Performance Management in Healthcare: Best Practices and Solutions for Industry Challenges


Healthcare professionals face burnout, job dissatisfaction, and turnover, adversely impacting patient and business outcomes. The best strategies for facing these challenges include improving employee retention, increasing engagement, and focusing on overall workplace performance. This blog shares methods and best practices for each of the challenges mentioned above.

The strength of healthcare organizations contributes to the vitality of communities. Healthcare professionals are compassionate and drive to promote better patient outcomes and well-being. But unfortunately, healthcare professionals experience high levels of burnout, job dissatisfaction, and turnover, and that adversely impacts outcomes. 

According to a study conducted by PressGaney, organizations in the top 25% of the engagement performers score, on average, were 38 percentile points higher on the “Likelihood to Recommend” scale for care in the inpatient setting compared to organizations in the bottom 25% of engagement performers. Put more simply, healthcare facilities with higher engagement scores were significantly more likely to be recommended for inpatient care than facilities with lower engagement scores.

Here’s the key message: the satisfaction of patients is closely linked to the level of engagement among healthcare employees. When healthcare professionals are fully committed to their roles, patients are much more likely to have a positive experience. For healthcare groups looking to increase engagement, job satisfaction, and performance, we share performance management best practices in healthcare.

Why Performance Management In Healthcare Is Important

It is important to recognize the sensitive environment that healthcare industry employees work in each day. Healthcare professionals are often providing care and products/services to people in their most vulnerable state. We must take into account the mental, physical, and emotional energy exuded by these workers when considering their needs as employees. According to Corodata, the bullets below highlight a few of the major people challenges the healthcare industry is facing:

  • Employee burnout– Workers work long hours in pressure-filled environments that can result in high stress.
  • Staffing shortages– The education required and the length of time to train physicians contribute to staffing issues.
  • Training and development- Compliance, safety, and patient care require heavy investments in training employees.
  • Team morale- High stress, long hours, and growing patient needs without strong communication and employee investment can lead to a poor workplace culture. 


Effective performance management practices help healthcare institutions improve employee retention, engagement, and overall performance through intentional investment in their current talent.

Best Practices for Performance Management In Healthcare

The following best practices provide measurable solutions for each of the challenges mentioned above.

1. Continuous Feedback Practices 

In the fast-paced healthcare environment, it is crucial to find effective strategies to combat employee burnout. One powerful solution is continuous feedback through performance check-ins or one-on-ones. These regular meetings provide employees with the attention and support they need, fostering open discussions about challenges, accomplishments, and individual needs. As opposed to feedback happening exclusively in the traditional annual performance review, these 1-on-1 meetings/check-ins happen monthly, ensuring that important conversations take place sooner, feedback is properly documented, and employees receive consistent coaching. This proactive approach helps create a positive and supportive work culture that promotes employee well-being and engagement.

WorkDove and Healthcare: The WorkDove Check-In solution includes an employee sentiment pulse survey so managers can gauge employee engagement and track sentiment trends. This tool gives managers important insight into their direct reports and elevates the employee’s voice in the process.  Additionally, given we know many nurses, CNAs, and other healthcare professionals are on the go, thus, the ability to complete these check-ins with a mobile phone/tablet is key.

one-on-one performance check-in2. Goal Tracking

By monitoring goals at the individual, department, and organizational levels, healthcare organizations can enhance their alignment with the company’s mission and vision. Collaborating with a goal management platform that offers real-time updates on goal progress fosters accountability at all levels and sheds light on areas that may require additional staff and resources.

WorkDove and Healthcare: To accommodate the need for measuring a broad range of healthcare KPIs (key performance indicators) and OKRs (objectives and key results), WorkDove’s Goal Management platform allows for multiple measurement options, including Less than, Unit, Percentage, Currency, and To be completed. Thus there is flexibility to measure key healthcare metrics such as patient satisfaction, wait times, and readmission rates. The cascading goals tool gives HR leaders visibility into goal progression for individuals, departments/groups, and the organization as a whole. Additionally, goals are automatically integrated within the performance check-in, allowing for goal updates to be an integral part of one-on-one meetings.

Performance Management + Goal Management

3. Recognition of Positive Behaviors

Healthcare team members need to be recognized for the great work they do. An easy-to-use recognition platform can celebrate each other’s accomplishments, and this not only boosts overall morale but also fosters a culture of celebration and gratitude. By aligning team recognition with the organization’s core values and workplace behaviors, employees are encouraged to give and receive recognition based on a shared set of principles. WorkDove’s clients have seen a 145% increase in the number of employees giving recognition to others in some cases, and this fosters esprit de corps and improves job satisfaction.

WorkDove in Healthcare: To further boost team morale and increase personalization, WorkDove’s Recognition tool allows employees to recognize team members for work anniversaries, birthdays, and other big life moments. The tool also shows colorful confetti on the screen each time an employee recognizes another team member, celebrating the person giving the praise and adding a little more fun to the workday!

4. Performance Reviews

When consistent check-ins have occurred, the review conversation becomes a summary of past performance and workplace behavior displays so the remainder of the discussion can focus on the employee’s future. In this approach, more time is spent discussing the employee’s training and professional development needs/desires. With streamlined performance review software like WorkDove, HR leaders have visual access to more accurate performance data that informs staffing and training decisions. Leaning on WorkDove’s Performance-Values Matrix, leaders can evaluate the performance and values-fit of individual employees, teams, and managers.

Performance-Values matrix

WorkDove and Healthcare: WorkDove’s Performance Reviews provide an option to include a Leadership Identified Next Position and an employee Next Desired Position. The manager is prompted to identify a specific role they feel the employee would be a good fit for and suggest a timeframe of when they will be ready. Employees can also share a position within the organization that they desire. Lastly, Performance Reviews can include a brief Workplace Satisfaction survey to gather critical insight into employee feelings and perceptions.

workplace satisfaction report screenshot

5. Investing in Talent

Performance management practices that Intentionally invest in the brilliant talent within healthcare organizations typically occur in two different formats: individual development plans and leadership succession. 

  • Individual Development Plans (IDPs)– IDPs highlight the strengths that each employee brings to the table, as well as the potential training opportunities needed to further develop their growing skill sets. Employees feel more engaged when they know their career path is important to their managers and that personal and professional growth is a business strategy.
  • Leadership Succession– Strategic leadership succession identifies the healthcare organization’s next generation of leadership. A common performance management tool used is the 9-box grid, where employees are measured for their performance and their potential. This tool helps current leaders analyze and visualize employee placements on the grid and take action steps based on accurate data and collaborative discussions with other leaders. 


WorkDove and Healthcare: IDP+ by WorkDove provides managers with a visually appealing talent profile (think of it as an employee baseball card for talent!) that highlights the employee’s greatest strengths, potential risks, top skills, and areas for development. The 9-box grid integrates seamlessly with WorkDove’s Performance-Values Matrix. The x-axis of the grid measures performance based on comprehensive evaluations from final performance reviews, allowing leaders to gain valuable insights and take strategic actions to foster employee growth and success.

How WorkDove Powers High-Performing Healthcare Organizations

High-performing healthcare organizations know that to be patient-focused, they must first be employee-focused. Performance management software like WorkDove provides one integrated, affordable, single source of truth that streamlines all of your performance management practices so you can focus on what matters most: the people. Strategically investing time and effort into the engagement, satisfaction, and overall well-being of your employees has a direct effect on your patients’ experiences. Care for your patients by caring for your employees with a performance management solution that fits the unique needs of the healthcare industry. 

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