Listen to Moments Move Us Season 2 Episode 6: Why Healthcare is the Ultimate Team Sport with Linda McHugh
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New Podcast Episode: Why Healthcare is the Ultimate Team Sport with Linda McHugh
Are you treating your company values like a checkbox or another item on your long list of to-dos? Although most companies have core values, not everyone understands their importance or knows how to ingrain them into company culture. For healthcare organizations, we’ll look at the importance of company values and their impact on team members and retention. We’ll also demonstrate how Wambi helps healthcare organizations bring their values to the forefront.
Company values are the heart of organizational culture and vision. As a North Star, these beliefs shape the direction and goals for your organization and drive your business forward. They help strengthen the brand and keep everyone aligned on the company mission.
While values should be authentic to your company, there are often common values for healthcare organizations including: Authenticity, Care, Courage, Connection, Collaboration, Creativity, Compassion, Diversity, Excellence, Integrity, Patient-Centered, Reliability, Respect, Responsibility, Safety, Teamwork, and Trust.
The core values selected say a lot about a company and set the tone for your organization. For example, if a company values teamwork and collaboration, you would anticipate working closely with your peers and leaders. You would also expect the company to encourage building relationships and working together to achieve goals.
Values also provide an opportunity to set your company apart from your competition. Sixty-three percent of consumers want goods and services from companies with a purpose that resonates with their values and belief systems. Therefore, when a patient decides where to seek treatment, the majority will want to find a company that aligns with their values and avoid ones that don’t.
While companies must live their values, not nurturing core values also makes a considerable impact. Values that are not well-defined or well-integrated are simply hollow words that will not resonate with employees. Values, like a company mission, are the center of who your organization is. If you misidentify this, it breeds mistrust. It can also make employees feel they are working for an organization that is not genuine. That is why it is essential to weave values into all aspects of your company and continuously bring them to the forefront of your organization.
As the focal point of organizational culture, strong values impact team members and their careers at the organization. Values are the guiding principles of the organization and convey its purpose. For most healthcare organizations, this purpose was to help patients in need. Connecting to this purpose reminds healthcare workers why they chose their profession. Without incorporating the patient voice, healthcare organizations with core values centered on patient care are missing a primary way their employees feel validated for their efforts. Wambi’s unique patient engagement solution empowers patients and families to share real-time, anonymous feedback and gratitude for those involved in their care experience. By collecting these positive stories and appreciation in the moment, Wambi helps uplift team members and builds a culture of gratitude that illuminates your organization’s core values.
Strong company values also demonstrate the company’s goals for the future. Values help anticipate how a company will react to change, giving employees a better understanding of their career trajectory.
The impact that core values have on the retention of healthcare talent begins before the candidate even signs onboard. That’s because, when searching for jobs, values play an important role in first impressions of companies. People want to work where they feel they belong. One important way to feel this desired connection is through shared values and priorities. Recent research shows that one of the top reasons employees leave an organization is because they do not feel a sense of belonging.
Working for a company that shares your beliefs will also help you align on decision making. “From the first interview to the last day of work, employees should be constantly reminded that core values form the basis for every decision the company makes.” (Harvard Business Journal, 2003) If an organization values authenticity and respect, its leaders should respect your authentic opinion when making difficult decisions. Ensuring your team feels seen, heard, and appreciated will go a long way towards improving retention.
You have probably heard the saying, “People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.” We all want honest and authentic leaders who deliver on their promises. A leader who does not live up to company values will undermine the credibility of the organization. However, a leader who promotes the values in what they say and do will build a more authentic connection with their team. For many healthcare organizations, Wambi has become a place where leaders feel comfortable sharing personal stories. By breaking down barriers and shortening the distance between leaders and frontline workers, these individuals can show how they embrace company values.
Each year in early October, Wambi celebrates its founding, affectionately named the “Wambiversary.” We recognize the healthcare workers who inspired its creation, the dedicated team members who invested in the mission from the very beginning, and the core values that provided the foundation for success. Wambi’s five core values are:
Values have always been the core of the Wambi culture and the essence of who the team is: fearless, entrepreneurial leaders with a collective mission to improve the human experience within healthcare. We are inspired and driven by the power of gratitude, and our vision to foster positive workplace cultures starts with us. Encouraging our team to practice and live by our values empowers us to grow our gifts and feel connected to our purpose. We use them as a lens through which we approach every interaction to drive human connection at every level, within our team, with our clients, in our communities, and with our platform.
During a blind survey conducted in 2022 by Inc. Best Places to Work, one team member at Wambi shared, “Wambi is the only company I have ever interacted with that actually lives its company values every day [and where company values] are demonstrated at all levels of the organization.”
Because our connection to values is an essence of our culture, we understand how important it is for your health system to focus on values. As such, the Wambi platform incorporates your goals and values. Wambi’s recognition and culture transformation solution gives leaders and team members the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate examples of employees who have positively demonstrated core values. When sending a note of gratitude and recognition, known as a Wambi, you can choose which of your organization’s values best aligns with the message.
For example, if “Collaboration” is a company value and you witness a challenging situation that requires your team to come together to solve a problem, you can celebrate the group and share your gratitude for their dedication to collaboration by sending a Wambi. This acknowledgment is seen on the Wambi newsfeed, reminding team members of their company values and motivating them to put them into action.
This is just the beginning of how Wambi helps bring your values to the forefront. Interested in learning more? During a personalized demo, we can share ways the Wambi platform is customizable to fit the needs of your healthcare system and how you can see your values in action. Request a demo today.
During a recent virtual learning episode from Health Data Management and KLAS Research, Wambi’s CEO and Co-Founder Rebecca Coren met with Sparrow Health’s Michael Zaroukian, MD, Ph.D., to discuss ways care teams can foster positive cultures amidst the compounding effects of the pandemic by tapping into the power of moments. Throughout the 3-part series “The Power of Positivity,” we’ve taken a closer look at this session while providing added insight and details. In Part 1 we explored how positivity helps improve outcomes and solve challenges and in Part 2 we shared how practicing gratitude can help you be more positive. In our final segment, we look at how gratitude from patients and family members makes a positive impact on hospital culture.
In this article, you will learn:
Healthcare is mission-driven work. Our healthcare workforce chose their profession with a desire to heal and serve people. It is these people (patients), that motivate and inspire tired and disheartened healthcare workers to keep going even when times are difficult.
“One thing that ties every single professional who works in healthcare together is impacting the patient and family member,” shared Wambi’s CEO and Co-Founder Rebecca Coren. “That’s why we’re all in this. This is a relationship and people business of helping care for people [in] their most vulnerable [moments].”
Millions of positive moments are shared between people in healthcare every day. However, our tendency is to focus on the negative. When we repeatedly ignore the special moments of human connection shared, even the most purpose-driven healthcare workers can become demoralized, disengaged, and overwhelmed by burnout. Without the patient voice, healthcare workers are missing the primary way to feel validated for their efforts.
Michael Zaroukian, MD, Ph.D., VP, and CMIO at Sparrow Health believes we are missing, “…the care for our caregivers, the gratitude and appreciation of our patients, and the need to create virtuous cycles of gratitude… That has been, many times, the missing ingredient and what we circle back to when we think of all the strategic things we do. How do we make sure we aren’t missing what matters most to patients, caregivers, and each other?”
For healthcare workers, recognition and gratitude can be even more meaningful and motivating when it comes directly from patients and families. By connecting to purpose and harnessing the power of the patient voice, healthcare facilities can transform their culture and impact both the patient experience and the caregiver experience.
The ‘Great Resignation,’ the ‘Great Attrition,’ the ‘Great Discontent,’ the ‘Great Reshuffle,’ the ‘Great Regret’ … the list of names continues. While we may not agree on what to call it, the consistent message is that the workforce is burnt out and disengaged. In fact, according to Gallup, only 36% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work and workplace.
During Wambi’s Humans at Work in Healthcare panel discussion, leaders across the country shared how engagement plays a critical role in their hospital systems. Paula Pritzl, Chief Human Resources Officer at Marshfield Health Clinic System shared, “Our [focus] is engagement and having our managers and our leaders engaged with our workforce.” All panelists agreed that one essential component to keeping team members engaged is to help them reconnect with their purpose, the reason they joined the healthcare industry. One way to do this is by reflecting on moments of connection.
Reflecting on the moments that make a difference and sharing those stories with others is powerful. During Moments Move Us Episode 5, Dr. Anita Girard, Chief Nursing Officer for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, shared how she encourages her team to do this. “I think people always think it has to be some big act, but it’s the simplistic micro-practices of pulling up a chair next to the bedside, getting at eye level, using a soothing voice tone, connecting with your eyes…The human face is so beautiful! So yes, I think it’s all the small things, and in my own philosophy, we pay too much attention to the big things. Those [big things] are all great and wonderful, but it’s the every day, every moment things that really, truly matter.”
Zane Zumbahlen, Chief Human Resources and Talent Officer at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, recognizes the impact that these moments of connection can have on a healthcare provider. “These are the things that matter: how do we open up our heart, how do we connect in a real way, how do we use those moments to fuel us and to fight and combat fatigue?”
People working in healthcare have always had unique recognition needs, and the pandemic magnified and further complicated these demands.
“There has never been a more difficult time to be in healthcare,” Coren shared. “For the people that are still here, this is our calling. We’re here for a reason and we need to be tapped back into our connection to our purpose. And if there’s a way to feel more connected to our purpose, we’re going to do it. And once we do it, we’re going to feel so much better.”
The fear, uncertainty, isolation, and grief caused by the pandemic have led many people to reexamine what gives our life meaning. Work can be one way to find purpose, and as a leader, you can help ensure every team member understands how their work can improve the organization and society. One essential way to do this is to remind caregivers of the impact they make.
During Moments Move Us Episode 7, Chief People Executive at Hallmark Health Care Solutions Michelle Sanchez-Bickley shared, “The burnout is real, so now the conversation is, ‘How do we reconnect hearts and minds and the aspiration of why you came into healthcare in the first place,’ reminding everyone that they do get to make a difference every day.”
Gratitude from patients and families that is individualized and in the moment is the most meaningful and motivating recognition a healthcare worker can receive. An RN at Hackensack Meridian Health shared, “Whenever I receive the Wambi posts with the positive reactions and/or comments from patients, I am very grateful that my service made an impact in their lives.”
For more ways you can help your employees find meaning and purpose, download Wambi’s Healthcare Retention Whitepaper.
Throughout their time of care, patients and their family members are impacted by countless healthcare workers; however, keeping track of the people who cared for them is difficult and figuring out how to personally thank them is even harder. Wambi’s unique patient engagement solution empowers patients and families to share real-time, anonymous feedback and gratitude for those involved in their care experience. By collecting these positive stories and appreciation in the moment, Wambi helps uplift team members and improve patient experience.
Coren shared, “At Wambi, we empower patients and family to share recognition and gratitude at the point of care [for the] individuals that they have interacted with. And that individual real-time recognition is incredibly powerful. It fills people up not just for a second but rather, ‘wow, I made a difference today in the way that I wanted to.’ That recognition can go a long way.”
When patients can voice their gratitude in the moment, it has a lasting impact on the care team. Reviewing recognition from patients connects the care team back to their purpose and motivates them to continue to provide an exceptional experience. Demonstrating that when employee engagement increases, so does patient satisfaction.
Wambi’s impact was evident when a 210-bed urban hospital in New Jersey collected over 4,000 reviews and more than 2,000 comments from patients and families. This process provided the hospital with details that allowed leaders to address patient concerns in real time, leading to a 23% decrease in patient complaints.
Now more than ever, it is crucial for healthcare leaders to enable opportunities for positive connections between their team members and patients and families that are mutually beneficial to the well-being of both parties. Utilizing a recognition system that uniquely supports and understands the joys and challenges of working in healthcare will result in a more connected, purpose-driven workforce, elevating a culture of gratitude and belonging that benefits all.
Download the Recognition Buyer’s Guide to see how Wambi’s unique recognition platform can inspire lasting change for your healthcare workforce. Download today!
During a recent virtual learning episode from Health Data Management and KLAS Research, Wambi’s CEO and Co-Founder Rebecca Coren Metter met with Sparrow Health’s Michael Zaroukian, MD, Ph.D., to discuss ways care teams can foster positive cultures amidst the compounding effects of the pandemic by tapping into the power of moments. We are taking a closer look at this session while providing added insight and details throughout the 3-part “Power of Positivity.”
We explored how positivity helps improve outcomes and solve challenges in Part 1. In Part 2, you will learn:
In Part 1 of the “Power of Positivity”, we looked at how creating awareness of what is going well in your life, positive emotions, positive relationships, and well-being combine to enable you to thrive. But how do we get to the positive when things are so tough? By practicing gratitude.
Research shows that reflecting and regularly expressing gratitude regularly leads to improved immune function, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, better sleep, and even faster recovery from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Living a life of gratitude gives you hope, strength, energy, wisdom, and the serenity to meet life’s many challenges.
Wambi’s CEO and Co-Founder Rebecca Coren Metter shares, “By practicing gratitude, we build a muscle of strengthening relationships. Gratitude is something we can all practice pretty easily and it is a gateway emotion into joy, positivity, and compassion.”
Think back to the first time you wrote a thank you note. For many, it was likely when you were a young child first learning how to write. Maybe it came after a birthday, celebration, or holiday. You may have also received a fill-in-the-blanks card with prompts similar to this:
Thank you so much for the [Item]! It made me feel [Emotion]. I think it is [Adjective].
Thank you so much for the [Item]! It made me feel [Emotion]. I think it is [Adjective].
As we grow up, we continue to develop skills to share gratitude and experience the joy of being appreciated. We learn the importance of this practice and how to harness it effectively to impact our relationships.
“Practicing gratitude is a very low entry point because we all know how to do it,” says Metter. “If we look at ‘Find-Remind-and-Bind’ [from Dr. Sara B. Algoe] Gratitude helps us to find the good that’s happening in our lives. It reminds us, many times, that the good lives in relationships that we have with other people. It allows us to bind us with the people that are the source of goodness, and that binding builds the relationship.” Focusing on gratitude for the people we interact with daily impacts our relationships, helping us maintain and grow them through recognition and appreciation.
Understanding that healthcare workers have limited time to dedicate to practicing gratitude, how do you make it fun, easy, impactful, and something they want to do? With Wambi.
“Everybody knows how to express gratitude,” says Michael Zaroukian, MD, Ph.D., VP and CMIO at Sparrow Health. “Everybody knows how to feel gratitude. It doesn’t take more than a second to even bring it to mind and begin to do it. Wambi has found super easy ways that people already are inclined to use to express gratitude and that creates a viral appreciation network. That I think is what can help turn a struggling organization around.”
By bringing compassion to the forefront of the human experience, Wambi’s innovative recognition platform creates the framework for a culture of gratitude. Healthcare workers receive and share personalized recognition from peers and patients to help them realize the impact they make each day.
As a Wambi client, William Distanislao, VP of Operations at Raritan Bay/Old Bridge Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Health, knows the power of gratitude in a health system. He shares, “When you recognize a team member using Wambi, you and the team member immediately feel proud, gratified, and happy. There’s a human connection that creates a shared bond and ultimately transforms a culture and an organization.”
With a framework for a culture of gratitude in place, healthcare organizations can continue to build upon a cycle of gratitude. During Moments Move Us: Episode 4 Seeling is Healing, Cassandra Crowe-Jackson, Chief Experience Officer at Sharp HealthCare alludes to this cycle sharing, “How many times do you get a thank you card for your thank you card? Because we’re just starved for [gratitude.] People are so shocked to be thanked that you get a thank you for your thank you.” When receiving positivity people want to pay it forward and give that good to others. Wambi is built on this cycle of giving and receiving recognition and gratitude, creating an overflow effect into every aspect of work. Zaroukian says, “When [gratitude] starts to pervade your meetings and your organization, we believe it creates a virtuous cycle where people feel safe where they work, they feel like they belong, and they really start to see a future together.”
When team members feel uplifted and inspired by gratitude and recognition, it creates an authentic sense of belonging, a leading reason individuals decide to stay or leave an organization. As health systems face retention challenges, it is more important now than ever that every member of their team feels seen, respected, and more connected.
While recognition from peers and leaders is vital to an organization, there is an additional opportunity for healthcare workers to receive meaningful gratitude: from patients and their families. Created as a cultural transformation solution in an inpatient hospital setting, Wambi’s unique approach is based on the premise that there is a fundamental connection between employee and patient experience: to impact either, you must impact both. Therefore, the platform enables patients and families to share meaningful gratitude for individual caregivers, creating actionable real-time insight into the patient experience while uplifting team members.
In the Power of Positivity: Part 3 Transforming Culture Through Patient Gratitude, we look at how gratitude from patients and family members makes a vital impact on caregivers.
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In a recent virtual learning episode from Health Data Management and KLAS Research, Wambi’s CEO and Co-Founder Rebecca Coren Metter met with Sparrow Health’s Michael Zaroukian, MD, Ph.D., to discuss ways care teams can foster positive cultures amidst the compounding effects of the pandemic by tapping into the power of moments. We will be diving into this session in three segments while sharing added resources and insight into their discussion topics.
In part one of our review of this session, you will learn:
Negativity bias is our tendency to over-focus on negative experiences while ignoring or deprioritizing positive or neutral experiences. Negativity bias evolved to protect early humans from danger and distress. Today, this bias causes us to emphasize areas for improvement at the expense of noticing what is going well. This is particularly prevalent within the healthcare industry.
“What providers are key at generally is seeing what’s wrong with something–That’s how we became good diagnosticians,” shares Michael Zaroukian, MD, Ph.D., VP and CMIO at Sparrow Health. “We’re unfortunately too often biased towards seeing what could be better, how to fix it, and what’s wrong with something.”
Healthcare leaders are committed to finding solutions and focusing on things that need help or improvement. That is what healthcare professionals are trained to do: solve problems. Rebecca Coren Metter reinforces this saying, “Sometimes in healthcare there’s a fear to look at what’s going well because it is assumed that will be at the risk of not focusing on things that need improvement.” But caregiving is not solely about solving problems. In fact, Metter describes healthcare as a people and relationship business. So how does negativity bias impact our connection to people?
“Negativity bias infiltrates thinking and then sabotages relationships,” Metter says. “What we know from data is that a person needs to hear five positives for every one critique in order to make a behavioral change. In healthcare, we do the opposite; we talk about all the things that are missing and we forget about the good things that are happening. A lot of these good things are micro–moments, little things that add up to transform and make systemic change.”
We must first bring awareness and understanding to our own negativity bias. From there, we can begin shifting our attention to the positive. Metter says, “If we can turn our thinking from ‘what’s the worst that can happen’ into ‘what’s the best that can happen’ and think about the moments that are really beautiful, we will start shifting our thinking to be more positive, creative, welcoming, and innovative.”
Metter explains that this is not deciding to be happy, acting as if everything is good, or instructing team members to simply look on the sunny side. Instead, leaders can shift their focus to realistic optimism to get to the positive and make systemic change. As burnout and exhaustion continue to challenge the healthcare industry, speaking about optimism may seem ingenuine or even naïve. However, this is not simply masking your negativity with a smile. Realistic optimism involves understanding that things are difficult while still noticing positive moments. Many times, these will be small moments and little acts of kindness. Just like shining a spotlight in a darkened room, leaders need to celebrate positive experiences amidst challenges.
In a recent article, Michael Dowling, CEO of New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health shares how optimism and hope play a vital role in his leadership. Dowling says, “You have to be realistic. You have to balance reality with optimism. Yes, today’s tough but tomorrow will be better. You don’t give oxygen to despair. Who wants to follow someone like that?” Dowling goes on to inspire his colleagues in leadership saying, “You have the ability to do something special. You have influence. You can inspire. You can go to work today and either inspire people or deflate people. If you don’t get anything wrong, you’ll never get anything right. Manage toughness today and deal optimism for tomorrow.”
As pessimists are predisposed to find the worst in a situation, you may expect these individuals to be the first to identify problems in a system. However, Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA, President and CEO of UCSF Health, believes that optimists are the first to name problems. Through positivity, optimists can see solutions and believe in their efficacy. Gunasekaran shares, “Optimism is the belief that we can overcome these challenges grounded in a plan to reach that brighter future, because the constraints that we presently live with can be removed and that there are solutions to the problems we face.”
Metter agrees saying, “Negative biases trains of thought are very narrow in thinking, which reduces the way we’re able to think about problems and conceptualize creative strategies to overcome them.” Metter sites Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s Broaden-and-Build Theory as evidence of how positivity can enable us to solve problems. This theory explains that negative emotions lead to narrowed mindsets, while positive emotions broaden our abilities to play, explore, and integrate. These actions inspire us to be creative, discover new ideas, and create social bonds, which build our resources. (Fredrickson, 2004)
“From an operational perspective, we have to put things in place to be more positive. This will help us identify solutions and be more creative,” says Metter. One of these solutions is Wambi’s healthcare recognition software, which elevates moments of meaningful connection to foster positive workplace cultures. With recognition from both patients and healthcare workers, clinicians and team members are appreciated and feel more valued through the power of gratitude. In Part 2 of our KLASRoom Review, we’ll address how practicing gratitude helps us to amplify positive emotions and combat negativity bias.
Interested in learning more about building a positive work environment to achieve operational and organizational success? Download the Net Promoter Case Study.