I love July. The month is filled with summer concerts, barbecues, and family and friends. It’s also the time of year when we come together as Americans to celebrate the birth of our nation and the freedoms and values our country stands for.
President Harry Truman once said, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."
Every organization has values, although they may not be as easily recognized as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Whether you work in a large healthcare system or run a small private practice with a handful of employees, the values of your organization are what guide you and create your workplace culture.
Why core values matter
Do you know what the core values of your organization are? Do you have a mission or vision statement? If you don’t, it is difficult to build unity with your co-workers and ensure you are providing the best possible care.
On the flip side, if you are invested in the values of your organization and live them every day, you feel more connected to your organization, your co-workers, and your patients. Knowing what an organization stands for helps give greater purpose to your work.
It’s possible that your organization may have never gone through the process to identify core values, but it’s not too late. Start by looking at your organization’s goals. You may strive to deliver quality patient care, efficient billing processes, or attract new patients. Look at those goals and determine what values might lead to you achieve them. You may identify compassion as something you value in your patient care or integrity as a value tied to your billing process. Once you have determined your values, you can start sharing them.
What if your values are just words on the wall?
What do you do if you work in an organization with a mission statement on the wall, but no one cares about it? If you’re in a leadership position, you may need to spend some time thinking about how you can bring that statement of beliefs to life. For example, if your mission is to provide quality patient care, do you have programs or practices in place to make sure your team is motivated? Do you recognize and reward them for achieving that care?
A well-thought-out mission and solid core values are powerful tools to engage employees—if they are utilized correctly. Once you are confident you have the right values, proclaim them. Talk about them in messages from your leadership team. Discuss them in staff meetings. Share examples of how they are helping you meet your goals. Talk about your values until they are widely known among staff.
Our defining core value at CompHealth is called Putting People First. It is something we live by, and any decision made in the company is measured against that value. Are we putting our employees, our providers, and our clients first with this choice? If the answer is no, we start over and keep working till we have a solution that really does put people first.
As you celebrate your freedom this month and remember the values that make America a wonderful place to live, it is also a good time to reflect on the values of your own workplace. Also make sure you are celebrating and sharing those values with your employees and co-workers as well.