July 2015 
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Happy July!

Summertime calls for lounging by the pool, BBQs and spending quality time with family and friends. It's also a good time to take stock of your office morale. Ensuring your workplace is engaged and happy makes everyone better employees. In this month's issue we make the case for insider engagement surveys, which help identify employee, manager and physician perceptions of working conditions, teamwork and cooperation, communication and training. 

We also welcome two new members to our team here in San Diego: Michelle Forte and Melissa Johns! 
As always, feel free to  this on to your friends and colleagues!
Warm regards, 
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What Do Your Employees Really Think?
The Case for Insider Engagement Surveys


In the old days, employers told workers what was expected, employees did their jobs and earned their pay. Case closed. 


However, there's no guarantee that an employee performs with any sense of pride or passion for their work. In fact, a June, 2015 Gallup study of more than 6,600 employees nationwide shows that less than 70 percent of staff members are fully engaged (defined as involved, enthusiastic and committed), in their jobs. 

Employee Engagement

While managers and other executives were seen as most engaged, only 28 percent of individuals in service related jobs were labeled engaged. What's the solution?  Measure the engagement levels of the staff and providers in your organization and take measures to improve.


Karen Maxwell, Vice President of Human Resources, at Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI) knows what an effective tool insider engagement surveys are. "We use them to learn if our perceptions of staff morale and satisfaction match reality." Conducting the physician, staff and manager surveys each year by Internet allows CEI to develop an action plan with specific strategies for improvement.


According to Karen, the staff members are eager to complete the survey. "It's relatively brief, online and we provide a "thank you" Hershey bar when they're done." CEI's response rate, 92%, is among the highest received by SullivanLuallin Group clients.


The following are typical topics and a few sample questions that are addressed in an engagement survey. (The rating scale is a four point scale: Agree Strongly; Agree Somewhat; Disagree Somewhat; Disagree Strongly) 


Teamwork and cooperation

    • Physicians usually praise employees for good performance
    • My supervisor gives clear instructions


    • I understand our mission, goals, and policies

Working Conditions

    • I feel proud when I tell people where I work

The open ended questions are often the most telling. Consider asking, "Would you refer a member of your family for care at our practice?" (If the answer is NO, please tell us why not.)


CEI added a custom question, "Cincinnati Eye Institute is a great place to work" and asked to what extent insiders agreed. It's the question that the organization focuses most improvement efforts on.


In addition to staff member surveys, conducting "mirror" surveys (same questions as staff survey with minor wording differences) of providers and supervisors can make excellent points. For example, in one New York practice, when doctors were asked to rate themselves on "I usually praise employees for good performance" 77.0% agreed strongly. When employees were asked the same question only 21.5% agreed strongly. Even more disturbing, only 11.6% of the supervisors agreed strongly! Management used the data to encourage doctors to be more proactive in showing appreciation to staff members.


Easy email distribution


Rather than using paper surveys, employees, supervisors and providers respond to an email invitation, log-on to a website, enter a password and complete the questionnaire. With the online survey, there are no concerns about management identifying anyone by their handwriting! Within a few days of the cut-off date, reports are generated (and if you engage SullivanLuallin to assist with the survey) with benchmarks against other MGMA practices.


To see an actual online survey, go to www.satsurveys.com and use PIN "1234." To view a manager survey, use "mgr" as the PIN, and for a look at the provider survey, enter "md" as the PIN. 


For further information, give us a call at (619) 283-8988 or respond to Answers@SullivanLuallinGroup.com.


Q. We hear all the time that appreciation for a "job well done" is the most effective way to motivate employees. Do you have any suggestions for low-cost or no-cost "thanks" strategies?
Engaged Employees 
A. Lots of practices use cards or other paper certificates to acknowledge "extra step" performance. The employee displays the recognition token at their workstation. But the most creative no-cost incentive we've come across is the "15 minute" coupon.  

An employee who merits special appreciation receives a coupon worth 15 minutes.  Those extra minutes can be tacked on to the lunch period or a break. Some staff use it (with one-time permission) to arrive 15 minutes later or leave earlier. It's a very popular and highly sought after reward!

Welcome New Team Member: Michelle Forte Michelle Forte


While earning her undergraduate degree in Psychology at San Diego State University, Michelle began working in many different research labs. After she graduated, she remained in the Public Health research field for the next three years while she pursued her Master's degree in Organizational Development and Leadership. She then began work with a small executive development consulting firm where she managed many of the aspects of their analytics department. As one of the newest Project Coordinators at SullivanLuallin Group, Michelle has been eager to lend her education and experience to excel in her new role.


Michelle and her husband purchased their first home in late 2014, which houses their nine pets. Being animal lovers they currently have two dogs, two cats, three chickens, a parrot, a rabbit and multiple fish. They love eating fresh, healthy produce and have been growing organic fruits and vegetables in their aquaponic gardening system over the past few months. They also are trying their hand at making their own wine and beer. The two love hiking, camping and enjoying all the wonders San Diego has to offer.


Welcome New Team Member: Melissa Johns Melissa Johns

A recent transplant from the MidWest, Melissa comes to the SullivanLuallin Sales & Marketing department with several years' experience in Sales and Marketing. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with a degree in Communications and has held several Marketing roles since graduation. She joins our team as a Sales & Marketing Assistant.


In her free time Melissa enjoys exploring all that San Diego has to offer with her daughter. As a new resident she likes adventuring out into new areas and finding new restaurants and events for her and her family to enjoy. 


SullivanLuallin Group is a leading provider of patient experience solutions for medical groups, provider networks and health systems. Our "Transforming the Patient Experience" engagement model solves critical patient, provider and employee engagement challenges faced by healthcare organizations. We offer a wide range of services including satisfaction surveys, customer service training, physician shadow coaching and mystery patient shopping. 


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