Covenants: Employee engagement is critical to hospice mission

When employees are invested in their organization’s mission, they feel a sense of ownership. They take pride in their contributions and are devoted to helping deliver the highest quality of care to our patients, families and the community at large.

Hospice of the Western Reserve employs more than 1,000 people in 11 locations throughout Northern Ohio. Caring for individuals at the end of life and supporting families is deeply rewarding yet demanding, so nurturing teamwork is crucial.

Internal code of conduct

We strive to create a harmonious work environment through the teaching of our “Covenants,” which serve as an internal code of conduct:

  • Upholding and supporting the mission and philosophy of Hospice of the Western Reserve.
  • Committing to honest dialogue with team members and our organization.
  • Making choices based on our mission and needs.
  • Acknowledging that conflict is an opportunity for growth; agreeing to resolve conflicts in a caring way.
  • Honoring the value and contributions of each team member for the success of the whole.
  • Understanding that each complaint contains a request and agreeing to present this request to the appropriate person for feedback.
  • Assuming responsibility for our role and accountability for our performance.
  • Taking responsibility for our own feelings and well-being.
  • Respecting and accepting all cultural differences.

Staff engagement is also built on consistent, frequent and honest feedback, not about only on an employee’s performance in an assigned role, but also on the performance of the organization compared to others within its sector.

Opinions count

The ultimate measurement of successful clinical employee engagement is the opinions of those we serve. Recent data provided by a firm that benchmarks the performance of 1,600 hospices by surveying families following their loved ones’ deaths shows our teams are far exceeding the national average for quality.

In the most recent 2016 report, 92.3 percent of responding families said they would recommend Hospice of the Western Reserve to their family and friends compared to the national average of 86 percent for all hospices.

Professional development is equally important. Certification is one of the benchmarks of knowledge and expertise in our specialized field, so it is a key focus area. Hospice of the Western Reserve is taking a leadership role in this area. Increased incentives, ongoing guidance from our education team and study guides are provided to support our staff during the certification process.
Engagement is a two-way street. As an organization, we are constantly learning from our employees as well. We remain committed to an open flow of ideas, and encourage suggestions for ongoing improvement.

William E. Finn is CEO of the Hospice of the Western Reserve provides palliative end-of-life care, caregiver support, and bereavement services throughout Northern Ohio. He has served as CEO since February 2011 and has been in the field of hospice and palliative care for 28 years.