In a recent blog we asked, “What is culture fit, anyway?” The short answer was that:
“Culture” is the way the organization thinks and feels about its purpose and its function and how it goes about solving problems and fulfilling that function.
“Culture Fit” is the concept of defining the behavioral attributes of the workforce that support this culture and identifying people with those attributes.
Knowing this, then, how do we put these concepts in practice to actually build a culture of safety, employee engagement, or a truly patient-centered, service-oriented culture? Some examples:
Starting from Scratch:
We’ve worked on several new hospital start-up projects recently. In each case, an already successful system envisioned a new campus that went above and beyond anything they’d done to build a unique culture – because that culture would drive organizational success.
The senior leaders of each hospital system wanted to take the best of their respective systems but also avoid some of the common cultural challenges of academic medical centers – challenges that often get in the way of a highly collaborative, service-oriented culture.
They built an organization-wide behavioral competency model, going beyond the vague notions of “patient-centered care” to the specific behavioral attributes required for each job family. I specifically recall talking to the Chief Nursing Officer who wanted us to focus less on years of nursing experience and more on innovation, adaptability, and collaboration. She said she never wanted to hear “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” as a reason for anything.
We then worked with them to build a hiring process, looking for these specific attributes (They were different for different job families – because “service-orientation” and “empathy” are important in the C-suite but manifest themselves differently than for a patient care technician). These attributes were baked into the application process, the resume review, the phone screen, live interviews, and healthcare and job-specific personality assessments. We also trained hiring managers about their role in selecting their team, how to analyze all of this data, and on solid, behavioral-based interviewing skills.
In both cases, this attention to culture-based behavioral attributes paid off. Both organizations have the top patient satisfaction and employee engagement scores in their respective systems (and no, this is NOT always the case just because there is a shiny new building!).
Identify and Keep the Right Leaders:
A large, faith-based non-profit system was struggling to create new care delivery models and attend to the business of healthcare while also staying true to its faith-based mission. They were asking a lot of leaders and were losing them faster than they could replace them.
The solution? Define the behavioral attributes required to get the job done today and in the near future, and stick to the all-important mission. Build a deliberate senior leader selection system focused on these attributes and a rigorous on-boarding and coaching program to support each leader. The result? A 50% reduction in leader turnover.
Attract and Retain a Specific Type of Nurse:
Not every nursing position is the same. Unlike hospitals, dialysis providers have staff at thousands of smaller locations. It’s hard to build and maintain a consistent culture when this is the case. This company, though, spends a lot of time and resources on their unique culture because they know it’s the reason for their success. Their efforts to hire nurses who would succeed in this culture were less than ideal.
Again, we worked with them to define what it means to be a successful nurse in this setting. It’s different than a traditional bedside nurse at a hospital, and they provide services across multiple settings – home, clinic, and acute care. We built these attributes into the branding strategy to attract a certain profile of nurse by building a screening process to help candidates to target the right practice setting and then developing a nursing-specific personality assessment and interview process targeting these behaviors. The result? Nurses hired through this process are TWICE as likely to be successful and FIVE times more likely to stay.
Related Webinar: Attract and Retain Nurses to Build You Culture
All of this is part of what we call an “Evidence-Based Hiring” approach – using a deliberate, data-driven approach to improve your odds of choosing the right person during every hiring decision. In these examples, a big focus was not just what attributes predict the ability to do the job, but what attributes contribute to the culture that leaders envision.
Want to learn more about culture and healthcare’s unique challenges? See: