We've written before about the importance of rallying your company around a single mission to create a good culture. Company culture has become an increasingly important aspect of jobs, not just in healthcare, but across all industries. According to a recent study, employees who are happy at work are 12% more productive, and their happiness is directly tied to the kind of environment their jobs provide.
However, having a great company culture in healthcare is often harder to define than in other traditional companies, especially when it comes to large hospitals. Typically, every department will have its own subculture, and these can vary wildly depending on your location and specialty. Even beyond a specific department, the different groups (physicians, nurses, management, aides, etc.) may also have their own vibe.
While some units may have a positive culture that makes coming to work a pleasure, others have a less welcoming culture, where there might be negative attitudes, bullying, difficult management, or communication issues.
So what happens if you love your duties, but your company culture leaves something to be desired? It’s often said that culture starts from the top down, so what should you do when you’re not in leadership? Do you have the power to influence your unit’s culture?
While it can be intimidating to step up to make changes to your company’s culture, it is possible.
It does take some courage, some discretion, and some creativity, here are a few ideas to get you started.
How to Influence Company Culture in Healthcare
The ideas below may be different at each facility. Think about where you work and what makes the most sense for your company and goals.
Model what you want to see
You’ve probably heard the phrase “be the change you want to see in the world.” While it’s cliche, we think it's true. A hospital’s culture is defined by the attitudes of the staff, so when your attitude is aligned with positive values, you’ll naturally have a more positive culture. For example, if your department suffers from gossip, make it a point not to speak about others behind their backs. You can also be proactive about reaching out to help your coworkers, and work on being a positive influence in your department.
The power of acting in a way that you wish your unit would be like is that others will likely notice what you are doing. With luck, the rest of your coworkers and the leadership team will see what you’re doing, and adopt it for themselves.
If you see something that you think could be a positive change in the workplace, you can gently mention it to your boss during a one-on-one. It's not usually a good idea to bring up changes during public meetings, but instead address your questions and comments to your boss in a more private way.
It will also help if you can think of reasons why the change will be beneficial to the whole unit. For example, if you’re looking to get more transparency from leadership, think about how more transparency will influence your overall department, not just you.
The bottom line is that you can’t sit and wait for positive change to happen. You need to take an active role in shaping your company culture in healthcare into what you want it to be. While leadership has the opportunity to create a culture from the top down, you also have the individual power to make it happen. For example, in his piece “Nursing Workplace Culture: Change Begins with You,” Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC writes that if two nurses decide to take on bullying in their department, they may be able to enact real change. While it isn’t easy, creating a great company culture in healthcare jobs is incredibly worthwhile.
Related post: The complete guide to finding a healthcare job
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