Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV
One of the strategic initiatives in our 3 year strategic plan involves becoming an “Employer of Choice”. I’ve talked before about how we are trying to invest in our people, how we are trying to hire the right people for the right jobs in our organizations, and how we’re trying to develop succession plans. But, what else should we be doing to realize our vision of being an organization where people want to come to work, to be a “great workplace” to use a term coined by the Gallup organization?
Today, several members of my team and I attended a webinar hosted by the National Council for Behavioral Health entitled “Becoming an Employer of Choice”. The speaker, Holly Green, is CEO of The Human Factor, Inc. She took us through some of the key factors that can lead to a “great workplace”, and some of them made us think about how they are lived out in our organization each day. For instance, one of the attributes of a great workplace is “In the last 7 days, I have received recognition and praise for good work”. How many of us can say we’ve received that recognition and praise? How many of us can say we’ve given that recognition and praise? Another attribute, “The mission and purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important”, was especially timely for me today as I welcomed a new group of employees this morning in our monthly orientation session.
In my welcome, I discuss the mission and values of our organization, and try to express to everyone there how important each of us is in living our mission and values each day regardless of our position within the organization. But do they remember that every day that they work with us? Still another quality of a great workplace, “This last year I have had opportunities to learn and grow”, is one that is so consistent with our strategic imperative of investment in human capital, but I wonder how many of our employees would say that they’ve had this opportunity?
In the webinar, Ms. Green talked about creating a great workplace environment through three steps: inform, inspire, and engage. She talked about focusing on “where we want to go, defining what excellence looks like for our organization, building a winning team, assuring that everyone understands why we exist, how we will behave, what our value is to stakeholders, where we are going, what we need to focus on, how we will get to where we want to be, and what each person needs to do in order to get there”. In thinking through this list, we’ve done a lot of this work already, but the question I asked my team is how have we informed others? Our strategic plan lays out our mission, our core purpose as an organization, our vision of where we are going, and our core values, all of which serve as guideposts for excellence in our organization.
We realized that while our core administrative team and our board who developed the plan may understand these, our department heads, managers, and staff may not. So, as we move forward, first things first—this month in our Department head meetings and our staff meetings, we will focus on making sure everyone understands and feels a connection to the strategic direction of our companies. Only after we have done this can our efforts at inspiring and engaging our workforce be successful. Stay tuned as we convene around the concepts of the employer of choice movement—it will only help us to provide higher quality care to our patients, their families, and our communities.