As county governments across Kenya strive to deliver equitable and affordable health care services to their populations, they rely upon the skills and dedication of thousands of clinicians, nurses and administrative personnel at all levels of the health system. In order to retain health workers and support them to provide the best possible quality of care to patients, it is important to find out what they think about their jobs and their workplaces; what is working well and should be reinforced; and where there are gaps affecting quality and performance.
Employee satisfaction surveys are an effective way for County Health Management Teams (CHMTs), facility in-charges and quality improvement teams to solicit employee opinions, prioritise areas for improvement, and track changes in employee views over time.
This Employee Satisfaction Survey has its origins in Kwale County. It was first conducted in 2015 by the quality improvement team at the Msambweni County Referral Hospital, in cooperation with the Support to the Health Sector Programme. In 2017, with support from the Kwale County Health Management Team, the survey was carried out again, this time in five high-volume hospitals and health centers across the county.
The Employee Satisfaction Survey is based on an anonymous 56-question self-administered questionnaire which is distributed to all employees, of all cadres, at participating health facilities. After the questionnaires are collected, the answers are captured in a specially-designed Excel spreadsheet which automatically generates charts showing key results. These can be publicly displayed on bulletin boards within the facility where both management and staff can see them.
A specially designed guidance note – How to implement an Employee Satisfaction Survey – provides CHMTs, quality improvement teams and facility in-charges with simple, step-by-step instructions for planning, implementing and analysing the results of an Employee Satisfaction Survey.
The employee satisfaction survey can trigger important management changes and quality improvement initiatives. At the facility level, management can take steps to address gaps and to improve employee satisfaction by, for example, introducing regular staff meetings to improve communication within and across departments. At the county level, CHMTs can identify common challenges and address their root causes as part of the Annual Work Plan process.