The Cost of Resisting Change (Part 2)

Kathy Douglas RN, MPH-HA

Stressed NurseIn our last post The Cost of Resisting Change is Going Up we promised to share some examples and offer suggestions for simple changes that can help build and maintain an engaged and committed workforce. While this is a complex topic that has many aspects and influences, it seems fitting to begin with this very fundamental fact – people want to be happy. The cost of unhappy staff can be easily seen in turnover costs and sick call abuse. It is harder to see, but can also be influential in quality issues, inefficiencies, difficult team dynamics, negative patient experiences, effectiveness of care delivered, and patient/staff satisfaction scores, all of which have both quality and financial implications.

Raising the topic of happiness may seem a bit silly to some, but this is serious stuff and there is mounting evidence to prove it. Back in 2012 the Cover of the Harvard Business review had the iconic 60’s big yellow smiley face on the cover with the title: The Value of Happiness. The entire issue was devoted to the business case for happiness and it’s impact on engagement, productivity, loyalty, quality of work and overall performance. At the same time researchers in the healthcare arena were developing their own business case for caring. Since that time there has been much progress in collecting evidence and fueling an expanding awareness of the importance of, as well as the bottom-line impact of, a motivated and engaged staff.

Healthcare employers can’t take responsibility for the happiness of individuals who work for them, however when equipped with an understanding of the impact happiness can have, a compelling case can be made for investing in the well-being of their workforce.

Some simple steps in this direction can go a long way. One of the things that support a person’s wellbeing is honoring the value of their time; this is true no matter what generation they represent. Giving staff more control over their schedule can not only contribute to their happiness, over many years, we at ShiftHound have consistently seen that more shifts are filled and costs reduced when staff become active participants in the scheduling process. When you layer on transparency of scheduling needs across the organization, you’ll find it allows staff to try new areas they are qualified to work in, as well as bring to light potential areas of interest, offering new experiences and career development.  As a result of these simple steps organizations have reported reductions in turnover, improved staffing and increased staff satisfaction.

This kind of shift can be concerning for some managers, and rightfully so, as they are responsible for assuring they have the staff necessary to deliver care. Handing over some control to staff can be scary. Overcoming this fear and reaping the positive results will be the topic of our next blog as we continue to explore the cost of resisting change.

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About ABILITY® Network, Inc.
ABILITY Network is a leading information technology company helping providers and payers simplify the administrative and clinical complexities of healthcare through innovative applications and data analytics. ABILITY is headquartered in Minneapolis with principal offices in Boston and Tampa.

ShiftHound, which was acquired by ABILITY Network in April 2017, is the leader in cloud-based Workforce Management solutions, including Attendance, Credentials Tracking, Staff Scheduling and Open Shift Management. Organizations in any business vertical with shift-based staffing needs use ShiftHound to improve scheduling effectiveness and operational efficiency while maximizing workforce utilization, assuring compliance with policies and/or labor contracts, addressing open shifts and better managing labor costs such as overtime and contract labor utilization.

About Kathy Douglas
Kathy is a healthcare executive and filmmaker. She has been on the executive team of several start-up companies bring cutting edge technology solutions to the healthcare industry for over 20 years. She has published extensively on the topic of healthcare staffing and the healthcare workforce. She holds a masters degree from the University of San Francisco and is a graduate of Stanford Business School’s Executive Program.


Wikipedia. (2012). Harvey Ball. Retrieved from http://en.
Excellence and Evidence in Staffing (2009) Douglas, K., et al