The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all aspects of life as we know it, including (and perhaps especially) in the workplace. In healthcare, COVID-19 has not only affected workplaces and employees physically through social distancing and coronavirus wards, but also mentally and emotionally. The uncertainties of the pandemic combined with unexpected and sudden changes in personal and professional lives have led many people in the American workforce to experience increased feelings of anxiety and burnout.

Away from the front lines, many organizations, including Medxcel, have settled into a work-from-home routine. One study found that this is leading to employees working longer days with more meetings and more emails to answer. For companies without a highly engaged workforce, this could be detrimental to an organization’s work, or worse, individual employees’ health and wellness. Building a company that encourages communication and engagement and cultivates passion isn’t just a nice perk for employees, but vital for a thriving business – especially during emergencies.

It may not be feasible to establish a formal employee engagement program while your organization contends with COVID-19, but there are some informal steps you can take to encourage and foster engagement, even now.

Peer-to-Peer Support

It is always important for managers to provide direct feedback and support to employees in real-time and at scheduled evaluations, but don’t discount the importance of peer-to-peer support within your company culture. Employees who support one another’s ideas and good work or provide constructive criticism establish stronger bonds with one another. This leads to a collective drive for success, individually and as a team, which benefits the entire organization.

Location-to-Location Consistency

Again, creating formal programming may not be feasible during a pandemic, but establishing consistency across locations – whether across a city, state or country – is key to engaging employees and stakeholders. Consistency allows everyone in the company, no matter where they are located, to feel connected to one another and the greater company culture. Individual locations will have their own quirks and traditions, but fundamentally, a formal program or set of guidelines should serve to ensure all stakeholders receive a consistent experience regardless of location.

As a company, Medxcel recently rolled out “Engage!,” which is a service program developed to provide a consistent Medxcel experience, whether at our headquarters in Indianapolis or our 160+ healthcare facilities across the country. Engage! is based on the premise that as we take care of our employees, they will take care of our customers through high-quality service.

Employee-to-Patient Experience

Within healthcare, particularly in facilities management, the highest purpose of our work is to provide a positive patient experience. Few individuals love to spend time in a hospital, so our job is to make their time spent in our care as comfortable as possible. This is directly affected by our employees. A disengaged employee may overlook issues that could affect a patient, such as a faulty TV in a recovery room or a waiting room with an A/C on the fritz. When disengaged employees are unwilling or unable to take pride in their work, anyone in that environment is at risk of being negatively affected.

Mitigate disengagement by actively investing in your employees. Whether that’s through individual or company-wide professional development opportunities, employee recognition programs, or funding to encourage employees to participate in community or service projects, giving space for employees to flourish and find their passion will help them build pride in themselves and their work.

During a Crisis

At Medxcel, our 2,200+ associates have gone above and beyond on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a safe, healing environment for patients across the country. Working toward this common purpose has continued to drive high employee engagement and feelings of emotional connection, which in turn has allowed us to find innovative solutions to address the pandemic within our facilities.

Our associates have stepped up to these unique challenges because they were engaged and committed before COVID-19 reached the U.S. Creating a safe environment so doctors, nurses and other personnel can provide care for patients has always been the top priority at Medxcel. With the spread of COVID-19, maintaining a safe environment has required our teams to adapt. By focusing on employee engagement before and during these times of crisis, we’ve seen this work translate directly to the hospitals and facilities we serve. Supporting your employees and showing compassion can go a long way, and ultimately it creates a cycle of engagement that can allow your organization to function at its best.

Jennefer Pursifull serves as Vice President of Marketing for Medxcel. She drives corporate revenue growth and retention through a passionate focus on customers and the market. Jennefer oversees the vision and strategy of marketing, market growth and customer experience, as well as Medxcel’s employee engagement program.

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