Guest view: To energize workforce, try a dash of purpose

Steve Knaub//July 5, 2019

Guest view: To energize workforce, try a dash of purpose

Steve Knaub//July 5, 2019

Let’s face it. All of us are feeling the effects of low unemployment – from manufacturing to health care. It’s impacting our bottom lines and operations, causing employee fatigue and burnout, and making us re-evaluate how we compete in the marketplace. Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

These days, employees are looking to work for organizations that offer extensive benefits, foster a strong internal culture, create a sense of purpose and fulfillment, and promote work-life balance. At Hospice & Community Care we are continuing to find that most, if not all, of our job candidates are looking for those qualities in an employer.

Hospice & Community Care employs nearly 400 people – ranging from physicians to RNs, from bereavement counselors and social workers, to aides and LPNs. We serve more than 500 patients and families each day, whether at home, in a senior living community or at our inpatient center. We care for patients in Lancaster, York, and parts of Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon counties. And we provide personalized care and comfort to help patients and their families live better with serious illness through end of life.

The nature of our business is challenging. Caring for and comforting people at the end of life is not always easy. So, what motivates our employees to continue to deliver quality care and comfort? Having a sense of purpose. Knowing they are making a difference in the lives of people every day at one of the most challenging times in their lives.

Here are some ways we create that sense of purpose at Hospice & Community Care.

Communicating and acknowledging

While I can share stats and figures with employees on how we compare to other hospice providers or our patient family satisfaction, that doesn’t have the same impact as hearing from a family who has received our services. We try to make it a point to share with staff the feedback and many notes of appreciation that we receive from patients’ families. We often hear from our team members that these stories mean so much to them. It energizes them, validates their hard work and reinforces a sense of purpose.

In addition to our clinical staff, we have account representatives, fundraising staff, technology support and others. These individuals may not interact with patients or families daily, but they, too, want to feel a sense of purpose. Our account representatives help provide clarity to families navigating the health insurance system. That clarity provides more time for families to spend with their loved ones rather than dealing with insurance companies. Hospice & Community Care’s development team raises needed funds to enable us to provide care and support for patients and families. Our tech-support team ensures that our computer systems are running efficiently and are user-friendly to ensure that patient information is being documented securely, ensuring patient safety and confidentiality.

All employees need to have a sense of purpose. As business leaders, it’s our job to help them connect the dots.

Opportunities to learn and grow

We advocate for education and continuous learning among all of our employees. We offer in-house educational opportunities – from in-person trainings to webinars – as well as tuition reimbursement.

By offering these opportunities, our employees know that we value them and are committed to providing them with the tools needed to succeed. It also shows them we are willing to invest in their future at Hospice & Community Care. Providing educational opportunities has not only helped with our employee retention, but has also been a big draw to potential candidates.

Promoting work-life balance

In health care, there are many opportunities for staff to experience issues of burnout and compassion fatigue. It’s important that they not carry that into their personal lives.

As a result, we recognize the value of having ample paid time off. We offer employees 30 days of paid time off (including holidays) during their first full year of employment with us. In addition, our paid time-off package grows each year through 10 years of service. We believe that having time away from work helps our staff enjoy life more, care for themselves better and experience a better quality of life.

Regardless of one’s position within an organization, it is critical as an employer to reinforce purpose among all of our employees; they will be more passionate about their work, bring new and innovative ideas, and stay committed to our mission. But most importantly, having a sense of purpose will translate into how your employees interact with your customers, clients or patients, and translate into a commitment to your organization. This is why at Hospice & Community Care our employees will always remain our top priority.

Steve Knaub is president and CEO of Hospice & Community Care.