As one of the eight active lenses of the healthcare experience framework1, staff engagement is recognized as fundamental to the successful realization of a positive patient experience2.
An organization’s staff engagement strategy should comprise of numerous elements3, and some form of community giving activity should be one. It’s the holiday season after all, a wonderful time to remember the importance of helping others! Yes, it’s something close to my heart so I’ll admit I’m a bit biased, but there’s actual some science behind the benefits too.
According to research, giving back benefits not just the recipient(s), but your health and happiness and communities by creating social connections. Talk about a win-win-win!
So, if you’re ready to implement community giving as one of your staff engagement initiatives, here are four things to consider for maximum impact:
- Get Senior Leadership Support
The first step should be ensuring leadership buy-in, which should seem obvious since “culture & leadership” is another active lens of the experience framework1. For example, we list “community” as one of our company’s purpose along with associates, customers and their patients. We post this purpose all over our offices’ walls and desks as a way of making that commitment public!
- Leverage Your Field – or Simply Your Neighborhood
Your facility’s discipline can help guide you towards charities that are within your space. It makes sense for an imaging center to rally around breast cancer awareness, or for a cardiologist to support the American Heart Association, to point out the obvious. There are many healthcare-related non-profits to pick from – as well as many healthcare recognition days to leverage.
For instance, since we provide linen rental and laundry services to healthcare, we partner with some local chapters of Ronald McDonald Houses to clean their linen at no charge, and we donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital through payroll deductions, to name a few.
Alternatively, you can decide to support your local community too, directly impacting your staff and perhaps even patients. Is there a park nearby that needs a little TLC? A charity close to a staff member’s heart? Our ImageFIRST Fort Myers team had planned a Habitat for Humanity volunteering event only to find out one of their recent hire had been a beneficiary of Habitat!
Your patients may also be a great inspiration for ideas. In May 2018, we partnered with one of our customers Surgery Care Affiliates and nonprofit One World Surgery, which they are foundational corporate partner of. Our entire leadership team got to work to donate and assemble 250 backpacks of school supplies for young students in Honduras who cannot afford these basic necessities.
- Involve and Empower Staff
Once you get leadership buy-in, you’ll need a small committee. Build a team made up of positive and passionate “locker room leaders” who can spread the enthusiasm and create energy around the activities you decide on. Ensure their managers is on-board with their participation and commitment.
This team can help execute, gather ideas, give you a pulse of what’s important to your staff (so you can bring community giving activities that matter to them), and gather feedback after each event. For example, we found out some of our associates have difficulty leaving the office to participate due to recurring weekly work. We’ve modified our community giving activities to include events both outside and inside the office walls.
- Integrate Community Giving Activities Within Staff Engagement Calendar
After a kick-off meeting, set recurring quarterly meetings to plan the next three to six months. Work with your committee to develop a calendar of activities that you can integrate within your (hopefully) pre-existing staff engagement calendar.
Community giving is a wonderful way to engage your staff, so long as you plan ahead and dovetail it into your existing activities. Here’s a checklist and calendar to help you plan!
1. Wolf, J. A. (2018) Introducing a Framework for Experience in Healthcare. The Beryl Institute.
2. Wolf, J.A. (2017) The State of Patient Experience: A Return to Purpose. The Beryl Institute. https://www.theberylinstitute.org/page/PXBENCHMARKING
3. Gallup Q12 Survey https://q12.gallup.com/Public/en-us/Features
Magali Tranié is the Director of Marketing for ImageFIRST Healthcare Laundry Specialists. She has 20 years of experience working in various marketing disciplines, leading teams and contributing to employee engagement strategies. She is passionate about community giving, being an active weekly volunteer for a local animal shelter since 2006, giving annually to a variety of non-profits, participating to one-off volunteering opportunities throughout the year, and sponsoring a child in Rwanda since 2017.