IQMH is pleased to share an article about the work of core laboratory technicians at Southlake Regional Health Centre. We encourage facilities to share effective processes with their laboratory peers.
by Manisha Shah MLT, MSc, CQIA
Southlake Regional Health Centre
The research evidence linking employee engagement with performance and other important organizational outcomes has generated a widespread belief that improving and sustaining high levels of employee engagement significantly contribute to overall productivity and quality.1 However, there is actually very little firm agreement on what exactly is meant by the term engagement. One view of engagement sees an engaged employee as someone immersed in his or her work, experiencing a state of flow which is an intrinsically rewarding experience.2
Southlake Regional Health Centre’s core laboratory formed a Core Laboratory Technicians Committee in 2017 as one of its engagement initiatives. The committee, which is still in effect, has the mandate to promote a positive, inclusive and collaborative team environment supportive of improvement in efficiency, quality and patient experiences. It is comprised of six motivated laboratory technicians.
For the first six months, the committee identified three primary objectives to work on through the review of the current state, namely technician’s training plan, phlebotomy workflow and Lean initiatives, using the philosophy of continuous improvement. It inspired a renewed enthusiasm in the team knowing that they will have a voice and ownership of the key aspects of their job.
The committee developed a well-structured training plan that improved the effectiveness of the training, revised phlebotomy workflow and implemented 5S in the Central Specimen processing area using visual management principles. The leadership at Southlake laboratory used the principle “to probe, ask guiding questions, coach and build self-confidence.” Welch says self-confidence gives people the courage to stretch, take risks, and achieve beyond their dreams.3 Following the achievement of key milestones, the Committee members had an opportunity to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for the program leadership where they successfully shared their views and presented achievements.
In a highly regulated, procedure-driven lab industry, trusting that employee self-motivation will yield consistent, reliable results can be challenging, however, on the other hand, disconnect between employees and their jobs may cause them to cut corners, not pay attention to details, or simply not care whether or not they do the right thing.4 When employees feel their jobs offer no challenges, they become less engaged and less satisfied.5 Kruse defines employee engagement as the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.5 The entire team’s engagement, morale, and teamwork improved as a result of these activities.
- Harter JK, Schmidt FL, Killham EA, Agrawal S, Plowman S. 2012 Q12® Meta-Analysis: The Relationship between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes. Available from: https://employeeengagement.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2012-Q12-Meta-Analysis-Research-Paper.pdf.
- Robertson IT, Birch AJ, Cooper CL. Job and work attitudes, engagement and employee performance. Where does psychological well-being fit in? Leadership & Organization Development Journal. 2012;33(3):224–32. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1108/01437731211216443.
- Welch J, Welch S. Winning. New York: Harper Business Publishers. 2005.
- Barker T, Noguez J. The High Cost of Low Morale in the Clinical Laboratory: How Workplace Environment Impacts Patient Safety. Clinical Laboratory News. 2015.
- Kruse K. Employee Engagement 2.0: How to Motivate Your Team for High Performance (A Real-World Guide for Busy Managers). The Kevin Kruse Group. 2012.