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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

Let’s Stand Together

June 21st, 2021

We recently announced our engagement survey results and I was extremely happy to hear that almost 75% of you shared your feedback. That far exceeded our participation goal, allowing us to hear the voices of so many of our employees.

In general, results were compiled into three key areas (engagement, safety and resilience) and we were rated on a five-point scale. I’m not going to share all the data here, but you can read the details in this  2021 Vital Voices Headlines Article or talk to your leaders about your team’s specific results or action plans.

Organization Wide Highlights

Overall, our team members feel good about their pay and benefits and they believe their work is meaningful and they are able to make a difference. In general, they also feel confident that they can report acts of violence and/or verbal abuse incidents, as we continue to encourage employees to speak up for safety and equity.

This is all great news, but we still have more work to do.

Our staff members raised concerns about communication among and between various roles and departments, as well as work-life balance, and equity in opportunities within the organization. In particular, stress and burnout were big concerns, which is no surprise given the past year and lingering pandemic.

We Are Not Alone

Our engagement scores are matched against two key benchmarks — national health care and national academic medical centers. Our results are compared with data from 200 other health care organizations and 30 academic medical centers. The data indicates that we fall in the average, or, in some cases, above average range, when compared to our peer institutions.

So, we are not alone. Considering the recent and ongoing challenges due to COVID-19, it is not unusual for us in health care to have these types of workplace concerns.  Employee engagement has taken a hit in our industry and workplace stress and burnout are common enemies.

According to a study cited in a recent Harvard Business Review article, recovery from the pandemic will look very different for health care workers than it will for the average American. The physical, emotional, and psychological toll of the past 17 months will persist — and in some cases deepen — even after the volume of daily COVID-19 cases dwindle. We know many of us have been traumatized and some are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Because we experienced this together, we have an opportunity to help each other through the recovery period, now and in the future. And as we support each other, we will build a stronger, more united organization with a more inclusive, compassionate work environment. 

We can do this on both a professional and personal level.

Professionally, we have the survey data that indicates specifically where and what we need to improve in our work climate and culture. I urge leaders and team members to come together, review your department or unit results and brainstorm ideas on how to address your concerns. What did you all learn from COVID-19 that can make you a better team now? Is there something you can do to make your workplace environment better? How will you adapt together towards a new normal or hybrid environment?   

On a personal level, we need to remain flexible and empathetic with one another. Recovery and healing looks different for everyone, and happens at a different pace. Some of us will need to step back, talk through their experiences and find ways to heal and recharge. Others may find greater therapy in reengaging and finding new approaches to their work. Whatever method or however long it may take, know that Michigan Medicine has many wellness websites and resources to support individual and team recovery efforts.

Why not join together to build a more engaged, more satisfying place to work? 

We can do this because we’re better together.

How are you or your team planning to improve your workplace culture based on your engagement results? Share your ideas with us using the discussion box below.


  • Lawrence Knight

    In past years the survey results have been reviewed, but I find at least in certain departments that implementation has been lacking. How can leadership expand on implementation on results and is there an open door to suggestion to improve the work environment as stated?

    • Marschall Runge

      Lawrence, thank you for sharing your concerns. I would suggest starting with your department’s Human Resources business partner, who may be able to provide resources and other suggestions about how your leadership might response to engagement survey results.

  • Our PFCC team within our department has seen great success with process improvement and customer & staff satisfaction when each shareholder meets together for a specific time frame and works together with solving a concern allowing each voice to collaboratively problem solve in the same room over a series of months. I’ve seen this process work and be maintained.

    • Marschall Runge

      Thank you, Carolyn, for sharing what your team is doing to improve your work culture. It sounds like you are taking the time and spending the extra effort that is needed to address these concerns. Change never happens overnight and it takes patience, teamwork and courage to work on tough issues and process improvements. I appreciate your team’s determination to get it done.

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