Working as a healthcare practitioner, whether as a physician, nurse, therapist or some other profession, one would most likely have observed some form of a gap between senior management and staff, or between different health care professionals, say doctors and nurses.
By gap we mean negative vibes or an atmosphere of awkward and indecisive pattern of communication. This is something not tangible. Most times it is only felt. There is an air of disconnection wherein we feel that we are working on one goal, but employ a “mind your own” kind of attitude. Any institution or organization, big or small, is not immune to this problem.
It is quite common in the workplace to see staff nurses hesitant to approach a head nurse on a seemingly unimportant consult. It is also not unusual to find a nurse who is meticulously trying to decipher a doctor’s handwritten order rather than making a simple phone call to the physician to seek for clarification. There are times that we see a therapist accidentally disregarding protocol because he is unaware that the management has recently instituted changes.
There are also instances when we hear the staff complain about over fatigue due to understaffing. They talk about pay-cuts, diminishing benefits and lack of opportunities for skill-enhancement. On the other hand, the senior management wants the staff to understand that they are challenged by limited human resources, budget limits, regulatory mandates and dictates of consumer satisfaction. Both levels of hierarchy experience difficulties in their positions. With these challenges, the gap just widens even more.
What happens when a gap exists between groups of practitioners, staff and leaders?
When disconnect is apparent in an organization, reaching institutional goals is like traveling by train on a wrecked track where there are jolts, unnecessary detours and stops, and delayed arrivals. The working environment is heavy with discontent and undercurrents. Workers feel like they are dragging their own feet to work. There is much confusion, error and indecisiveness, much to the detriment of client care and employee satisfaction.
With all these said, it is therefore important to close the gap.
What to do to bridge the gap?
Closing the gap is never an easy task. Since it is not tangible, the results are hard to measure. But there is a way to make this task of bridging the gap a lot easier. We create opportunities for:
1. Employee Engagement
The employees become pro-active in pursuing organizational goals because they become fully-absorbed in their assigned task. This is made possible by clearly defining performance objectives, rewarding staff for their timely work completion, and ensuring that the management is made aware of their advancements and achievements.
All these do not have to be mundane. Think about incorporating gamification in the process. There are organizations, like Manage Up that do this and they are successful. It is high time to hear more staff say that they love their job, isn’t it? With passion for the job, there is less ground for complaints and dissatisfaction.
2. Collaboration and closed loop communication
There is more appreciation of the hierarchy when there is collaboration and closed loop communication in every step of reaching organizational goals. Are you thinking of a lot of time-consuming face-to-face meetings? Not at all. Imagine when you can be informed of changes or mandates through disseminated videos, and in turn provide real time feedback to the management through a common platform.
3. Process improvement tools and techniques.
Streamlining workflows gets a lot of things done for clients. This process is called process improvement. This is because clear-cut objectives are set, time for task completion is reasonable and definite, and information needed to complete the job is available and accessible. These may seem like simple things but they exert a high impact on client health outcome and employee satisfaction. There are organizations that take care of these tools. Manage Up is one of those with proven track record of success.
Finally, any process of automation, such as information dissemination, license renewals, and centralized document managing and tracking provide a common ground for understanding between practitioners, whether they are from up in the hierarchy, or from a co-worker.
With these strategies for closing the gap, we get the best of all worlds: better patient outcomes, more employee satisfaction, more share leadership from the senior management and a encouraging workplace culture.