Better Late than Never!

Article of the Month

Perlo J, Balik B, Swensen S, Kabcenell A, Landsman J, Feeley D. IHI Framework for Improving Joy in Work. IHI White Paper. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2017. (Available at ihi.org)

"With increasing demands on time, resources, and energy, in addition to poorly designed systems of daily work, it’s not surprising health care professionals are experiencing burnout at increasingly higher rates, with staff turnover rates also on the rise. Yet, joy in work is more than just the absence of burnout or an issue of individual wellness; it is a system property.

Burnout leads to lower levels of staff engagement, patient experience, and productivity, and an increased risk of workplace accidents. Lower levels of staff engagement are linked with lower-quality patient care, including safety, and burnout limits providers’ empathy — a crucial component of effective and person-centered care.

So, what can health care leaders do to counteract this epidemic? IHI believes an important part of the solution is to focus on restoring joy to the health care workforce.

This white paper is intended to serve as a guide for health care organizations to engage in a participative process where leaders ask colleagues at all levels of the organization, “What matters to you?” — enabling them to better understand the barriers to joy in work, and co-create meaningful, high-leverage strategies to address these issues.

The white paper describes the following:

  • The importance of joy in work (the “why”);
  • Four steps leaders can take to improve joy in work (the “how”);
  • The IHI Framework for Improving Joy in Work: nine critical components of a system for ensuring a joyful, engaged workforce (the “what”);
  • Key change ideas for improving joy in work, along with examples from organizations that helped test them; and
  • Measurement and assessment tools for gauging efforts to improve joy in work."