Your organization’s culture can significantly affect employee job satisfaction, retention, and quality of patient care. That’s why it’s important for healthcare organizations of all sizes to build a culture that values its people rather than money or profits alone.
In fact, a Glassdoor survey found that 77% of job seekers look at a company’s culture before deciding whether to apply, with 56% saying that culture was more important to them than salary.1 Many employees want to find work that aligns with their core beliefs, which means you want to create a culture that reflects a positive mission and values system.
Here are 10 ways to build a strong culture within your healthcare organization.
1. Create an Engaging Employee Orientation
Your organization’s onboarding process and training procedures can affect new employees’ first impressions of your culture and overall work environment. Creating a dynamic and engaging orientation can help new employees acclimate to their surroundings and bond with co-workers right away.
Some human resources professionals recommend giving new hires small gifts or treats, walking them around personally and introducing them to everyone, or sending them a video greeting.2
2. Start a Formal Mentorship Program
Employees, especially new ones, often crave feedback and guidance on the job. Consider establishing a formal mentorship program where new employees are matched with experienced ones for a year or longer.
Mentorships offer new employees the opportunity to receive ongoing constructive feedback and learn how they can improve their performance prior to receiving formal reviews from their managers. It also provides value for the mentor, increasing their satisfaction and expanding their perspective of their leadership role.3
3. Encourage Team-Building and Collaboration
The more connected your employees feel with one other, the more satisfied they’ll be with their jobs. Incorporating team-building activities in your orientation and training programs will help your employees create stronger relationships and encourage them to learn from each other.
Team building ideas for healthcare staff include:4
- Two truths and a lie: have each person share three statements about themselves, two being true and one being a lie, and ask everyone else to guess which is the lie
- Escape room: plan a group outing to a local escape room where the team must work together to uncover the clues and ultimately escape
- Board games: ask members to bring in their favorite board games and have your staff play them together
4. Plan Regular Social Events for Your Employees
To build greater employee satisfaction, plan fun social outings or events for your staff to enjoy. Keep in mind that the events and initiatives you plan should align with the type of culture you want to project to current and potential employees.
Ideas for social events include:
- a potluck
- ice cream social
- talent show
- movie outing
- happy hour
5. Focus on Employee Contributions
Make an effort to put the spotlight on your employees for achievements large and small. Build positive rapport by creating initiatives to showcase employee achievements whenever possible. This way, you reward employees for positive behavior and encourage others to adopt similar behaviors.
There’s another reason to reward employee contributions. When employees think that they’ll be recognized for their performance, their likelihood of being highly engaged increases almost three-fold.5
6. Lead by Example
The tone set by top leadership will largely dictate the culture that prevails throughout your organization on all levels. Leaders who exemplify positivity can influence their employees to do the same. This creates a culture of idea-sharing and respect, from top management to entry-level staff.
Ways to lead by example include:6
- Keeping a positive attitude
- Doing what you say you’re going to do
- Physically working with your team
- Adhering to the same rules your workers are expected to follow
7. Communicate Regularly
Communicating with employees on a regular basis can position your organization as one that cares about its staff and stakeholders. Whether it’s through newsletters, company-wide emails, or monthly meetings, communicating about key decisions and updates will allow your staff to stay informed about your organization.
It can also be helpful to teach staff how to better communicate with one another, such as when talking about patient care. One communication strategy that is helpful in healthcare settings is the STICC Protocol.7 This protocol helps ensure that the necessary information is shared and involves following these steps:
- Situation – what is going on?
- Task – what action is recommended?
- Intent – why is this action recommended?
- Concern – any other issues of concern?
- Calibrate – is all of the information clear, and are there any other concerns about following the recommended action?
8. Focus on Core Values
To demonstrate commitment to your mission and values, make sure all leadership decisions reflect your organization’s core values. The more you can emphasize your organization’s values, the more respect you can earn from your employees.
Also take the time to teach employees the values of the company. This can be done with new employees at orientation. The values can be reaffirmed with current staff at regular training and in other workplace communications.
9. Encourage an Open Exchange of Ideas
In addition to regular communication, it’s essential to encourage your staff to contribute their ideas to the workplace. You want your employees to feel comfortable expressing themselves so that positive change can be made where needed.
In an article published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Karin Hurt and David Dye, the founders of Let’s Grow Leaders, share that asking ‘courageous’ questions can help open this exchange.8 Instead of asking “How can we be better?” Hurt and Dye suggest asking questions such as:
- What is a problem we have that no one talks about?
- What is the greatest obstacle to your productivity?
- What’s sabotaging our success?
10. Keep Innovating
No good culture should remain stagnant. Make a point to consistently identify areas of improvement and continue to shape your culture as employee and patient needs evolve. You can help ensure long-term success by adapting your culture as the healthcare landscape changes.
Today’s professionals are more aware of how an employer’s mission and values can affect their workplace experience, which makes company culture critical. Every organization is responsible for communicating its culture so new and current employees feel connected to the mission and are proud to be part of the workplace.
1 Glassdoor. Culture Over Cash? Glassdoor Multi-Country Survey Finds More Than Half of Employees Prioritize Workplace Culture Over Salary. https://about-content.glassdoor.com/en-us/workplace-culture-over-salary
2 Meinert D. Onboarding Mistakes to Avoid and Some Creative Ideas to Adopt. Society of Human Resources Management. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0616/pages/onboarding-mistakes-to-avoid-and-some-creative-ideas-to-adopt.aspx
3 University of California, Davis Campus. The Benefits of Mentoring. https://hr.ucdavis.edu/departments/learning-dev/toolkits/mentoring/benefits
4 Physician’s Weekly. Team Building Exercises to Help Motivate Your Medical Staff. https://www.physiciansweekly.com/team-building-exercises-to-help-motivate-your-medical-staff
5 Wickham N. Quantum Workplace. The Importance of Employee Recognition: Statistics and Research. https://www.quantumworkplace.com/future-of-work/importance-of-employee-recognition
6 Indeed. 8 Ways to Lead by Example in the Workplace. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/lead-by-example
7 HIPAA Journal. Communication Strategies in Healthcare. https://www.hipaajournal.com/communication-strategies-in-healthcare/
8 Dye D. How Can I Encourage My Employees to Share Their Ideas? U.S. Chamber of Commerce. https://www.uschamber.com/co/good-company/ask-the-board/how-to-encourage-employees-to-share-ideas