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If you think employee engagement is just a soft perk created by entitled Millennials, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Disengaged employees can have a serious financial impact on your urgent care business, making more mistakes than their engaged counterparts and costing businesses billions of dollars annually in lost productivity. That’s why it’s crucial for urgent care operators to build a strong organizational culture that engages and supports employees at all levels of the organization. Failing to do so can bring an urgent care startup to financial ruin.

Table 1 illustrates the returns on salaries a business typically sees based on employee engagement:

Table 1. Financial Consequences of Employee Disengagement
Engagement Level Return on Salary
Fully engaged 120%
Engaged 100%
Somewhat engaged 80%
Disengaged 60%
Data from Employee engagement. Albertson, NY: Employer Assistance and Resource Network; 2014 [cited 2015 March 2].

In the urgent care setting, frontline staff members are the most vulnerable to experiencing disengagement. Why? It’s your frontline staff who has to endure the daily slings and arrows of patient and provider demands.

Take, for example, a registration specialist who tries to share her ideas about operational improvements, but her managers continually ignore her. To make matters worse, her managers also treat her position like it’s expendable because it requires the least amount of formal education and pays the lowest salary of all the positions at the urgent care center.

Demoralized, she starts to make careless errors in capturing accurate patient demographics, resulting in the center later receiving numerous “zero EOB” notifications, which indicate denied insurance claims. The cost in time and labor spent correcting her errors cancel out any profits from those patient encounters. If the registration specialist quits or is let go, the urgent care center must incur the cost of recruiting, onboarding and training a new employee.

The more cost-effective route would have been to keep the registration specialist engaged in the first place.

What Causes Employee Disengagement?

There are a multitude of factors that cause employee disengagement depending on the specific profession, industry or company, but these are the 13 most commonly cited causes of employee disengagement:

  • Ineffective management
  • Emotional labor
  • Repetitive work
  • Unclear expectations
  • Lack of recognition
  • Poor communication
  • Insufficient onboarding
  • Poor work relationships
  • Broken promises from management
  • Employee opinions and suggestions ignored by management
  • Workplace stress
  • Personal life stress
  • System and process issues

Most of the top-cited causes are things that can be controlled by strong leadership and organizational culture. For new urgent care operators, the key is to work on creating this kind of culture right from the start.

Creating an Engaged Culture at Your Urgent Care Startup

There are three key elements to creating an engaged urgent care team:

  1. Implement the Drivers of Employee Engagement
    Human resource specialists, workplace psychologists and engagement experts all agree that there are eight key drivers to employee engagement. Those include:
  • Setting clear expectations
  • Providing employees with regular feedback
  • Providing advancement opportunities
  • Helping employees feel like their jobs have meaning
  • Providing employee recognition
  • Building good working relationships among colleagues and supervisors
  • Allowing employees to have autonomy
  • Soliciting and then implementing employee feedback
  1. Give Managers the Keys to Being Good Leaders
    One of the single most important decisions a company can make is who it names as a manager. Although most physician-owners don’t have the management training needed to build an engaged culture, there are endless resources available that can help them learn. According to a Google study, these are some of the top qualities of a good manager:
  • Is a good coach
  • Empowers the team
  • Treats employees like people
  • Is results-oriented
  • Is a good listener
  • Encourages career development
  • Has a clear vision
  1. Develop Genuine Connections with Staff Members
    A major component of leadership is developing genuine connections with your staff members. This should be easier to achieve when you’re first starting your urgent care center and have a smaller staff, but it should never be forgotten as your practice grows and you have a larger, more departmentalized organization.

Employee engagement isn’t just an extra perk; it’s a crucial component of your business that could seriously impact your urgent care startup’s bottom line. As you develop your urgent care’s business plan, make sure to account for how you will develop your center’s organizational culture so you are prepared to lead your new staff.

Urgent Care Consultants specializes in starting urgent care centers from the ground up. Let us connect you with one of our experts today.

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