Report Highlights Link Between Employee Engagement and Patient Care at VA Facilities

A new analysis of data at VA medical centers finds that there is a direct link between employee morale and the quality of patient care.

A recent report from the Partnership for Public Service found that as employee engagement improved at VA medical centers, so too did facility performance.

“Simply put, engaged employees are better employees,” said the report. It studied data at almost 150 VA medical centers to better understand the relationship between facility performance and employee engagement.

The findings indicate that a one-point increase in the Best Places to Work employee engagement score is associated with, on average, a roughly half-point increase in patient satisfaction with the medical center overall, and a quarter-point increase in satisfaction with a center’s primary and specialty care providers.

Another improvement was in call center performance. The findings indicate that as employee engagement rises, the time it takes to answer the phone decreases, and the percentage of calls that go unanswered declines.

“The results of our analysis conclusively reveal that employee engagement drives patient experience and the ability to retain mission-critical talent,” said the Partnership in its report.

Two facilities specifically profiled were in Altoona, PA and St. Louis, MO. Both were suffering from morale problems when new directors took over.

Both directors actively solicited employee feedback to learn how the facilities could be better run in an effort to change the morale problems. Leadership training programs were established to develop better leaders within the facilities, and efforts are also made to reinforce employee pride in the mission and regularly recognize members of the staff for good work.

The focus on improving morale among faculty staff has gradually helped to turn around performance at each of the medical centers which has led to better outcomes for patients.

Engaging Employees at VA Medical Centers

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.