So, as a hospital facility, how can you create a vibrant organizational culture? Do you know what type of culture exists in your healthcare facilities? Why does it matter?
Let’s look at these questions and why creating a vibrant organizational culture is one of my 4 keys to organizational success.
What is organizational culture? It can be explained in numerous ways.
- It is how things are done in the workplace (coaching/mentoring..)
- It is how employees are recognized and rewarded
- It is the consistent patterns that guide behaviors and decisions
- It is shared beliefs and values
It is strengthened by actions that build trust and transparency. It is driven and defined first by management and their backing up their talk and message.
Employee behavior is reinforced with checks and balances by peers and management. It is important for everyone to feel free to call out behavior deviating from the established norm. Without that autonomy, you can never achieve the broad employee buy-in that drives true change.
If you have worked at several companies, odds are that you have experienced a less than stellar organizational culture at one time or another. Maybe it was downright toxic. Distrust, back-stabbing, office politics all play into a bad work culture.
I have worked at Fortune 500 companies that had varied cultures among their different departments (production, sales, quality control). This created a bit of dysfunction and kept people working in silos instead of on the same team. Let’s look at a few ways organizations can create the foundation that sets up the path toward developing a great work culture.
Management can utilize surveys of staff and patients. That input will provide a sense of what patients and their families value most about the hospital environment, treatment outcomes, and staff performance. Hopefully, patients feel safe, understood, and respected. Specific values and behaviors that will become foundational to your organizational culture should be identified.
Once those assets are identified, it is important to live them out. The organizational culture will develop by staff buy-in, human resources hiring the right people, and supervisors building trust within their teams. Trust and transparency is key to building strong relationships with peers and patients.
Effective communication is a significant part of a good organizational culture. I refer to the depth and effectiveness of this practice as tactical communication. This includes intent listening and seeking to understand, showing real empathy toward others, and understanding how to best communicate with specific individuals. It also means showing respect, building trust, and allowing idea’s to be shared without fear of ridicule or a dismissive attitude.
Great companies all over the world understand that a healthy organizational culture is critical to success. Many hospitals and the healthcare industry in general, have fallen behind. It’s never too late to start reviewing and defining your culture to make a better hospital, improve employee retention, engagement, and patient satisfaction.
David Novak, former CEO of YUM brands ( Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Pepsi) thought it should be the top focus for companies. With 1.4 Million employees in 120 companies performing well under his leadership, companies should take note of the success that can be realized when culture is a priority.
“Great companies talk about their work environment and the culture they have. Making the culture your #1 priority is the biggest single thing you can do.”
What steps will you take to ensure your organizational culture supports a great patient experience and highly engaged employees?