Building a Supportive Culture

Michael Goebel, the Chief Executive Officer of Parker Adventist Hospital, knows a supportive culture is necessary to create a thriving workplace, especially in healthcare.

Michael digs into how to build and sustain a supportive culture. Michael has worked in the healthcare industry for many years and shares his learnings to help organizations move their people forward.

Truth You Can Act On

1. Prioritize Creating a Supportive Culture

I believe emotional well-being starts with creating a supportive culture. And that starts with leadership. So in healthcare, we have senior leaders, we have directors, we have managers, and I try to build strong relationships with that leadership group because I think if they feel supported that gets translated to our frontline employees. Also, being visible and being a good listener is very important. We have a lot of rounding that happens in our building. I try to round weekly and spend time with our employees. We do things like employee forums. Getting to know our employees is about creating a culture that helps them notice their wellbeing.

2. Incorporate Trust and Transparency

It’s very important to me personally to build a high trust, high transparency culture. It took me a while in my career to figure this out. It’s something you have to demonstrate. You can’t demand it, you can’t ask for it. If you demonstrate things, people will follow. So we spend a lot of time with leadership doing trust-building exercises. I think it never hurts to be genuine and authentic in the way you communicate. Allow people to ask tough questions, whether it’s in employee forums or it’s somebody who stops you in the hallway and asks you a direct question, how you answer that is crucially important. For people to share, to open up, they have to be vulnerable, and if you shut down that vulnerability, they won’t ask again.

3. Know Your Values

Being a values-based leader is really important because it’s really choosing things that exemplify what you stand for and then upholding them. Being a value-based leader is something that helps me sleep well at night. I think having a value-based leadership style also makes me more consistent and predictable. People pretty much know how Mike’s going to respond because of the values I’ve upheld. There’s actually a book that I read recently that was given to me by my daughter, it’s called ‘The Upside of Stress,’ and they actually describe research that shows that when people are in their most stressed state concentrating on their values is actually what helps them deal with stress. So to me, that tells me how important concentration on values is.

4. Listen to Your People’s Needs

We have to watch our caregivers, listen to them, and try to moderate their workload as much as possible. A recent study came out in the last week that says 52% of hospitals in America are losing money. We are in a cost reduction mode in this industry. It’s necessary for the longevity of our industry, but we still have to balance that by listening to our staff and making sure they can still feel like they’ve done a good job when they walk out the door at the end of the day. It’s not rocket science. It is about taking the outcomes of a survey, putting it in front of your employees, developing an action plan, working on that action plan, and if you do those things, engagement will increase. I’ve seen that happen in my career.

Book Recommendation:

Listen to the full episode: 172: Building a Supportive Culture with Michael Goebel and John Levy

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