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NIHD Poised to Respond Well to the Changing Healthcare Environment

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Every day there is a story in the news cycle about health care. Ground-breaking medical research, a new drug that has completed FDA approval, different treatments for medical conditions, new federal and state regulations – it can be dizzying to keep up with. However, a healthcare organization that focuses on its people and its culture will respond well to these changes.

Northern Inyo Healthcare District is so positioned, and its engagement survey results demonstrate this. “A workforce whose members are deeply engaged leads to better service, higher productivity, and improvements in the overall lifetime value of their people,” says NIHD Chief Operating Officer Kelli Huntsinger. “Two years ago, with our Board of Directors’ support, we sought out the ‘voice’ of our employees with this survey. With their input, we have made improvements in our workplace, our culture, and our leadership.”

A recent employee engagement survey shows NIHD earning solid satisfaction ratings from its staff for the second year in a row.

The annual survey seeks to determine employees’ level of satisfaction and engagement in five key areas. Those areas include supervision; pay and benefits; hiring, promotion and opportunity; upper management; and quality and competency. The survey also asked employees about engagement in their jobs, in NIHD as an organization, and their level of satisfaction with the Healthcare District overall.

With 91 percent of staff responded to the survey, the vast majority of the 403 responses placed their overall satisfaction at a mean, or average, score of 3.28, or in the “very satisfied” or “satisfied” categories. “We honor the dissenting voices as well, and we have some who work at the District who are not yet as engaged as we would like them to be, but we are well on our way to please them,” says Tracy Aspel, NIHD Chief Nursing Officer. Only eight percent of the responding employees rated their satisfaction with the District lower.

“We compare our scores against healthcare entities nationwide to see how we stack up,” says Evelyn Campos Diaz, Chief Human Resources Officer. In the five key areas addressed in the 36 question survey, NIHD rated above the national benchmark in four of the five areas – pay and benefits; hiring promotion and opportunity; upper management; and quality and competence.

An improvement was seen over the 2017 score in the area of supervision, but the 2018 score remained just below the national benchmark.

Pride in the organization was statistically above the national benchmark, which pleased Chief Executive Officer Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA. “We want to be an organization that is considered to be one of the best places to work, not just in Bishop, not just in Inyo County, but in the State of California and the West,” Dr. Flanigan said. “By surveying our team and working with them to make consistent, professional improvements that meet our strategic goals, we hope to accomplish that in the near future.”

The higher scores were not just something handed to the District by employees. Dr. Flanigan explained that going into the first survey District leadership understood staff concerns existed in some areas. “We reviewed those areas, responded to concerns over the following months, and then repeated the employee survey last January,” he explained. “The 2018 results are a first step. Leadership hopes that with a growing bond between staff and leadership we will see even greater improvement in 2019.”

The results of the survey were recently presented to the NIHD Board of Directors, and to NIHD department directors and managers. The results are currently being presented to each department’s employees for review.

The survey will be conducted annually in keeping with NIHD’s Strategic Plan.