As part of an ongoing approach to understanding and enhancing our team’s healthcare employee experience, nearly 1,300 Q-Centrix team members were asked what fills their careers with purpose, fulfillment, and joy. In addition to improving our own understanding of what makes for a great work experience, our team’s perspectives offer at least three engagement best practices that leaders can apply at their own organizations: Impact, Community, and Opportunity.
While there are no simple answers to keeping healthcare professionals engaged, the concepts outlined here offer tangible advice and key insights into the approaches that drive positive workplace culture.
What do healthcare employees value most?
It’s undeniable that the pandemic has profoundly changed people’s attitudes toward work. All of us seek personal purpose and value from our jobs, but the adoption of remote and hybrid working models has further emphasized this need.
Healthcare organizations are in the unique position of offering career opportunities that are inextricably linked to a higher purpose: a powerful tool for creating positive change, retaining talent, and fostering united workplaces.
The ability to provide purpose is already a top priority – well over 650 million healthcare roles will be vacant across the U.S. by 2025. In other words, our ability to care for our teams has become just as important as our ability to care for patients. How do we do this? By listening to our people.
From addressing personal well-being and supporting increased desires for flexibility and time for family life, our team deeply values a work experience that fill our careers and lives with purpose and meaning. In our decade-plus of growing a fully remote team of clinical experts, we’ve learned that three themes do just that: Impact, Community, and Opportunity.
#1 – Find ways to empower impact
Serving critical roles in patient satisfaction and safety, our team is dedicated to advancing healthcare quality and outcomes through our work.
With more than half of our team coming from clinical settings, our team understands the gratification that comes from positively impacting patient care. Sarah Miceli, BSN, RN, CPN, and senior clinical data specialist at Q-Centrix, loved working in newborn and pediatric intensive care units as a bedside nurse. She found her purpose in caring for the most vulnerable populations.
“When my department went through some changes […] I found that I could continue to impact patient care and help improve health care costs in a role outside of bedside care and beyond the hospital where I was working. The stars aligned and here I am at Q-Centrix, loving every minute.”
-Sarah Miceli, BSN, RN, CPN, senior clinical data specialist
Sarah is not alone in her desire to create far-reaching impact; this trait is shared by many of her colleagues in the healthcare industry. Barbara Ball, RHIT CTR and senior clinical data specialist, shares her own story of impact:
“In 2020, I presented with metastatic breast cancer, requiring double mastectomy and lymph node dissections. Jump to today, and the scan at my last follow-up showed no evidence of cancer. I again have my life, my health, and I work alongside my Q-Centrix teammates daily to collect oncology case data to ultimately influence the future of cancer care. I am proud to share my story and be part of this team helping to advance cancer treatment strategies across the country!”
-Barbara Ball, RHIT CTR, senior clinical data specialist
Another member of our team articulates the demand for purpose perfectly,
“Today […] I know what I do matters to the care delivered to individual patients across the country.”
-Debbie Kirkman, MSN, CPHQ, RN-BC director of business development
The key takeaway: Advancing safer, consistent, quality healthcare for all is the shared purpose of everyone in healthcare. It’s important to ensure everyone in the industry feels they’re working toward that purpose every today. It’s incumbent upon those in leadership positions to ask themselves – and their teams – how they can help align their team members’ personal missions with the work they do.
#2 – Invest time and thought to build community
A career in healthcare is as rewarding as it is demanding. More so in some cases. 93% of healthcare workers reported being stressed out and stretched too thin, according to a survey cited by the CDC. In a recent study published by Gallup, personal well-being-related issues were the second most important factor influencing the acceptance of and continued engagement at a job.
The disconnect between the general state of healthcare employment and what people want must be addressed. An impactful way of reducing stress and supporting teams is through the power of community.
Clinical data specialist Stephanie Foley speaks to two important factors in building a community for healthcare workers: growth and flexibility.
“I love Q-Centrix for the friends I’ve made along the way, providing me with opportunities to grow and help others grow, and mostly for the flexibility. I live to work instead of working to live.”
– Stephanie Foley, RN, clinical data specialist
When Stephanie’s kids were young, she missed a lot of important events and activities because of her long hours. Now, she can fully participate in her grandkids’ lives, attending all the cheerleading, football, and wrestling events she can. Stephanie has this flexibility because she can rely on her professional community to support her.
Building that level of communal power requires strong, shareable values. Stephanie’s desires for growth and flexibility are shared across departments. When asked what he would want other teams to know about his, Teodoro’s – a member of the engineering team at Q-Centrix – first response was this:
“We want to make the lives of our colleagues and our partners as easy as possible. If our clinical experts have a data need, we really want to make it possible for them. I’m proud to watch our team come together to find solutions and make huge progress.”
-Teodoro Gomez Llanos Juarez, front end architect
It’s that cross-team collaboration, and a willingness to take care of each other, that helps more of our team say wonderful things like,
“I have never worked in such a wonderful environment. Everyone is so kind and helpful. You get the feeling that they truly want you to succeed! I’m so happy that I took this job…!”
-Carol Emerson, RN, BSN, senior clinical data specialist
The key takeaway: Building a community to rely on is just one of the impactful ways to create an environment that nurtures the well-being of people. This often requires active support for personnel from hospital managers. Whether it’s implementing a psychological support program or involving key team members in the creation of health policies and decision-making processes, there are many ways to build the communities that inspire healthcare teams.
#3 – Unlock opportunity
Contrary to popular belief, growth opportunities don’t always equate to promotions and new job titles. Often, the opportunities people value are related to learning new skills or other forms of professional development. Opportunities that support team members in balancing professional endeavors within the context of their full lives have been some of the most cited reasons for feeling engaged in a job.
“Today, I’m able to live where I want, focus time on my personal interests, and be there for my family.”
-Mary Britt, RN, CEPS, clinical data specialist
“Since starting at Q-Centrix 11 years ago, my path has only led upward. I progressed to a leadership role focused squarely on ensuring Q-Centrix partner success. Coincidentally, the remote work and flexibility I enjoy allows me to also focus on the success of my family.”
-Stacey Murphy, RN, senior manager, partner success
The key takeaway: All kinds of opportunities are valuable to healthcare workers. It’s important to consider what opportunities leaders can provide rather than focus on which opportunities are not currently available. Don’t be afraid to get creative and ask team members about what opportunities they value.
About the Q-Centrix community
At Q-Centrix, our team members are trusted voices because we’ve seen the value of putting our people first. This year, 92% of them told us they’re proud to tell others they work here. Their feedback helped us be recognized as a Great Place to Work® and Fortune Best Workplaces in Health Care™.
But these distinctions aren’t the reason we stay in contact with our teams through engagement surveys, town-hall discussions, educational initiatives, and regular involvement in the business throughout the year. They’re a reflection of the ongoing work to meet our team’s needs and ensure they’re fully equipped to help our partners impact patient care. Here, we’ve shared just a few of the insights those activities have generated.
Inevitably, there will be challenges in meeting employee needs. As the factors that influence our workplaces and company cultures further evolve, we at Q-Centrix aim to continue understanding what drives healthcare teams forward. We encourage current and future partners – as well as potential candidates – to contact us with questions. From choosing the best technology, to finding the right support and best practices, we’re here to help you build a differentiated quality culture and drive best-in-class performance.