Executives say flexibility, recognition, and rewards are among the keys to maintaining high employee satisfaction.
In a roomful of cutting-edge revenue cycle executives, conversations about automating repetitive tasks naturally lead to strategies for retraining, redeploying, and—importantly—retaining, employees who've been freed up to work on more complex assignments.
That's exactly what happened this morning at the HealthLeaders Revenue Cycle Exchange in West Palm Beach, Florida, where more than 30 revenue cycle executives from the nation's top health systems are gathering this week to discuss everything from denials management to automation.
Here are three of their employee satisfaction strategies:
1. Flexibility: Executives agreed that the top request in employee surveys is the ability to work from home.
Allowing employees to work at home has been a key driver of employee happiness for many revenue cycles, and many systems without the capability to allow some or all employees to work from home are in the process of implementing it now.
For Kennedy and other executives, employees' desire to work from home isn't the only reason for offering such a program: Many facilities are also running short on physical space.
One solution Kennedy described was desk sharing, in which two employees rotate the days they work in the office and from home. Since they're in the office on alternate days, they're able to use the same desk. On Fridays, they both work from home.
Although employees are often eager for the chance to work remotely, many revenue cycles require staff to meet minimum seniority and productivity goals in order to qualify to do so.
One executive called the prospect of working from home a "carrot" for employees to work toward.
2. Recognition: Whether it's remembering a birthday or sending kudos for a job well done, revenue cycle executives agreed that recognition is an important part of building and maintaining employee satisfaction.
One executive receives automated reminders about her employees' birthdays and work anniversaries, so she's sure to never miss a chance to send a personalized message.
That's why her team has the capability to send e-cards to anyone they choose to recognize, whether in the revenue cycle department or outside it. To encourage employee participation, she looks to her leaders to set the example and be role models.
"All my leaders know they better be sending e-cards," she says.
Such recognition has paid off: Viramontes says they just got their 2019 Press Ganey results and found that the revenue cycle scored above the 95th percentile nationally for employee engagement.
3. Rewards: When employees are engaged and high-achieving, they should be rewarded for it, whether it's with the ability to work from home or by earning points toward real-life purchases.
One executive described how Northwell Health in New York has taken this idea to the next level through its wellness program. They have an employee step challenge that encourages teams of 10 employees to "walk" to a destination in order to be entered into a raffle to win a trip to that place.
For instance, during the "Walk to Dublin" challenge, teams had to complete the number of steps it would take to walk to Dublin, Ireland, and the teams that completed the challenge within eight weeks had a chance to win a trip there for themselves and a guest.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.
Photo credit: Karen Kennedy, director of revenue cycle for Cleveland Clinic Martin Health in Stuart, Florida, at the December 2019 HealthLeaders Revenue Cycle Exchange. (Spencer Selvidge)