3 Ways to Promote a Positive Work Culture in Healthcare

3 Ways to Promote a Positive Work Culture in Healthcare
Marketing Director

A high-pressure culture can further expand some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare organizations: population health, employee disengagement, and voluntary turnover. First, the Triple Aim framework calls for managing population health, including that of healthcare employees. Second, HR is challenged with improving staff engagement to deliver better care patient care. Finally, recent research shows that healthcare experiences higher levels of turnover in comparison to other industries.

“But a large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that not only is a cut-throat environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line,” Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron explain in a 2015 Harvard Business Review article.

Based on the research findings, here are three ways to use the power of positivity to improve your organization’s culture and overcome some of these challenges.  

1. Change the Way You Think to Create New Possibilities

Drama researcher Cy Wakeman, one of this year’s American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) annual conference keynote speakers, offers some advice for making the workplace a more positive environment. According to Wakeman, we should recognize that suffering is optional and that we have a choice when it comes to how we react to our reality.

“Give people the benefit of the doubt, meaning that when you are about to assign negative motive, stop yourself and assign positive motive,” Wakeman suggests in an interview for LEADx. “As a professional, I give people the benefit of the doubt, and it creates new possibilities.”

2. Implement Rounding and Regular “Check-Ins”

Salem Health was awarded a 2015 Press Ganey Success Story Award because of the way the organization built their culture and created positive change. As a result, Salem’s system helped them improve patient satisfaction and decrease patient falls. In order to change their culture, they focused on building regular “check-ins” across the organization, from the highest levels of leadership to clinical staff and patients.

“The strategy was to implement rounding, and to set a new culture at Salem Health that involved leader presence at the place of work,” according to a post on their website. “Across the Salem Health organization, leaders and front-line staff worked together in a coordinated way, solved problems, and increase patient satisfaction and safety.”

3. Focus on Stronger Leadership

Changing an organization’s culture requires the support and buy-in of the leadership team. “The people at the top set the tone for behaviors all the way down the line,” Aileen Wilkins, Chief People Officer at H&R Block, states in an article for SHRM. “Personal agendas have no place in high-performing organizations, and leaders need to make sure this is clear in the minds of their associates.”

Additionally, Wilkins believes HR is responsible for driving the culture, enforcing it, redirecting it and improving it. In this manner, HR leaders have an opportunity to contribute to their organization’s bottom line in a very meaningful way.

An organization’s culture is the foundation to its long-term success, but changing it can be a challenge. By starting with leadership, fostering collaboration across the organization, adopting positive thinking, organizations can improve the workplace culture to one that is more enjoyable and increases productivity.

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