Message from the Chair: More on Employee Engagement

October 29, 2014 by

nataro2.phpWhen the topic of the Engagement Survey comes up, the first question is typically “what is engagement anyway?”   Engagement measures the spirit and morale of a team, how much the members feel a proud part of the organization. Gurus in this area point out that high engagement scores correlate not only with high employee satisfaction, but also with better service delivery to the customer, client or patient. As you all know, the UVA Health System has now administered two rounds of the Engagement Survey. So, on the Department level, how are we doing?

In the first survey, some weaknesses appeared that received some much-deserved attention. The faculty selected a couple of areas on which to focus. First, they asked leadership to be clearer with regard to vision and priorities; we can’t go there if we don’t know where we are going. In response, we developed a series of communication venues (including this newsletter). Second, the faculty asked for clearer articulation of individual faculty expectations and job performance. I am now nearing the end of individual meetings with each faculty member. I have enjoyed this process immensely. The staff have asked for more shared venues with faculty so that we can feel more cohesiveness; we are scheduling more such venues, and this year will have the first holiday party to include both faculty and staff. Staff also requested more ability to provide feedback on their workplace. We have installed Suggestion Boxes in several discrete places and are reviewing regular comments. We have instituted more staff meetings and town halls. We have also begun to develop opportunities for staff to volunteer in our clinical sites so that they can more readily experience the joy of working with our patients. Remember, caring for children is the shared purpose of all in our Department.

I am happy to say that as a Department, we made progress in several areas on the second survey. Significantly more respondents reported that they had received recognition for their work in the prior seven days. Significantly more individuals felt that there is someone at work who encourages their development. As well, more respondents felt that their opinions count, that the mission or purpose of the organization makes them feel that their job is important, that their associates are committed to doing quality work, and that they have opportunities to learn and grow. More people felt that their opinions count and that UVA should be recommended as a place to work.

I am pleased that we have made progress in the survey, but we are not nearly done. We will be appointing a Department Action Planning Group, who will be charged with eliciting additional recommendations for improvement. I am personally committed to making the Department of Pediatrics the best place to work in the institution, a place where you are all proud of what you do, and what we do together. Please participate in this process, and thanks for all you do, every day.

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