Healthcare organizations have been front-and-centre as we continue to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The stress and pressure on the workers in this industry have been, and continue to be, immeasurable. To emerge as one of the Best Workplaces ™ is no easy feat and the organizations that made the list have shown great leadership and tremendous care for their people. At the same time they’ve built a strong sense of pride, and the way they have managed provides some great insights for businesses across industries as we learn how to create and sustain workplaces that are great FOR ALL.
Care and Safety
Perhaps at no other time in recent history has the care and safety of workers been of preeminent concern. The world stopped and organizations pivoted on a dime in the name of safety, with healthcare being thrust to the forefront. Frontline personnel had to be equipped with PPE, they had to learn new protocols overnight, leaders had to immediately develop and communicate new systems and processes, support staff had to transition to remote work within days – to say this was a challenge is the ultimate understatement.
As testament to how well the Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare responded to the challenge, 94% of their people agree their workplaces are physically safe, and 91% agree people care about each other. That level of endorsement during one of the most difficult years for people in the healthcare industry demonstrates the commitment shown to care and safety. Some ways to incorporate this same commitment in your workplace include:
- Put people first – commit to doing what is right and necessary, tell the truth, be honest and transparent. By building a strong level of trust with your people you establish commitment and loyalty and business success improves as a result.
- Listen – people feel valued when they are confident their leaders are listening to them. Ask questions in a variety of ways (surveys, polls, focus groups, 1-on-1s) and follow up based on what you hear.
- Facilitate caring among employees – peer-to-peer caring is just as important as leadership led. It’s genuine and it creates a strong sense of community that is vitally important when circumstances are difficult.
- Promote healthy living – provide an environment that encourages a healthy balance between work and home life. Support positive lifestyle habits including diet, exercise and mental health exercises, and ensure your team has the resources (physical and human) to complete their work safely.
Respect and Trust
Respect is vital within a high performing workplace and within healthcare specifically. When people feel respected they care for their patients as individuals, they collaborate more, and they are more committed to high quality service. During this past year workplaces have relied on their workers to deliver high quality service in very trying circumstances, often navigating uncharted territory and having to make decisions quickly and with fewer supports.
The Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare have responded by emphasizing trust and respect and their efforts have been greatly appreciated with 92% of employees agreeing they are given a lot of responsibility and 91% saying their manager trusts them to do a good job without watching over their shoulders. Here are some practices you can implement to show your trust in your people:
- Recognize people’s inherent value – commit to recognizing all employees have inherent dignity and value, acknowledge they deserve to be trusted and that you value their contributions. Resist micromanaging and recognize that your people are not easily replaceable.
- Focus on fair treatment – treat people the same no matter their race, religion, age, etc. Remember to be inclusive, ensure people have equal opportunity to engage, discuss, and advance their ideas, and invite all colleagues to meetings, lunches and after work activities.
- Promote collaboration – engage people on their terms by establishing a strong pattern of respectful communication that recognizes individual preferences and strengths. Focus on asking questions and soliciting feedback letting them know you want them to challenge the status quo, to disagree respectfully, and find innovative solutions to problems.
- Recognize and appreciate respect – publicly recognize employees who treat others with respect and dignity and who demonstrate fairness and understanding in how they deal with others. By recognizing this behaviour you cultivate a culture of respect and mutual trust.
With caring, respectful leadership comes a great deal of pride. And when employees are proud they are loyal, they work harder, and they are protective of your brand and the mission. The pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare workers and to build pride in these trying times is a true testament to the supportive culture created in these Best Workplaces™. In fact, 91% of their employees are proud to tell others they work there and 90% feel a sense of pride when they look at what their organization has accomplished. To build pride as part of your culture journey you can start with the following best practices:
- Communicate vision and values – discuss large-scale strategic decisions as well as day-to-day successes and struggles. Help employees connect their work to the overall business direction and performance, and share metrics so they can track their success and see what makes their role integral to the business.
- Provide growth opportunities – when the going gets tough people rise to the challenge. Assess the skills and aptitudes within your people, expand roles to fit employees’ career goals, and continually engage your people with new responsibilities.
- Deal with issues proactively – take steps to remedy issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your decisive action tells your people you respect them and are motivated to find a solution before the issue can cause irreparable damage to the employee-employer relationship.
- Motivate and inspire – people need rewards and recognition to remain content and passionate about both the brand and their position. Look for ways to recognize your people and inspire them to be their best and be happy while at work. A mix of formal reward, informal appreciation and team events that build camaraderie brings people together and strengthens their collective pride in the organization.
Leading great workplaces is a commitment – it means putting people first, dealing with challenges head-on, and relying on your people to step up the challenge when asked. These attitudes demonstrate caring, they emphasize trust in people and they build pride in organizations. The Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare 2021 have done just that, and more, and they have set a great example for industries across the board to be their best and to let their people shine even under the most trying circumstances.
If you’re not already using the Great Place to Work survey, reach out to us to learn about how we can help you improve employee engagement and become eligible for one of our Best Workplaces lists.
About Great Place to Work®
Great Place to Work® is the Global Authority on Workplace Culture. We make it easy to survey your employees, uncover actionable insights and get recognized for your great company culture. Learn more about Great Place to Work Certification.