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Dome - A Window on Engagement

June 2010

A Window on Engagement

By: Judy Minkove Janet Anderson
Date: June 7, 2010

Employee survey probes level of job commitment.


Employee engagement surveys usually leave no stones unturned. Take, for example, one recent outcome for Weinberg 5B. Following the last survey, nurses and staff on the Blood and Marrow Transplant unit  knew that morale was down because of the emotional stress that employees felt in dealing with some of the most acute patients in the hospital. In response, they now bring in a chaplain and social worker to help them sort through these issues.

Carol Woodward, Johns Hopkins Health System’s consultant for human resources strategy, who’s overseeing the annual employee engagement survey, says that the Weinberg 5B experience illustrates the benefit of reaching out to employees in this way—how an engaged workforce can produce positive results. Engagement, she says, is an emotional and psychological connection to work. “It’s a loyalty that goes beyond just being satisfied with your job—knowing that what you do is important and has purpose and meaning. It means going the extra mile.”

This month, employees of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Health System are participating in the survey, which is conducted by Gallup. Understanding and acting on the results of past surveys has helped a host of units across the institution to improve morale, patient safety and the bottom line.

This year’s survey has 28 questions, which include the “Q12” core questions, as well as some on supervisor effectiveness, change management, and fairness and respect, all measures of how engaged employees are.

Hopkins Hospital and Health System hope to exceed last year’s 67 percent participation rate and the 3.86 (out of 5.0) overall score through an action plan and improvement process that managers have been working on since last year, Woodward notes.

Weinberg 5B’s Nurse Manager Allison Murter notes that as a result of the survery, the unit also has monthly happy hours and a lot of one-on-one time. “There is great opportunity,” she says, “for personal and professional growth within the unit.”

The unit’s 2009 scores rose from 3.72 the previous year to 4.04. The team is looking forward to both better participation and higher marks this time around.

In the end, she says, it’s the staff’s commitment to each other and to providing intensely compassionate patient care that allows them to improve. “It’s clear that our staff is rejuvenated by our patients and the strength that they display. Our patients are very motivated, they’re ready to fight, to beat their cancer.”

The Gallup Organization, which is administering the survey, e-mailed an invitation to employees on June 1. Employees can access the survey 24/7 from home or work from the Gallup e-mail or at hopkinsmedicine.org/jhhr/engagement2010. Use your 13-digit code—your eight-digit birth date (MMDDYYYY) followed by the last five digits of your Social Security number. The survey is voluntary and confidential. Gallup will provide the results to departments in a summary format, without identifying individual responses. 

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