With the ongoing shortage of nurses and other important healthcare professionals, many organizations are working to boost their ability to retain workers. And one of the chief strategies for doing so is improving a company’s culture — a task that’s easier said than done! With that in mind, here’s a look at a few key strategies for creating a more positive corporate culture in healthcare settings.
6 Strategies for Creating a More Positive Corporate Culture in Healthcare
Strategy #1: Start at the Top
Over and over again, experts tell us that a truly positive corporate culture in healthcare — or anywhere else, for that matter — is a top-down matter. That makes the leadership team the most important ambassadors of that culture. So, the first step in implementing positive change is to get them on board.
“Managers provide the first step of setting expectations for employees’ perceptions of the workplace,” write the authors of a clinical study on nurse retention published in Gerontologist. “Although facility managers made a difference in how they treat employees, the cultural environment they create goes beyond their style of relationship building and persists even when they are not visibly present.”
“Toxic leaders have a negative and disproportionate effect on the culture,” writes CultureX co-founder Charlie Sull at MarketWatch. “Identifying who your toxic leaders are and addressing that behavior is critical to building a less toxic culture.”
Strategy #2: Focus on Compassion & Support
The Covid-19 pandemic hit nurses and other clinicians who work directly with patients particularly hard. Many are still feeling the effects of burnout and compassion fatigue. And workers who are simply going through the motions every day instead of really engaging with their jobs create additional problems that could affect the patient experience, outcomes and quality of care.
There are a number of ways to help provide for the wellbeing of your workers at this important time.
- Provide a more positive work/life balance by offering freer, more flexible scheduling and vacation time or sabbaticals.
- Offer on-site perks like free snacks, a new break room or by organizing group activities.
- Offer professional support by providing on-site mental health services for workers.
- Offer recognition to workers who have gone above and beyond, or when they reach certain milestones or anniversaries.
Strategy #3: Offer Extra Help for New Nurses
Nurses who newly licensed may experience greater levels of stress. Retention of newly licensed RNs has challenged the healthcare industry for years, with a number of studies focused on working out the exact reason. And, while responsibility for this trend may rest partially on the school experience, there can be little doubt that a positive culture will retain these workers more effectively than a negative one.
While it’s important to treat all workers with equality, it may be a good idea to double-check how newer nurses — or even new staff members — are adjusting to their roles. And creating “a structured, clinical immersion RN residency” for these new nurses is an even better strategy for retaining them past their first year, according to the authors of a 10-year study on the topic published in Nursing Economics.
Strategy #4: Re-assess Your Organizational Culture
Organizational culture is a common stumbling block in healthcare settings. The disconnect between administrative leadership and clinical workers can be stark in some organizations, with decisions being made by the former and then followed by the latter — sometimes begrudgingly, especially when they’re not involved in the decision-making process.
To offset this problem, many organizations are now adding nurse managers or other clinical representatives to their strategic meetings. Others are offering resources, scripts and tools that effectively communicate the company’s shared vision to both administrators and clinical workers, in a way they can easily process and understand — and can respond to, and comment upon, if they so choose.
Strategy #5: Update Your Employee Code of Conduct
Central to the success of any business is its core mission and values. And many healthcare organizations communicate these ideas through an employee handbook, or code of conduct. In addition to offering a resource for all of a company’s rules and guidelines, this document also lets employees know how to behave in certain situations, and what’s expected of them while they’re on the job.
If your organization offers workers a formalized list of company rules and guidelines, consider revising it to emphasize the above principals, as well as to promote a more positive culture in general. Try to avoid negative, prohibitive words and focus instead on language that’s affirming and reassuring. And through it all, make sure that workers understand that they’re valued and supported in every aspect of their job.
Strategy #6: Partner with a Proven Workforce Solutions Provider
Another reliable way to keep your full-time workers happy and content in their jobs is by relieving the burden of excessive work with contingency workers, or other clinical workforce services. Temp or travel nurses can help fill in during busy times, reducing the risk of burnout for regular workers. They can also fill in while other employees take sabbaticals, vacation breaks or maternity leave.
At CareerStaff, our mission is to help provide the nation’s healthcare employers with everything they need to provide great patient care. And we understand better than most how important workers and culture are to that mission! With that in mind, we’ve assembled a comprehensive lineup of healthcare staffing, managed services and other workforce solutions to help employers meet this important goal.
Partner with a Leading Healthcare Workforce Solutions Provider
If you’re looking for help implementing improvements in your clinical workforce strategies, we’re standing by to help! Contact us today to learn more about our workforce solutions, or submit a staffing request here.