Employee Engagement Matters!

By Julia Behr, CVPM, CVBL, PPPC, CCFP - Director of Coaching Operations at Veterinary Growth Partners

The definition of employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals. It helps leaders focus on the actions that matter most to their team members. Achieving high employee engagement is an important method for driving a high-performing culture and accomplishing the goals of your hospital.

Employee engagement involves the basic psychological needs that must be met for employees to perform their specific roles well. An engaged employee “shows up,” physically, emotionally and cognitively. They are enthusiastic about what they have to do, and they naturally find ways to improve and excel. In short, engaged employees generate most of the creativity, innovation and excellence in your practice. Your employees are your greatest asset and what truly sets you apart from your competition.

How do we determine what an engaged employee is?

Gallup defines three types of employees: Engaged, Not Engaged, and Actively Disengaged employees.

Engaged Employees

  • Highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace
  • Psychological “owners”
  • Drive performance and innovation
  • Move the organization forward

Not Engaged Employees

  • Essentially checked out and psychologically unattached to their work and company
  • They put in time — but not energy or passion — into their work

Actively Disengaged Employees

  • They aren’t just unhappy at work — they are resentful that their needs aren’t being met and
  • They are acting out their unhappiness
  • They potentially undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish

According to data from Gallup, only 31% of employees in the U.S. are engaged. Their data, which was largely unchanged from 2014 and previous years, also shows that 51% of employees are not engaged, and 17% are actively disengaged. Engaged employees drive results, so what is it worth to your practice to have ALL employees “actively engaged”?

Engaged employees work faster, harder, and stronger because they like what they do. Gallup reports that engaged employees are 17% more productive and the businesses they work for see 21% higher profitability. Businesses with engaged employees also see lower absenteeism, lower turnover, and less safety incidents. Investing in employee engagement will help you retain your top employees and decrease turnover rates by ensuring your team is happy. Hiring and orientation is expensive and time-consuming, so focusing on retention is the key!

Employee engagement leads to increased loyalty. Your team will be proud to work at your hospital and will let their family and friends know. Leading to new clients to grow your practice and new employees wanting to join your team. They become brand ambassadors for your practice!

Get Your Team Engaged!

This all sounds great, but how do you manage your team better and get them more engaged? Anyone who has taken a Psychology class likely remembers Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The hierarchy represents Maslow’s theory of human motivation. It is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. If you satisfy all levels of this pyramid and achieve self-actualized employees, you become a highly engaged, motivated team that asks, “What can I do for others?” and that inspire others to do their best.

What Gets Measured, Gets Managed!

It is important to survey your team on a regular basis to determine if they are engaged or not. The purpose of implementing the Employee Engagement Surveys is to ensure managers have a consistent system to measure the engagement and satisfaction of their team’s overall morale. We don’t know what we don’t measure! Taking it a step further, it is so important to ACT on the feedback you are receiving.

Veterinary Growth Partners has 3 sample Employee Engagement Surveys that ask questions to determine your team’s level of engagement and see that their basic human needs are being met. You can send one out per month and then rotate the same surveys each quarter. Each month when you receive the survey results, send them out to the leadership team.

The leadership team will be asked to review and bring to the next leadership meeting something that they learned, would like to address or improve on based on the feedback from the team.

At departmental or staff meetings, thank your team for completing the surveys. Relay how valuable the information is and let them know based on the feedback that was received…we are making X change or we are implementing this great idea, etc. Encourage them to continue giving the feedback to continue to make the hospital the best it can be!

You should also look for consistent feedback and address the issues that are brought up. By doing this, your team will see that you are acting on the feedback and it will help to increase their engagement as you continue to work to meet their engagement needs.

The VGP team is also available and willing to answer any questions that you have about how our membership can benefit your practice. Feel free to contact us!

About the Author

Since 2015, Julia Behr has been indispensable in the development and growth of the practice coach team at Veterinary Growth Partners. She brings more than 25 years of veterinary industry experience to the table; 20 of which were spent in veterinary practice management. Being able to connect hundreds of veterinary hospitals and practice owners with business-transforming resources is one of Julia’s favorite parts of her job.

Reference: Gallup Press. (2017). State of the Global Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/238079/state-global-workplace-2017.aspx