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In an effort to continually improve upon the hospital’s mission of employee and patient satisfaction, BWH launched a Staff Survey program in 1999. The process represents a serious commitment by the hospital to measure a broad section of areas that relate to how employees feel about their jobs, their work environment and the services the hospital provides to patients, family members and the community.
“Essentially the Staff Survey is about testing how well BWH is living up the values we believe in,” described Cheryl Locke, vice president of Human Resources. “The health care industry has a unique cycle of caring that we can continue to enhance here at BWH. When we care about ourselves and our jobs, we care for our colleagues and show them respect, then as a whole, we can provide the best care for our patients and our families,” Locke stressed. The Staff Survey is one vehicle the hospital is using to help fuel this service-value cycle.
Building upon the results from the 1999 survey, a second Staff Survey was administered in September 2001. At a Town Meeting on February 27, Locke, Matt Van Vranken, chief operating officer, Andy Whittemore, MD, chief medical officer and Martha Pyle Farrell, director of Operational Planning and Program Improvement, shared an overview of the survey results. This was followed by a discussion of how BWH plans to respond, take action and develop goals tied to employee feedback.
Overall, the results from the second Staff Survey, which was completed by more than 3,600 staff and employees, showed growth and improvement in almost every area as compared to two years ago. The second survey also confirmed many of the findings from 1999, again reflecting that staff and employees have a very positive image of BWH’s community benefit, research leadership, commitment to quality patient care, teamwork and teaching excellence. Feedback also found the majority of employees continue to be challenged with learning and growth opportunities and generally respect each other’s skills, knowledge and commitment to quality. Many of the specific items linked to these categories, such as the items “I would recommend BWH to my family and friends” and “I am proud to work at BWH” were ranked in the 85 to 90 percent favorable category.
The survey is also helping hospital leadership to pinpoint areas for growth and improvement. While affirming BWH’s strengths, the results provide a framework for addressing and enhancing quality of worklife issues. Based on survey responses, the hospital has defined several development opportunities, including manager effectiveness, communication, teamwork and cooperation between departments, and embracing change. In these dimensions, responses to items such as “BWH considers the impact of change on staff” and “BWH recognizes the values and contributions of every individual” were less favorable, although demonstrated sizeable improvments from 1999. Every dimension in developmental areas improved, and the majority of items grew in a statistically significant manner, with percentage gains as high as 13 percentage points compared to two years ago. To continue hospital-wide efforts to address these areas, plans are underway to advance the work of the 1999 multi-departmental staff survey teams and to include smaller and more focused survey action teams.
Last year, as part of the “You Spoke, We’re Acting” campaign, five Survey Response Teams addressed the topics of Leadership, Respect, Communication, Teamwork and Quality Patient Care/Customer Service. The teams, which were comprised of volunteers from a diverse cross-section of hospital staff, were responsible for implementing measures such as a Leadership Competency Model, Respect campaign, Travelling Town Meetings and a Patient-Family Resource guide. In addition to the Survey Team initiatives, many of which are ongoing projects, hospital leadership took immediate action based on survey feedback. Their response resulted in an enhanced T-pass subsidy program, a Staff Guide to Safe and Healthy Work Environment and the introduction of the employee referral bonus program, among other initiatives.
“Our goal in forming this year’s Survey Response Teams is to seek involvement from a broader range of departments and increase the number of staff coming from areas that were previously under-represented, including staff from the second and third shifts, on our survey action teams,” explained Farrell. “By creating specifically focused teams, we will address single issues that are tied to different departments based on their unique needs and challenges. In more concentrated groups, we can really begin to positively influence the day to day operations within the fabric of the entire organization,” she added.
Employees wishing to participate on a 2002 Survey Action Team should contact Martha Pyle Farrell via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). In the coming months, sign-up sheets will also be available throughout the hospital. Additionally, departments interested in having a Human Resources representative or hospital leadership debrief their employees on the survey results and provide a forum for discussion, should email email@example.com to schedule a Travelling Town Meeting.