Managing from Strength Creates Engaged Workers

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)
Managing from Strength Creates Engaged Workers

We all know how important the patient experience is, and data backs this up. A whopping 84% of healthcare leaders named the patient experience as one of their top three priorities in the 2012 HealthLeaders Media Patient Experience Survey.

Given the intimacy of the home healthcare and hospice setting, engaged workers are important to a good patient experience—and essential to a great one. Interestingly, a recent article in the Gallup Business Journal said its consultants have found strengths-based management a tremendous boon in this area. Specifically, Gallup research shows that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.

Here are the basics of the strengths-based management approach, as laid out by Gallup:

  1. Understand each employee’s unique talents, goals, needs and motivations
  2. Identify the activities each person does best
  3. Help employees appreciate and invest in their unique talents

The idea is that when managers help every employee on a team apply his/her dominant talents, the team’s potential to consistently act with excellence will rise.

So, let’s say you implement this type of management program—what type of improvements might you see that relate to improving the patient experience?

Here’s what Gallup found from interviewing healthcare clients:

  • Stronger team, more focus on goals. Leaders say the strengths-based approach helps employees identify the end game and understand who is the best person to lead the team there.
  • Better connections with patients. When providers interact with patients, they understand how to draw on their strengths to communicate and clearly see the next steps to be taken.
  • Better collaboration. Understanding their strengths helps individuals collaborate more effectively with other team members and third parties.

The icing on the cake when it comes to strengths-based management is it can help increase employees’ passion for their work. Those highly engaged workers are, of course, incredibly valuable to home health and hospice organizations as they strive to provide the best possible care to patients.

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