Engaged Employees Need Engaged Managers
I believe these "warning signs" and "early warning systems" – however valid the advice – raise more questions about management than they do about workers. If working conditions at your healthcare facility have deteriorated to the point where "busy and excited" employees arouse suspicion and concern, you need new management. In fact, the very idea that a union could organize "behind your back" – as the title states -- positively screams that management has failed to engage employees.
Let's be clear. I'm not rapping Ricciardi or the Advisor, which I browse every day. What they're saying is exactly right. In fact, Ricciardi has also said on the Advisor that the best way to keep union organizers out is to "consistently practice good, solid, fair employee relations," which he believes can only be accomplished by thorough management training. Bingo!
Employee engagement is not an exact science, thank God, because human beings aren't robots. Each employee brings to the job his or her own personality, skills, values, demands, concerns, and pet peeves. Nonetheless, there are some universal truths that apply to the vast majority of people. For example, treat your employees with courtesy and respect. Make yourself available. Give them your time. Learn their names. Encourage them to voice their concerns and listen when they do. Try to act promptly on those concerns, and if you can't resolve the problem, explain why you cannot.
If management demonstrates a genuine belief that employees are valuable team members on a shared mission, then managers have nothing to fear when their backs are turned. We talk a lot about employee engagement. We should concentrate more on management engagement.
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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