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Three members of the pediatric oncology unit discuss protocol
September 7, 2016

Our voice matters: How Hamilton Health Sciences engages its people

When a plan was announced to build the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre (RJCHC), Randi Robicheau knew she could depend on everyone, including front-line staff, directors and physicians, to become fully engaged in the process.

“We not only wanted to hear from our people about how to make this project work, we needed to hear from them,” says Robicheau, manager, special projects and integration at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). “One of the many ways we listened to everyone’s input was through something as simple as a suggestion box.

“It wasn’t a token process. We cared about what our people thought, and they came back to us more engaged than we could have imagined.”

Much of RJCHC, which opened last November, was designed with input from staff and physicians, as well as patients and families.

Clinical staff, for example, provided valuable input that led to a more welcoming front entrance than early designs proposed. Ultimately, the entrance met the needs of the centre’s patients while also becoming a signature feature of the building.

In all, more than half of the staff who moved to the new site participated in various planning subcommittees to ensure the building provides an excellent patient experience.

RJCHC planning team in main lobby

Members of the RJCHC planning team stand in the building’s lobby – a key part of the design that had input from HHS staff and physicians.

Staff and physician engagement: a North Star Metric

To achieve our goal to engage, empower and enable our people to deliver on our mission, we have identified staff and physician engagement as one of our North Star Metrics. The metrics set clear directions for us to follow, as we seek the best care for all.

By 2019, our objective is to enhance engagement by five per cent as measured by the My Voice Matters Survey, which staff and physicians have an opportunity to complete.

To help reach this target, HHS is initiating a new way of surveying our workforce in an effort to keep engagement at the forefront.

Starting this month, HHS will distribute the My Voice Matters Pulse Check to a random selection of staff and physicians. Each month for the upcoming year, a new group will be invited to complete the survey.

Like the name suggests, the goal is to check the pulse of the organization to make sure we’re on the right track.

“We want to ensure all the engagement work happening across the organization is actually making a difference. The pulse survey will let us know how we are doing,” says Sandra Ramelli, director of talent and organizational development.

“Our people come to work every day wanting to feel valued and to have good relationships with their team. If that environment around you is positive, it improves your well-being at work and that, ultimately, improves the patient experience.”

Trust and communication

For the tightly-knit hematology and oncology team at McMaster Children’s Hospital, completing the My Voice Matters Survey is a welcome part of their routine.

Although their overall engagement scores were high, results showed lower scores related to individual stress. With this insight, the team was empowered to find new ways to alleviate this key issue.

In a department with high caregiver burden, members of the team are impacted every day by increased volumes and higher acuity of patients.

When bad news strikes, team members lean on each other through daily Caregiver Compassion Discussions, implemented as a result of the survey. The discussions focus on celebrating accomplishments and, more importantly, keeping self-care a priority.

The outcome? Increased trust, stronger relationships, more effective communication amongst team members, and a feeling of empowerment to make change.

The My Voice Matters Pulse Check will be released monthly to select HHS staff starting in September. Everyone will have an opportunity to complete the survey within the next year.

Three members of the pediatric oncology unit discuss protocol

One of the outcomes of the My Voice Matters Survey for the pediatric oncology unit at McMaster Children’s Hospital was more effective communication amongst team members.

Visit our Strategy in Action page for related stories about how we engage and empower our people.

People goal description and drivers