By Whitney Melcher, CRCR Manager, Client Associate Experience, Ensemble Health Partners and Cody Niese, MBA, CRCR Talent Management Specialist, Engagement & Associate Experience, Ensemble Health Partners
Enhancing the associate experience requires revenue cycle organizations to be vulnerable, transparent, and collaborative with all levels of associates. This starts with your front-line workforce and is complimented by the values of your organization. Start with understanding that the associate experience is not a singular factor, it is a multitude of different dimensions that play an important role in associate engagement. We’re breaking down five steps you and your company can take now to be the difference, drive positive associate engagement, and achieve exceptional organizational results.
1. Build Relationships:
Creating a foundation in which your associates have direct access to senior leaders is a crucial first step to enhance the associate experience. This step helps build relationships, trust, accessibility, transparency, and humanizes not only your most senior leadership* but your mid-level leaders including supervisors, managers and directors. This group of leadership is the key to success of your organization. By building this foundation, your associates are more comfortable and inclined to participate, promote, and provide feedback to improve the associate experience.
By putting people first, last, and always, allows the associates to be at the center of the relationship with the organization. Relationship building can happen in more ways than one. What’s important is to ensure the associates are in a comfortable mindset to be candid with all levels of your leadership team. Putting programs in place to help foster relationship building with associates is a crucial first step. Here are some tips when building programs:
Humanize and Access
- Develop a way to bring the associates into the leader’s home to share family recipes and family memories. Share hobbies and interests of your leaders with your associates.
Transparency and Trust
- Coffee Talks with Senior Leadership to help associates navigate their career journey
- Lunch with a Side of Leadership, having candid conversations with associates while eating lunch together. This program further promotes a culture of access and trust.
2. Listen to Associates:
The next most important step in building a
foundation of great associate engagement is
surveying. Asking your associates to speak up
is not only important but necessary. You must
create a culture of surveying and educate the
associates on its importance. Explain to the
associates why it’s important to hear from them.
Empowering them to have a voice, will give your
organization the advantage. Surveying is not just
for the associates; it benefits the organization
as well. By letting the data drive your decisions,
empowers the associates to share celebrations
and areas of opportunities. It allows you
understand what associates need at that point
in time which allows leadership to drive action
to support the needs of the associates. Teaching
your associates to not accept complacency and
that the status quo isn’t good enough allows you
to continuously strive for excellence by leveraging
your associate insights.
Establishing clear listening strategies creates
opportunities to understand current points in time
from an organization while also understanding
points in time from the associate experience.
Creating an experience management system
will allow your organization the ability to create
internal benchmarks and bridging metrics
through other surveys.
Creating a Culture
Have an annual engagement survey to drive
consistency providing clear paths to allow
associates to speak up and share what is
going well and where your organization
- Have an annual engagement survey to drive
Investing in the Associate Life Cycle
Develop associate life cycle surveys from
onboarding, to retention, to separation to
help your organization better understand
key focus areas related to their experience.
- Develop associate life cycle surveys from
Open and honest communication is crucial,
but it must be timely as data is a point in time.
Not only sharing the data, but why it’s important
will allow the associates to understand the
process, help drive action, and commit to positive
change within the organization. Sharing data
with all levels of leadership from executives to
associates shows leadership values the feedback
shared and is focused on the betterment of the
organization. Creating a transparent environment
at all levels shows your organization is in an All
for One and One for All mindset.
By sharing results, discussing action plans,
and creating timelines shows the associates
the organization is committed to providing the
best associate experience. It also demonstrates
senior leadership is committed to driving positive
change by celebrating strengths and identifying
Commitment to the Process
Create a diverse range of communication
platforms to share your progress and status
updates from monthly impact videos, town
hall forums, to one-on-one meetings.
- Create a diverse range of communication
Open Lines of Communication
To help continue to conversation with
senior leaders develop open lines of
communication. This creates a transparent
environment and builds trust. You can do
this by creating a platform for associates
to have direct communication with your
most senior leaders.
- To help continue to conversation with
4. Associate Partnership:
The buy in of your associates will help fuel
innovative ideas from your associates and
further extends transparency. This shows the
organization wants to collaborate and invest in
the associate experience. This should be at the core of your DNA when driving engagement.
Ensuring associates know their responsibility
extends beyond their job description will
provide associate commitment to the process.
Include the associates in key decision-making
processes that fuel engagement. Empower them
to share innovative ideas. Your programs can be
created directly from associate feedback from
your engagement survey
Ask your associates questions to identify
opportunities within your organization
and the associate experience.
Develop programs where associates can
share ideas, let them be part of innovation
planning and decision making
- Ask your associates questions to identify
Promote an inclusive work environment
to incorporate associates into the process,
showing their value to the organization.
Use creative solutions powered by the
ideas of your associates to bring their
ideas to the forefront.
- Promote an inclusive work environment
5. Drive Action:
Driving action may be the last step when
enhancing the associate experience but its
arguably the most important. Lack of action
post survey and associate partnership can
cause disengagement within the organization.
Associates will tell you what they want, as
leaders, you must listen. By developing
programs associates are asking for, you can
boost engagement and reduce turnover. This
also shows you have the associates best interest
at heart, by developing Your associates which
in turn makes the company better.
Developing programs based on the data
gathered will show you are listening.
By developing programs the associates are asking for, you are driving the action needed to
boost engagement. Create an action plan with
focus areas in mind based on the data from
the survey. It’s important to not only focus on
operational development but also creating
programs that focus on associate wellbeing.
Build Programs with Associates in Mind
Wellbeing programs can help build social
engagement that focuses on mind, body,
spirit. Build programs that motivate your
associates, key motivators include
reward, recognition, since of belonging,
- Wellbeing programs can help build social
Continue the Conversation
The conversation does not just stop here,
plan pulse checks with associates to
understand how the organization is doing
to drive positive change. With pulse checks,
you can ask yourself, what do we want to
stop, start, and continue to create that
world class culture for your organization.
- The conversation does not just stop here,
Here at Ensemble Health Partners, we focused
efforts and energy on these five steps which have
helped enhance our associates experience. It’s
important to remember, your associate feedback is
a point in time, but your action planning is an
ongoing process. Building relationships, having
transparent communication, listening and partnering
with your associates, and driving action will help you
enhance your associate experience and empower
them to them to be the difference.