Organizational Culture in Healthcare: Why It Matters 

Perspective from Andrew Limouris, Founder, President, and CEO, Medix

Healthcare is arguably one of the most fulfilling industries to work in. It’s also one of the toughest. It is an ever-changing mix of joy, disappointment, and 24/7 stress. Such realities make organizational culture in healthcare vital. 

The healthcare industry includes corporations, hospitals, and other organizations whose business practices, policies, and procedures are continuously scrutinized. Those who depend on them expect them to consistently “do the right thing,” and in healthcare, missing that mark can cost vast amounts of money and even lives. 

For healthcare, organizational culture means combining elements to generate part-form, part-function environments. The form might include attractive and accessible facilities where the functions of effective methods and processes are applied safely, consistently, and equitably. It means respect and safe spaces for patients, coworkers, families, care providers, and administrators. 

Healthcare’s need for thoughtful, responsive, dynamic organizational culture coincides with years-long industry challenges, including provider burnout, staff shortages, and heightened cybersecurity threats. 

Healthcare can be a scary ride, making organizational culture an increasingly crucial element in keeping the industry and the public safe and well.  

Breaking it Down Before Building it Up

Culture is a crowning jewel in Medix’s core purpose of positively impacting lives. For us, it means putting people first—our teammates and their families, the talent we place as a healthcare and IT staffing company, our customers, and our community.

Before delving into the arguments supporting culture in healthcare, here’s a breakdown of how and where Medix applies culture:

  • Ensuring that the talent we place and the needs of the organizations in which we place that talent mesh and that the solutions we provide position everyone to achieve 
  • Focusing on employee engagement and DEI efforts, such as our Impact Groups (sometimes called employee resource groups by other companies) 
  • Giving back to our communities through philanthropy and offering our teammates paid days of service so that they can volunteer for causes that are important to them
  • Offering compensation packages that reflect, to the best of our ability, the level of work, skills, and brainpower our internal teammates generate every day
  • Rewarding and recognizing our teammates’ contributions and achievements
  • Supporting our internal staff through upskilling, career development, and mentoring

Lead by Example 

Culture is a top-down, bottom-up phenomenon where anyone from any level within the organization can leave their own mark. But the responsibility for setting the tone and maintaining momentum starts at the top. 

As company leaders, it’s on us to set an example. It’s on us to take the low-key actions few people see – along with the splashier ones, like being the first volunteer for the dunk tank at the company picnic. 

It means showing up at as many river cleanups, 5K fundraisers, and school-sponsored career days as possible, especially when your organization is connected to these causes. 

It means sharing honest, transparent communication and collaborating with all levels and disciplines within the company. 

Pay Attention to Your Surroundings 

It’s common for people to say, “Pay attention to your surroundings,” but it applies to organizational culture in a different way. 

Workplace surroundings are powerful influences on mood, energy levels, and creativity. Maybe signage reminding teammates of mission statements or the importance of self-care would be a good call.  

Healthcare Culture Within Healthcare Culture 

Organizations looking to up their corporate culture IQ should acknowledge the multiple cultures existing within them that aren’t necessarily tied to ethnicity, race, disability, religion, LGBTQIA+, and other cultural identities that might leap to mind.

Professional backgrounds can also form distinct cultural identities. For example, nurses and doctors develop shared ways of thinking, communication styles, and unique experiences within the healthcare setting. This applies to most professions, each fostering its own cultural aspects.

Within healthcare specifically, consider the cultural nuances between:

  • Behind-the-scenes roles: Billing specialists, HR representatives, lab technicians, and clerical staff often share distinct perspectives and experiences.
  • Frontline roles: Nurses and doctors typically navigate a different set of challenges and priorities, shaping their cultural identity within the healthcare system.

These diverse cultures are equally valid and significantly influence the attitudes and outlooks of their members.  It’s crucial for any organizational culture initiative to encompass and value them all.

Why Else? 

Culture is vital in healthcare and starts at the top. It positively impacts teammates and hopefully everyone those teammates encounter. It can flow out into the community in the form of philanthropy, give a bump to the bottom line through productivity, engagement, and retention, and build goodwill to help organizations through rough patches in finance and PR. Given the complexities and sheer volume of moving parts in healthcare, acknowledging, supporting, and building an organizational culture is essential. 

The fact that it feels good, too, is another bonus. 

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