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Healthy Practice Culture: The Impact on Organizational Success
Organizations are always looking for ways to be more successful. Understandably, the metrics used to evaluate success may be financial in nature, which of course are hugely important. However, the most successful businesses not only look at the numbers, but also at what drives those numbers. Let’s dive into how a healthy practice culture can effectively impact business goals and support broader organizational success.
What is a Healthy Practice Culture?
Having a clear definition of healthy practice culture is an essential first step. After all, how can we strive to achieve something if we’re not clear on what the “it” is? A blog post from Management 3.0 defines a healthy culture as one that "acknowledges the shared beliefs, values, standards, and attitudes that best characterize your company’s goals." Most importantly, a healthy culture breeds well-being, happiness, productivity, and achievement. One of my favorite researchers, storytellers, and all-around inspirational gurus, Brené Brown, talks about a healthy culture as one in which people feel “safe, seen, heard, and respected.” Assuming we acknowledge the importance of these qualities, do they really contribute positively to the achievement of our business goals? Let’s take a closer look.
Strong financial performance, optimized productivity and efficiency, and high levels of patient satisfaction are important goals for health care practices. These are directly impacted by employee engagement, well-being, and loyalty — all of which are results of healthy practice culture.
Employee engagement. When employees feel connected to the organization’s purpose (mission, vision, values, and goals), their engagement and satisfaction directly impacts their productivity. Think about it … who works at their best when they simply show up and go through the motions? Most, if not all of us, want to feel connected to something bigger, that we have a purpose, and feel energized and engaged to do our jobs well. Studies conducted by the Queen's School of Business and the Gallup organization found that organizations with low employee engagement scores experienced the dynamics illustrated in Figure 1 (below).
Employee well-being. Cultures that strive to minimize workplace stress and promote a sense of well-being in turn create higher levels of employee health, satisfaction, and productivity. Did you know?
Employee loyalty. Loyalty can be defined as a strong feeling of support or allegiance. It can mean loyalty to all things related to the practice or to feel a high sense of obligation and responsibility to uphold the organization’s core values. When the workplace culture is not encouraging a strong degree of employee loyalty, there are likely to be unintended, cascading effects. Are you surprised to know?
It’s easy to see how a healthy practice culture can impact organizational success and, conversely, how a practice culture that is not grounded in some of these key principles can be detrimental to employees and costly to the organization. The million-dollar question then is, “What do we do about it?” The most important ingredient to create and promote a healthy practice culture is leadership. Every successful organization with a healthy culture and a team of happy, satisfied, and engaged employees also has effective, engaged, and authentic leaders.
Curious to learn more about what leaders can do to build a healthy practice culture? Next week, part two of this blog will discuss how leaders can optimize their own strengths, work on blind spots and opportunities, and be the best version of a leader they can be — for themselves and their organization.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: View our on-demand webinar "Healthy Leadership: Put Your Mask on First" to assess and promote your well-being, so you can be the best leader for your practice and team.