At the beginning of the pandemic, healthcare workers were hailed as heroes. It was a far fall to be toppled off that pedestal when the collective fatigue and discouragement left some of the public looking for a place to lay blame for the woes of the world.
What are young people reflecting on for their career choices as they see this? One young person was quoted, in response to the question if they would consider going into the healthcare field, “Why would I walk into that burning building?”
To my fellow healthcare professionals: It’s time for us to remember why we wanted to work in the business of caring. We wanted a profession to be proud of, and when you peel away the politics, masks, mergers, etc., it matters that we work to heal and to be a healing presence. That is something to be proud of.
As we compete for the same shrinking workforce that every other industry wants, one way to attract employees is to appeal to their sense of pride and offer them a view into our “why.” Pride matters in retaining employees too as it helps to foster belonging at work. When you feel like your personal values are in line with the organization’s values, and people are held accountable to agreed-upon goals, a sense of pride connects us. When we feel proud of our work it feels like we are where we are supposed to be.
Here are some questions for you, your employees, your peers and senior leadership team to rekindle your sense of pride. Ask them in team meetings, huddles, hallway conversations, anywhere:
- When do you feel proud of your work?
- What makes you proud of your organization?
- What would show someone coming into your organization that there was something to be proud of here?
- Why did you first want to work in healthcare?
- When you are feeling spent from the long hours, patients taking out their frustrations on you, the strain of COVID, etc., how can you bring to mind your “why?”
- How do you celebrate successes at your work?
- What are the values that your organization stands for, and where do they show up in actions?
- How would your team describe your organization’s values, and how do they connect to people’s personal values?
- What conversations do you have with young people to share what you are proud of accomplishing in your healthcare career? This includes young people in the schools, your own kids and their friends, anywhere you interact with them.
- What does your organization or department do for the community that makes you feel proud? Do you have, or could you initiate, payroll deductions for charities that employees care about, e.g. food pantries, and make it easy and painless to donate?
- Have any of your colleagues won awards in their respective fields? These reflect well on everyone; how are you celebrating and publicizing those?
- Do you beautify your sense of place? There can be pride in flower gardens, walking paths, vegetable gardens that benefit the community as well as employees.
- What structures do you have in place for appreciation to show, “I’m proud of you for your work and achievements?”
- What does your organization do to help employees in need? These actions can instill a sense of pride that shows you care. For example, can you donate PTO to a colleague who is ill and has run out of PTO?
- How are you sure that when there is something you are not proud of, it is addressed and fixed? Accountability demonstrates that you take pride in high standards and will follow through to maintain those standards.
Tell the “stories” of your organization that show your pride. Stories are powerful in reminding us that there is a lot to be proud of. We can feel a little uncomfortable with pride because it can sound like bragging, but let’s get past that. Having pride is one of the ten best sources of fostering positivity, paying wellness dividends too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
|In Jo Anne's current role as Organizational and Workforce Development Senior Manager at the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) her aim is to offer to leaders straightforward tools and inspire the courage to use them.
Lead the Way in Five Minutes A Day: Sparking High Performance in Yourself and Your Team, by Jo Anne Preston is currently available for purchase.