VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, October 21, 2016

Are You Engaged?

Good morning!

Today I want to talk about the employee engagement survey that all of us had the opportunity to take earlier this summer. 

The results have now been reported to us by our survey consultant, Press Ganey.  You will be hearing a good bit about the details in the coming months from your manager and in other venues.  Today I want to give you a high-level overview.

ummc_arrival.jpgFirst of all, I want to thank you for participating.  This was the first time our entire organization has taken part in the engagement survey.  A total of 6,689 of you responded to the survey, a participation rate of 77 percent!  The average response rate for all of Press Ganey's clients is 74 percent.  (We also took the patient safety survey at the same time, but today my focus is on engagement.)

Just as a refresher, workforce engagement is not only about employee satisfaction.  It's a measure of the connection our employees have with their work, their managers and the organization as a whole.  It's important because high-performing organizations have an across-the-board, deep connection in these areas.  This connection can be measured by the extent to which a responder agrees or disagrees with a series of statements such as “This organization treats employees with respect.”

Highly engaged employees are

  • more likely to go above and beyond what is required to do the job
  • energetic and enthusiastic
  • loyal to the organization and more likely to stay
  • proud of the organization and willing to recommend it as a place to work and receive care
  • more satisfied employees overall

With that explanation in mind, our overall engagement score for this most recent survey is 3.87 on a scale of 5, with 5 being full engagement.  As an organization, that puts UMMC at the 26th percentile in Press Ganey's database of 2,200 health care facilities.

Our score is .10 below the score from our last survey in 2013, when only our health care component participated, and it's .26 below the average score of academic medical centers nationally.  UMMC Holmes County bested that average with a score of 4.26 and UMMC Grenada came in at 3.77.

Overall, the survey results offered some encouraging signs but also presented plenty of areas for our management team to work on. 

For example, 90 percent of respondents said they like the work they do at UMMC.  On the statement, “I am proud to tell people I work for this organization,” our score was 4.08 and only 4 percent of our workforce disagreed with this statement.  Seventy-nine percent of respondents were favorable to the statement, “This organization provides high quality care and service.”

A number of other statements recorded higher than average unfavorable responses and were therefore of greater concern.  Here are the ones that stood out to me:

  • Senior management's actions support this organization's mission and values.  13% unfavorable
  • This organization treats employees with respect.  14% unfavorable
  • This organization provides career development opportunities.  20% unfavorable

Among the lowest-performing items compared to the national average of health care organizations:

  • My pay is fair compared to other health care employers in the area.  37% unfavorable
  • This organization makes employees in my unit want to go above and beyond.  30% unfavorable

Why did our overall score drop?  Any number of reasons might explain this.  For one thing, having a three-year gap between surveys normally results in a lower aggregate score, according to our consultant.

Other reasons that come to mind are the high patient volumes we have experienced in the last few years and the resulting strain this has placed on some of our staff and faculty.  Through VC Notes and elsewhere, many of you also have expressed to me your frustrations about the restructuring of our tuition benefit program, the elimination of the first-dollar employee discount on UMMC health services, and the loss of some of our on-campus parking.

Employee pay, cited above, is always a concern, as is the opportunity for career development and advancement.  My team of senior leaders is keenly aware of prices in the labor market and we try to be as responsive as we can within our means.  The fact is that future progress in this area is going to be heavily dependent on gaining efficiencies in our operations, since our major revenue streams are contracting, but I am confident we will make headway with this. 

Independent studies show that opportunities for career development and advancement are areas that in some ways matter more to employees than pay (although increased pay is usually a byproduct of advancement).  People like to think they are moving ahead in their careers.  I think we can do more in this area and I've asked my team to make this a priority during the next few months.

I'm very encouraged about what you have shared with us through this survey.  Our engagement scores need to be higher, and the only way to get there is to make sure you feel supported, protected and valued. 

All of us need to have a sense of belonging at our workplace.  Over the next weeks and months, our leadership and HR teams will be working constructively down to the unit level to make sure we are saying and doing the right things to enhance all of our employees' connection to UMMC.  And we'll survey again next spring to track our progress. 

Again, I thank those of you who completed the survey.  I consider it a gift, because it provides me with the insight I need to make the work experience better for you, as we continue this shared journey toward A Healthier Mississippi.

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