In any organization, culture is critical to its success. Culture matters because a positive work environment can help reduce some of the stress that healthcare workers experience. But for healthcare workers, how much weight should they place on the environment they will work in? How should culture affect your hiring decision? Our answer: Culture matters more than you might think.
Why Organizational Culture Matters?
Organizational culture represents a shared sense of behaviors and feelings in our work environment. While there are silos of subcultures within most large organizations, there is often a shared environment that permeates the entire organization. In most all instances, a great culture and work environment translates in higher quality patient care along with superior patient satisfaction.
Many times, we equate culture with the kind of Silicon Valley startups we see on the news featuring ping pong tables and a relaxed, fun environment. Of course, that isn’t always appropriate in a healthcare environment. Having a professional culture of caring in a healthcare facility is critical to providing better patient care. But it can also keep staff engaged and retain them longer on the job.
What culture is the most effective at engaging staff in hospitals, medical practices, and community health facilities? One that is supportive and appreciative, hardworking, and fulfilling with great communication at all levels of the organization.
In our experience, culture is particularly important to physicians and nurses in the healthcare field. Physicians in particular deal with an incredibly pressure-driven environment when they are in medical school. Within this stressful, fast-paced, competitive environment lies the realization that the decisions these clinicians make impact people’s lives. Then there is the pressure of all of the paperwork they must learn in order to do the job. For nurses, just the constant tension of the beeping and buzzing of alarming is stressful enough. Don’t even get us started on how the pandemic affected our clinical and administrative teams over the past year!
The problem with stressful work culture in healthcare is that it can negatively affect healthcare outcomes. We all know that burnout is a huge problem in healthcare. Burnout leads to medical mistakes, which is also a significant problem in the United States.
All of these issues are impacted by work culture. Healthcare leaders must create the kind of culture that supports the health of both their workforce and the patients they serve. A negative culture exacerbates high turnover on staff, which is hugely costly; healthcare organizations lose millions every year on clinical and administrative staff turnover. But if healthcare organizations focus on improving culture, many issues may be solved.
What Kind of Culture Should You Look for?
So, should culture matter in your job-hunting decisions? We believe the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” The statistics also back us up:
- 86% of organizations report culture and engagement are their two top issues.
- 87% of engaged employees say they’re less likely to leave their organization.
For job seekers in the healthcare field, if you’re looking for the right organizational culture fit, look for practices that:
- Are provider centric and demonstrate appreciation for their teams. Make sure to ask questions about how the organization supports and shows caring for their nurse and physician teams.
- Are patient centric and view patients beyond their medical record number. When the organization cares about the patient as a person, this value matches the value of the provider and creates meaning behind their work.
- Measure and award staff at all levels for outstanding performance, care, and caring.
- Develop and achieve key metrics both for patients and staff. Look for organizations that achieve great things in a positive, caring environment.
At UHC Solutions we understand the value of culture fit. If you haven’t yet found your professional home, please talk with our team. We can help.