In healthcare, culture speaks louder than words

We’ve all heard it said that actions speak louder than words. But when you think about it; your organizational culture speaks louder than any ad, recruitment brochure, annual report or mission statement. It’s your culture that drives employee behaviors, determines which processes are implemented, and whether you are truly human-centered.

For simplicity sake, let’s define culture as “how things are really done around here.”  That definition is the reality that shapes your customer experience during every touch point or moment of truth along the experience pathway.  It’s the reality that defines how employees treat one another and how doctors interact with patients and staff.

Whether by design or default, your culture shapes the human experience.  Your culture shapes employee behaviors, because it’s the culture that will determine if behaviors are tolerated, reinforced, rewarded, or eliminated.

If you want to improve the experience for both patients and employees, healthcare leaders need to examine the culture first. An employee may be attracted to your organization through recruitment efforts, but are you an organization where people feel valued and want to stay? Does your leadership have a shared vision for the culture? Is there conscious recognition of employees as individuals? How are people who go above and beyond recognized?

It’s easy to draft words on paper and title them your mission, vision and values. It is much more difficult to bring the words to life through consistent, non-negotiable behaviors. To achieve the desired culture you must question everything through the values lens. Where are you now and where does the organization need to be in the future? Sit in waiting areas and observe interactions and environment. Watch how staff and physicians treat one another. Your culture drives all of these things.  But you can shift the culture by design.

The most successful, organizations create the human experience by design, rather than accepting the status quo.  Think “experience by design not default.”  And by all means, don’t make promises in your ads or in other communication vehicles without first questioning if you are ready to deliver on the promise at every point along the experience pathway. Your culture speaks louder than words.

Tags: , , ,

Subscribe to our Articles and stay up to date on leadership practices, employee engagement, retention, and service excellence.

Submit your information below to start receiving our Baird Group articles.