As leaders, we strive to develop engaged, high-performing teams that love their work. … But creating that type of culture can be a challenge. Especially in the ever-changing world of health technology.
Many organizations strive towards having a strong relationship between IT staff and clinicians. Unfortunately, there are more than a few still experiencing silos between the teams. It would be great if there was a way to help to bridge the silos. While at the same time improving staff engagement. ... While we are at it, let's toss in some increased knowledge and skills improvement. Sound impossible? It's not. In fact, it can be quite the opposite.
Health systems present us with an incredibly diverse and intelligent ecosystem. There are accountants, engineers, lawyers, MBAs, nurses, physicians, project managers, quality improvement specialists, research PHDs, social workers, and the list goes on ..... Huge numbers of brilliant people in an industry where they thrive by helping others. And every single one of them is experiencing change with the continuous introduction of more technology.
Why not leverage this ecosystem. Build relationships, improve staff engagement levels, and help IT initiatives at the same time.
How would it work?
Start by having conversations about what it is that interests each of your staff members. Find out what they are passionate about. Items can be directly related to their current role. Or they can be general life interests or future career goals. Make sure there aren’t any limits placed on the conversation.
Perhaps a med-surg nurse is fascinated by biomedical engineering. Or an IT staff member has an interest in social work? Maybe one of the unit clerks wants to see what types of things business analysts work on. The possibilities are wide open.
Once you have an idea of where each team member's interests are, start thinking of IT projects that link the two together. The goal is to align their work activities with their interests. In healthcare, there are very few ideas that don’t interact when IT is used as a common thread. Use this to your advantage.
Is there a device integration project that your med-surg nurse could take part in? Maybe during the user acceptance testing?
Does your organization perform IT rounding to clinical areas? Add the social work office to the list of areas to connect with. Or adjust the assignments so the IT team member interested in Social Work can stop by there on their rounds.
Are the downtime procedures perfect? Or are there some adjustments that would benefit end-users? Connect the unit clerk with a business analyst to review the workflow so they can collaborate on suggested updates.
What are the benefits of this type of approach?
Connecting regular job duties with areas of personal interest leads to more engaged staff. Engaged employees are known to outperform their colleagues in several areas. Some of the additional benefits of taking this type of approach when assigning tasks are:
Learning & Development
Having staff work on things that align with their personal goals can lead to a stronger commitment to learning. Skill development becomes more enjoyable when it relates directly to something of interest.
Staff working in an area of interest are much more likely to engage in conversation with the other team(s). Any activity that grows the relationship between team members is beneficial. For an organization, the relationships between teams help build a stronger culture of interaction and trust. Especially when it comes to information technology.
The staff-supervisor relationship is extremely important for a high-performing team. Conversations about individual interests can be favorable. And demonstrating an active interest in their goals will help strengthen this relationship. No one wants to feel like just another body at work. Taking the time and putting forth an effort to see staff as individuals are invaluable.
Some connections may take a bit of creative thinking. Over time thinking of pairing assignments with interests and passions becomes second nature. Just don’t forget to keep the conversation going with staff - interests can change over time!
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs