Some hospitals ask us to start our re-design of their hiring processes at the front-line. It’s logical. Front-line staff - nursing, nursing assistants, medical assistants, and patient care technicians spend more time with patients than anyone and drive the patient experience.
A recent LinkedIn survey, though, reminds us that managers and leaders play a critical role in establishing a culture, and that culture and work environment may be more important to employees than anything. Keeping happy and engaged employees impacts the patient experience, and the bottom line. The survey found:
86% of healthcare professionals report that having pride in their employer matters to them.
The biggest factor keeping them in their job is their relationship with their coworkers
Pride is driven, to a large degree, by having a positive impact on society (and a positive workplace culture where they can be themselves (45%).
Atmosphere is valued. The survey found that 84% of healthcare professionals said they would not tolerate a toxic corporate culture — even to work for an industry leader.
The survey also reveals that pride in the organization is tied to strong and inspiring leadership. I’d argue it’s also tied to strong, inspired managers. Leaders set the tone, but you need skilled, motivated managers to implement programs that drive the patient experience and employee engagement.
Related: You Need Managers Who are Leaders
Having a positive culture impacts patient outcomes. Not surprisingly, studies show a connection between workplace culture and mortality rates, failure to rescue, re-admission rates, adverse events/medication transgressions, patient satisfaction, and quality of life. See the 2017 BMJ Journals report.
With all of this in mind, where SHOULD you focus your selection and development efforts? That depends on your specific gaps and needs, but the best organizations are able to make strides at all levels. For instance, if you are struggling with turnover, do you need to make better front-line staff hiring decisions? Perhaps. Certainly, if hiring managers are simply making bad hiring decisions, it will contribute to turnover. But if people are leaving because front-line managers aren’t being supportive and creating a culture where people can feel empowered and take pride in their work, then you need to hire better managers. Similarly, if managers aren’t empowered and supported, then you need to re-think your leadership selection and development efforts.
In summary – you need to do it all. You can’t neglect any level of the organization, but identify the biggest problem and start there.
I’ve have the good fortune to spend most of my career working with healthcare professionals. I’ve also worked with clients in other industries, though, and I’d agree with the LinkedIn survey results. Healthcare workers tend to take great pride in their work and in their organization, including those they work with. Your job is to build a culture where they have something to be proud of, and to support and value that pride. There is no better way to make that happen than in the talent acquisition and talent management teams!