One of the most important elements of a company’s success is also one of the least tangible —culture.
Does the environment at your organization help employees thrive and grow, or does it drive dysfunction and put your organization at risk?
“The right culture can help an individual grow and become the best version of themselves,” says Ngo. “But the wrong fit can lead to high turnover and prove highly disruptive to an organization, including the potential of financial costs.”
Setting the right tone can be challenging, particularly as the pandemic has upended the workplace. We spoke to Ngo about why culture is so important and what organizations can do to foster a positive environment for their workforce, even in challenging times.
What are some key strategies that healthcare facilities can use to create a healthy workplace culture for staff?
“An organization’s culture should foster collaboration and trust and help align everyone to the same mission of improving patient care,” says Ngo. “Promoting a shared goal of delivering an excellent patient experience can be highly impactful."
Culture begins from the top down and is driven by strong leadership with an emphasis on work life balance. “It’s important that staff members are taking time to unplug and connect with family and loved ones outside of work,” says Ngo.
Leadership must also create a solid support structure for staff members. They must consistently provide access to the resources their employees need to get their jobs done and to overcome any obstacles that may arise. A key approach to supporting their staff members is having a strategic workforce solution in place and working with a trusted partner.
“If you’re not having regular transparent communication with your employees, then it’s hard to have your finger on the pulse of how people are doing,” says Ngo. “Conversations must be regular and candid, and leadership should be visible and available.” While meetings conducted by using remote technology are effective, there’s no substitute for face-to-face interactions where this is possible, he says.
How can you determine that a nurse or staff member is a good culture fit?
“It is imperative to make sure that nurse and staff member values are aligned with your facility’s mission and vision. A multistep interview process, which incorporates both peer and leadership representation, is a powerful tool in assessing candidate fit with the culture and dynamics of the facility and patient care unit,” says Ngo.
The peer interview process helps to foster a culture of engagement and ownership. This empowers team members by providing a voice and ensuring alignment with leadership.
How does culture fit positively affect medical facilities financially?
“A healthy culture is a key driver of employee engagement. Leadership must be intentional when focusing on building an inspiring culture. Failure to do so may often lead to high employee turnover,” says Ngo. Turnover is costly, so making investments to improve the work environment truly does pay off. “We have very low turnover among our clinician travelers at Medical Solutions,” says Ngo. This is largely attributed to the open lines of communication our company has established with those staff members. Proactively checking in with them on a regular basis ensures that the job is a good fit and helps address potential problems early.
Certainly, maintaining a cohesive organizational culture has gotten more challenging due to the pandemic.
“We’ve been making changes and adapting to the new environment,” says Ngo. “We’re still transitioning as we figure out the optimal approach and what will be most effective in terms of collaboration and teamwork.”
The pandemic has changed the way many organizations do business. But, whatever changes they make, organizations should aim to stay true to their own core values.
“Medical Solutions has done really well in handling the pandemic and bringing solutions to our health system clients,” says Ngo. Keeping close tabs on performance metrics helps to chart a clear course.
“We focus on our completion rate which, at 95%, has consistently remained above the industry average, and on maintaining our high fill rate. We also track the time it takes to fill positions and time to start, in addition to conducting quarterly business reviews with our partners. These are examples of the consultative strategic value we provide to our customers,” says Ngo.
A culture of open communication also helps to foster strong client relationships, he says.
“Medical Solutions is really focused on taking a consultative approach with our clients,” says Ngo. “Our goal is to be a strategic, integrated partner to the health systems.”
In the end, a strong culture is about relationships and building close ties with your employees through effective leadership, empowerment and communication. Employees need to have a clear vision of what they’re working towards and know that their efforts to achieve those goals are valued and appreciated. Because workplace environment plays an outsized role in any organization’s success, putting time and resources into developing a healthy culture is always a worthwhile investment.