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Leadership in Employee Engagement

Attracting and retaining the most talented employees is important in today’s difficult economy.  In the health care sector, as well as in other industries, smart leaders are recognizing that they can achieve this by showcasing their green practices.

Engaging in sustainable practices creates a sense of pride in your employees, and that pride shines through in your business success.  Organizations that win awards celebrating their green practices tend to experience decreased turnover rates and more engaged employees.  Lower reduction in turnover saves money and training resources, and can really add up.

While it’s difficult to show direct ties between employee attraction and retention and green practices, it’s safe to consider it a driving force.  In the health care sector, employee health is a critical factor in job satisfaction levels.  According to The Lancet (2007), nurses have the highest incidence of work-related asthma of any occupation studied, followed closely by cleaning staff.  Considering that this is largely due to the powerful cleaning chemicals used in hospitals, making a change in the products used is an easy way to embed sustainability into your organization. 

There are other ways to create effective change in your environmental culture and demonstrate to your employees that they are valued. A recent survey conducted by the staffing firm Adecco USA found a third of the 2,473 working adults they surveyed thought that working for a green company would be a factor in choosing a job:  

  • Those that found it most important were under 35, who have been taught about recycling and global warming since elementary school. 
  • Medical school graduates are now asking questions about a hospital’s approach to sustainability as they are making decisions about where to match.
  • Environmentally friendly buildings result hospitals receiving a flood of calls from physicians and other clinical staff who are interested in working there.

At a time when we still have a nursing shortage and are running toward a physician shortage, the ability to attract, recruit and RETAIN top medical staff and other managerial roles will become increasingly important.  They see what is going on in the world around them and want to make a positive impact.  Health care organizations must make a difference by becoming the models of the healthiest workplaces in communities.


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