The New Key Drivers of Employee Engagement - Pt. 1

Posted by Melissa Herrett on Jul 31, 2015 8:48:18 AM

As different generations enter the workforce and the economy ebbs and flows, the nature of employee engagement changes. As such, it’s important to regularly review your understanding of engagement and what drives employee engagement at any given time.

While individual engagement drivers for each person vary, Avatar’s most recent research into current engagement drivers highlights nine key factors. This week, we will explore 4 of the engagement drivers: Organizational Culture, Work Atmosphere, Senior Management, and Skill Fit and Development.

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Staycations: Are They Your Best Option?

Posted by Hannah Johnson on Jul 28, 2015 12:05:42 PM


Staycations are an increasingly trendy vacation option used by employees to unplug from work without breaking the bank. When done properly, they’re a great way to explore your surroundings while taking some time off.

Staycations were first popularized during the recession for financial reasons. At first, there seemed to be no cons. What cons could the staycation produce? You don’t have to work, you don’t have to pay for travel, and you get to relax with friends and family, or enjoy some time alone!

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Employee Engagement for the Remote Worker

Posted by Brian Ellis on Jul 23, 2015 2:58:19 PM

I have been a member of the Avatar Solutions team for six years, working until recently in our Chicago office.  Each day, I have woken up, gotten ready, and taken the train downtown.  In total, my commute has been around 45 minutes. 

Then, one month ago, I moved across the country to Los Angeles.  I’m still with Avatar, yet I’ve shaved my morning commute down to about 30 seconds.  One might speculate that I’ve expertly mastered Los Angeles traffic but, no, I am now a remote employee and work out of my home.

In an age of VPNs, cloud storage, and text messaging our managers, technological advances have made it very easy to work for a company 2,000 miles away and have it seem as though you are right there in the office.  In fact, I’ve got the same office setup I had in Chicago – Avatar shipped my computer and phone to me and I am connected to our database via VPN. 

Technologically speaking, it couldn’t be any simpler.  The biggest challenge so far has been reminding myself that I am “in the office” during the day. I can’t let myself become distracted by the fact that I am, indeed, sitting in my living room.

Now I’ve only been doing this for a month, so I’m no expert, but there are a few things that have really helped me maximize my productivity and engagement while working from home. Here is a look at a few of them:

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Defending the Data, Vol. 1 – How to Approach the Hard Questions at your Organization

Posted by Marty Wright, Vice President of Engagement Services on Jul 22, 2015 6:00:00 AM


In this series of articles, Avatar’s Vice President of Engagement Services shares his experiences and suggestions to help patient experience leaders present data in a way that connects with audiences.


The first presentation I ever delivered on Patient Experience data was in 2002.  Back then we were still calling it “Patient Satisfaction” and it was a “nice to do,” as opposed to the right thing to do for patients. 

The presentation was hosted at a large academic medical center in the Midwest, in a HUGE auditorium where staff were scheduled to come in and get a first-ever look at their performance results.  I stood in front of this enormous audience, introduced myself, and very matter-of-factly began spewing data at the medical center staff. 

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Tools, Training, Teamwork: 3 T’s for Improving the Patient Experience

Posted by Melissa Herrett on Jul 21, 2015 1:08:38 PM

Everyone is searching for a “quick fix” to improve patient experience survey scores. Unfortunately, there is no magic button healthcare organizations can push to guarantee all patients have a great experience every time. However, continued research on the subject shines some light on best practices and techniques for providing high quality patient experiences.

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HCAHPS to Play a Role in New CMS Payment Model for Hospitals

Posted by Greg Hyman on Jul 16, 2015 8:56:24 AM

CMS may soon use HCAHPS as part of a new payment model for acute care hospitals providing joint replacement services. That’s according to a proposed rule published recently in the Federal Register.

The rule would establish the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model (CCJR), a payment model incorporating bundled payments for care related to hip and knee replacements. These procedures represent two of the most common and costly surgeries among Medicare beneficiaries.

As part of the rule, the model would be tested over five years in randomly selected geographic areas throughout the United States. With limited exceptions, each hospital within the selected areas would be required to participate.

Prior to publication of the rule, the Department of Health and Human Services sent out a notice to newsletter subscribers describing the initiative as one designed to support “quality and care improvements for patients’ transition from surgery to recovery.”

How would the proposed rule meet these objectives? The following provides an overview of several key aspects of the rule and its implications for hospitals.

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Communicating Employee Survey Confidentiality

Posted by Brian Ellis on Jul 10, 2015 5:42:56 PM

In my last post, I discussed measures you can take to protect the anonymity of employee survey participants.  While many business leaders recognize the importance of survey anonymity, an equally important consideration – communicating that confidentiality to employees – is sometimes overlooked.

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Why Every Company Should Have a “Fourth of July” – and How to Do It

Posted by Greg Hyman on Jul 1, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Since it was first celebrated over two hundred years ago, the Fourth of July has come to mean many different things to Americans.

For many, the day is a chance to connect with family and friends, to indulge in tasty foods and enjoy the spectacle of parades or fireworks displays. Perhaps more significantly, the celebrations also acknowledge a pivotal moment in American history and pay tribute to events that paved the way for our modern American lifestyle.

The day has long held such significance. Writing to his wife in early July 1776, John Adams referred to the future celebration of a “great anniversary festival,” predicting that the time would be one at which Americans annually honor their nation’s birth. Centuries later, we see that Adams was right.

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CG-CAHPS Surveys from the Patient Perspective

Posted by Melissa Herrett on Jun 25, 2015 9:41:10 AM


On this blog, we tend to talk a lot about patient surveys from the hospital or provider group’s perspective. Which survey is most applicable to your patient population? What mode should you use? What’s the right sample given various factors affecting your organization? While each of these questions is vital to selecting the correct patient experience survey plan, it’s equally important to consider who will be receiving your survey. In this spirit, I wanted to use this post to take a step back and consider patient experience surveys from a different angle: that of the patient.

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Engaging Millennials: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

Posted by Hannah Johnson on Jun 23, 2015 9:38:48 AM

blog3According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials - people between 18 and 34 years old today - have an average time on the job of less than 16 months. Compared to the older Generation Xers, whose median job occupancy is 5.5 years, millennials seem to never settle down. Millennials are sometimes characterized as being flighty and unwilling to pay their dues, but they are not a group to be disregarded.

In fact, millennials comprise 34 percent of the workforce today. With millennials representing such a large share of the workforce, companies need to welcome them with an open mind. Yet, understandably, many leaders find themselves asking, “How do I engage a workforce that is known for planting fairly shallow roots?”

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