Improving Staff Safety Improves Morale and Reduces Churn in Healthcare Settings


By Josh Childs

The country is undergoing a radical shift in remote work versus in-person work. But for individuals in the healthcare space, in-person work is a foregone conclusion. And after the past year and a half of significantly increased work stress, trauma, restrictions and more, healthcare providers may be at a breaking point. In this situation, they may be small things, but they’re helpful: team cohesion, safety and morale. 

By definition, morale is “the confidence, enthusiasm and discipline of a person or group at a particular time.” And in high-stress environments, keeping morale high can be a challenge. It is absolutely a team effort, but negativity tends to diffuse really easily—if even one employee is feeling low, it can impact the morale of all their colleagues.   

Real-time locating systems (RTLS) are well-known solutions to duress situations, and they can improve staff safety. But we know that feeling safe at the workplace—simple as it seems for those of us who aren’t in high-pressure, interactive environments such as healthcare—can make a massive difference in morale. Here’s how RTLS can help keep healthcare teams safe and happy at work. 

The Real Cost of Churn

When employees are unhappy with management or their work environment, they’re more likely to churn, or leave the position. But losing an employee also means disrupting a team and engaging in a high-cost rehire and retraining initiative. It can cost six to nine months of a lost employee’s salary to replace them. And in a field such as healthcare—with specialized teams, nurses, doctors and caregivers of all kinds—finding the right replacement can be a challenge. 

In these situations, if you can catch and address a safety situation early—for example, by upgrading your hospital’s RTLS system—you can improve safety ratings, improve morale and retain more of your employees.

Morale Has a Huge Impact on Churn

We’re not robots. We respond to the world around us—and we can all think of a time in our careers where the environment was toxic. Consider that horrible manager or that difficult co-worker and how their behavior spoiled an entire day (or job). There is a palpable difference working in environments of low versus high morale.  

In a low-morale environment, employees exhibit behaviors such as lower productivity, reduced motivation and persistent negative attitudes. Quality of work takes a hit, too. Needless to say, in a healthcare setting, that could be catastrophic. 

Specifically, employees resent their jobs, turnover increases and healthcare organizations are at potential risk of loss of revenue. However, when an organization takes steps to address and improve morale, employees will become more productive and more confident; will give their best efforts; and will gain a sense of satisfaction after a day’s work. Patient outcomes improve, staff cohesion gets stronger and people are less likely to leave for reasons related to morale.

The Benefits of Improving Safety

So, where does RTLS come in? First, you’ll be able to keep your staff safe. That much is obvious. But feeling safe and knowing help will arrive when you need it can make employees feel safe, secure and more relaxed in the workplace. 

Using an RTLS that is equipped to handle the many complexities of hospital environments with precision and accuracy means violent encounters are less likely to spiral out of control—and could be avoided altogether. That alone improves morale. 

But it’s also a feedback loop: High employee morale also lowers workplace accidents, reduces absenteeism, lessens stress and decreases the number of paid leaves that an employee takes. 

Organizations that take time to implement a positive safety culture are more likely to reap the rewards that typically go hand in hand with a positive work environment.
Professor Patrick Hudson, a psychologist, proposed a model with massive impact on safety culture at the organizational level. He demonstrated that an organization’s safety culture is a key component to shaping overall organizational culture. When employees and staff know that their safety is prioritized and supported by both technology and leadership, morale improves.

A Foundation of Safety 

Actall has been designing and deploying staff safety systems since 1997. Our mission is simple: Provide the most-accurate and most-precise tracking and duress solutions, especially to healthcare facilities and the like that present challenges in building composition, layout, signal interference and similar components. 

All too often, we’re not called in to design and install an RTLS until after a tragic incident has occured. Allow me leave you with one parting thought: Be proactive. You’ll not only reduce incidents of workplace violence, but you’ll also save money and retain employees in the long run. Morale can make or break teams and organizations—but with the right RTLS, you can ensure safety and team cohesion for the long run.