Boost physician engagement with ongoing performance assessments

To truly engage employees, assess the level of physician engagement on an ongoing basis as part of the performance management process, researchers from the University of Toronto and University of Guelph write in a recent paper published in Human Resource Management Review.

"Current approaches to increasing engagement in organizations are limited because they are not directed at individual employees, and they are not part of the performance management system," Alan Saks of the University of Toronto said in a press release yesterday.

The problem of lacking engagement may be widespread, as most companies don't have a formal engagement assessment during performance evaluations of tasks and roles, the researchers argued. However, engagement, no doubt, is tied to how physicians perform on the job.

According to Jamie Gruman of the University of Guelph, employees who are engaged tend to perform better and display more enthusiasm and dedication in their work. "There is also mounting evidence that higher levels of engagement correlate with lower turnover and less absenteeism," Gruman writes. "Thus, it makes sense to focus on employee engagement as part of the performance management process."

As more hospitals and health systems look for ways to align physicians or gain buy-in for ongoing initiatives, assessing their level of engagement as part of continuous performance reviews is yet another strategy. Other recent strategies to note are investing in leadership development and mentoring and explaining progress toward target goals with visuals.

The authors recommend three ways to support personal engagement that can be applied to physician engagement:

  • Boosting the physician's perception of the meaningfulness of his or her role as a worthwhile and valuable position.
  • Creating a sense safety about his or her role, assuring the physician that role won't damage his or her status or career.
  • Making resources available to the physician, such as training or input.

For more:
- read the press release
- here's the study abstract

Related Articles:
Why physician engagement doesn't always work
Failure to engage doctors is hampering hospital quality efforts
Physicians engaging in maintenance of certification

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