This past summer, our healthcare workers were facing the peak of the COVID pandemic, many teams were working remotely, protesters had descended on cities across the country demanding equality, and NHRMC was negotiating a partnership deal with Novant Health that would forever change the landscape of healthcare in southeastern North Carolina. Some organizations chose not to conduct an employee engagement survey at this time. NHRMC leaders, however, saw the survey as opportunity to learn more about how our employees were feeling and what they were thinking.
From July 6-24, NHRMC asked our employees to take the annual Employee Engagement Survey, independently administered by PressGaney.
During this snapshot in time, our employees rated the organization on job security, safety, quality of care, benefits and confidence in leadership, among other topics. 82 percent of all eligible employees completed the survey, as compared to 81% in 2019.
Predictably, NHRMC showed a decrease in the overall score, with an organizational score of 4.16. The overall score of 4.16 did not meet NHRMC’s strategic goal of 4.20, which would have matched the score from 2019. We scored in the 62nd percentile of all health care organizations for 2020, including those who took the survey before the pandemic hit.
“This year has presented challenges unlike any we have seen before,” said NHRMC CEO John Gizdic. “But the survey results show that we can do better. Employee and patient safety are paramount concerns at NHRMC, and we must make sure all employees are aware of all the safety measures in place.”
NHRMC thanks you for your valuable feedback. Your responses show where we are succeeding and help drive the change that strengthens us.
Some of the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
NHRMC’s employees expressed pride in the organization, commitment to the organization, and an overall satisfaction that were significantly higher than the national healthcare average. Employees scored NHRMC far ahead of the national average for benefits satisfaction, as NHRMC is about to begin its 10th consecutive year with no increase in health insurance premiums. Employees take pride in how NHRMC contributes to the community, and they respect our dedication to mission and values. They also expressed confidence in the executive leadership team as they work on expanding healthcare in this region.
“We are dedicated to health equity for our communities and to increasing access to excellent healthcare across this region,” Gizdic said. “Our employees recognize our commitment to this mission, they embrace it, and they are helping us achieve it.”
Employees also recognized the $35 million commitment to raises and market increases over the past two years. The question “My pay is fair compared to other healthcare employers in this area” showed the greatest score increase over the 2019 survey.
Individually, Pender Memorial Hospital (80th percentile) and NHRMC Physician Group (89th percentile) had even stronger scores.
Employees scored NHRMC below the national average for staffing, and communication between shifts. We also have an opportunity to strengthen the trust in our departments.
Compared to 2019, employees are more concerned about job security. The negotiations with Novant Health, however, included a guarantee that all NHRMC employees in good standing can retain their current position at their current salary or higher for the next two years.
Employees also scored NHRMC lower than 2019 on questions about employee safety, tools and resources to provide care, and the quality of patient care. The pandemic likely affected these numbers, as NHRMC quickly established new protocols for treating patients with COVID-19 and those suspected of being infected. Rapid changes in recommendations from the WHO and CDC led to the release of more than 50 COVID-related internal documents, some of which were revised frequently to detail changes in protective gear and protocols.
The comments from the survey echoed much of what we already know. The staff and coworkers care for each other. Words like “family,” “support” and “teamwork” were included in many responses, and this illustrates the culture at NHRMC.
“2020 has been a year of surprises that has pushed many of us out of our comfort zone. And that’s where we grow as employees, leaders, and human beings,” Gizdic said. “Out of necessity, we learned that we can adapt incredibly quickly. The resilience of our employees has shone through, and we appreciate the perseverance and support our teammates.”
“These survey results provide more insight into where we can improve as an organization,” Gizdic said. “We will take this information, and together we will use it to make NHRMC an even better organization to work for and an even better place to receive care.”
In the coming weeks, leaders will work with their teams to find opportunities for improvement. They will be cascading individual unit results to their teams by October 30, 2020. Teams will then engage in action planning at both the unit level and the organization level. Action plans will be initiated in all units by December 31, 2020.