To Build a High-Performance Organization, Start with Culture

If you want to know how well an organization is doing, look no further than its internal culture.

Lee Penrose

In the ever-evolving health care field, culture is everything. At St. Joseph Hoag Health, our culture is founded on shared mission and values that inspire us to be a trusted resource for all, respect the dignity of one another, keep us focused on those most in need, and encourage us to pursue excellence.

These core tenets provide long-term direction as well as day-to-day guidelines for all our interactions. They are also the driver of our performance goals we strive for – excellent quality, a positive patient experience, and strong resource management.

But be aware, cultures don’t form by themselves.  It takes work, especially from the C-suite, which must be highly intentional in articulating and reinforcing values and mission. In weak cultures, events and interactions become random and unfocused. In strong cultures, there is purpose, engagement and a host of positive outcomes.

As it turns out, a strong and engaged culture drives quality. According to a Gallup study of 200 hospitals, nurse engagement is the number one predictor of mortality variation across hospitals. This finding is not surprising. Good cultures engage and inspire employees to push for better care. Employees cannot be motived by exhortations to merely tick off boxes as quality metrics are met. In a strong culture, staff members know that, at its core, their organization stands for stretching itself towards the best possible care and truly bettering patient lives.

As for patient experience, it follows suit that employees engaged in a values-based culture tend to patient needs. Again, some health care organizations push only for metrics, focusing on boosting HCAHPS scores. But the bigger picture lies in furthering a culture of dignity and respect for both patients and one another. Metrics are ephemeral markers compared to a lasting spirit of community and caring.

Better employee…

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