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The Value of High Morale in Healthcare


Experienced healthcare managers usually recognize the strong link between high team morale and positive patient outcomes…but this link isn’t always obvious to novice managers and healthcare administrators who are stepping into a new role in an unknown workplace culture. Novice managers tend to place the burden of responsibility squarely on the shoulders of employees, not their leaders and bosses. Instinctively, they assume good business means asking more from employees while providing less. According to this logic, the more you can extract from your workers at low cost, the more likely you are to achieve your organizational goals. But eventually—and after some headaches and strife—most managers come to recognize that it pays to treat employees with respect. Here’s why.

You’ll attract better employees.

High workplace morale means a stronger workplace reputation. If you’re known as an attractive place to work, you’ll draw the interest of more and better applicants. Since great management starts with great hiring and selection, you’ll solve management problems before they even start by raising the overall level of talent and engagement in your clinic or facility.

High morale means lower turnover.

Once you attract talented and high caliber employees, your investment in morale will help you keep them on board. You may have your own definition of a successful hire, but in most organizations, a hiring mistake usually looks the same: an employee who steps on board, receives expensive training, and leaves within one year. This is considered a hiring failure by most definitions, and you’ll prevent this costly problem by making sure your promising new employees stick around for a while.

High morale is contagious.

High morale can have a positive impact on every aspect of patient care, including intangible metrics like patient perceptions of the experience, recovery times, adherence to treatment plans, and lower hospital readmissions. Happy healthcare providers result in optimistic patients. Of course the reverse is also true; stressed, disengaged, underpaid, overworked, sleep deprived healthcare providers don’t generally inspire the trust of their patients, peers, and support staff.

High morale means a higher bottom line.

Paying employees more than your competitors, treating them better, and keeping them longer can pay huge monetary dividends over time. Most important, it creates a reliable internal staffing pipeline that can help you shape your workforce from the entry level to the C-suite. Bring promising young healthcare employees on board at the earliest point in their careers and maintain them as they increase in value, skills, and experience.

For more on how to build a strong foundation under your long-term staffing program, reach out to the healthcare management pros at SCP.

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