There’s an old adage – actions speak louder than words. But when you think about it, your organizational culture speaks louder than any ad, annual report, or mission statement. It’s your culture that shapes employee behaviors, determines which processes are implemented and whether or not you are patient-centered or provider centered. For simplicity sake, let’s define culture as “how things are done around here.” That definition is the reality that shapes your customer experience during every touch point or moment of truth along the patient experience pathway. Whether by design or default your culture shapes the patient experience. Your culture is behind the behaviors that your employees elicit, because it’s the culture that will determine if behaviors are tolerated, reinforced, or eliminated.
If you want to improve the patient experience, you’ve got to take an honest look at the culture. Has your organization defined a vision for the culture? Does it recognize employees who go above and beyond when needed? Does the culture tolerate mediocre performance and bad attitudes? You may say, “Of course we don’t tolerate bad attitudes.” But the truth is that many leaders turn a blind eye to bad behavior due to loyalty, friendship, fear, or staffing problems. And when even one poor performer slips through the cracks, it leaves a mark on the culture.
The most successful, patient-centered organizations create the patient experience by design, rather than accepting the status quo. How will you design the future?