resource and deliver administrative services. For example, one of our biggest needs is to hire new caregivers much more quickly – not an easy task at a time when qualified health care professionals are in short supply. To step up our efforts, we have devoted more resources to our Talent Acquisition team to ensure we have more recruiters dedicated to finding and hiring great talent quickly. We are also assessing certain roles to ensure we have the right staffing levels so that workloads are balanced appropriately.
  • Communication – In times of change, it’s critical to have ongoing communication so that everyone understands where we’re headed for the future, how our strategies connect back to our Mission and how we each play a role in contributing to it.  As a senior leadership team, we are striving to communicate with you more frequently about our strategies, and we’ll continue to make improved communication a priority.
  •  Your ongoing feedback – Hearing from you is important, so this year we conducted a few “check-in” surveys, one in January and one in May, with random samples of caregivers.  At the end of the year, we’ll send the survey to all of you, and we look forward to hearing from everyone on how we’re doing on caregiver engagement.

What we learned from our May “check-in” survey

We recently received the results from our May check-in, and if I had to synthesize the findings, I would boil it down into these three key takeaways.

  1. Our caregivers feel deeply connected to our Mission. 

    Our highest scores continue to be around the Mission, which speaks to how powerful a statement it is and how much it means to our caregivers. All our strategies for the future are grounded in our Mission and will allow us to keep it alive and well for many years to come. We will continue to strive to connect the dots and communicate how every key strategy we pursue ties back to our Mission.

  2. The work we have been doing is starting to make a difference.

    We saw a significant uptick on many key indicators, especially questions related to support from immediate supervisors on caregiver growth and performance, as well as communication and confidence in where Providence is headed for the future.

  3. We still have a ways to go.

    Though we saw improvement on most of the survey questions, there was a decline on two key indicators: “I am extremely satisfied with this organization as a place to work,” and “I would recommend this organization to others as a great place to work.” Turning this around will be a major focus for the rest of the year. Based on your great feedback, we believe we have a good handle on what it will require, and we are committed to taking action.

Getting back to the basics

As we dug into the written comments from our check-in survey, we learned more about where we stand on caregiver engagement and what we can do to continue to improve. Though we have made headway on the drivers of long-term engagement, you asked us not to lose sight of the basics, such as making sure you have the tools you need to do your jobs, that workloads are appropriate, and that we are filling open positions as quickly as we can.

You’ll hear more about how we are addressing these issues in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I want to thank those who participated in our check-in surveys and took the time to share your feedback. I also want to acknowledge everyone at Providence and our affiliates, for all you do for our patients and the communities we serve.

No matter how much we evolve for the future, our caregivers will remain at the core of our organization, and I look forward to working with you to help us focus even more on the core and create a caregiver experience that makes Providence the place that everyone in health care wants to work.

  1. Rod,

    I appreciate your blogs. I think you are spot on with focusing on our people. Colin Powell said the most impotant asset in an organization is their people. Insipiring caregivers is a difficult thing but I know this organization is heading in the right direction. I’m very proud of my team.

    Thank you for all you do!

    With gratitude,