DEIB: Knowing Your Organizational Baseline
Authored By: Jim Kinsey
Great Resignation. Burnout. Turnover. Staffing Crisis.
The alarm about the healthcare staffing shortage has been sounded. A perfect storm has been created with a swell of healthcare professionals leaving the profession while fewer people enter the field. This is occurring against a backdrop of an aging population that requires increasingly complex care – and staff with the skills, capacity, and compassion to deliver it. These conditions are challenging and layered. They point to a healthcare workforce that is disconnected and de-sensitized from the calling that initially drew them to a caring profession. People who identify as part of a marginalized group may experience this even more if they feel othered at work.
We all seek out a sense of purpose and belonging. When those are missing, people disengage. This has led to the phenomenon of quiet (and not so quiet) quitting and is exacerbating the healthcare staffing crisis. Any organization seeking to build goodwill, loyalty, resilience, and well-being among its workforce must go deeper than the customary practices of training, celebrations, and employee wellness programs so prevalent in healthcare today. A deeper focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging creates conditions that enable caregivers to feel heard, seen, understood, and in a position to deliver the highest value care to patients. Caregivers are seeking organizations that value diversity and inclusion, hiring staff that represent the communities and patients they serve, and creating opportunities for connection and collaboration.
Consulting organizations are capitalizing on this, delivering training on DEIB practices and programs – but how do you know what programs are best suited for your organization? The key to this is understanding your baseline, assessing your gaps, and selecting the programs aligned with your unique organizational needs.
We are outlining the key elements to look for when selecting a DEIB assessment partner.
An organization that is embarking on or evaluating its DEIB journey wants to portray a fully accurate representation of the experience that staff, patients, and families are having within the walls of their building. Finding a partner to assess your organization, independent of being employed by the institution, will provide the comprehensive evaluation required to plan actions that address the gaps and opportunities found. Engaging an independent third party that can provide an unbiased assessment of your organization is an essential part of understanding the needs of those working and receiving care within your community.
MULTI-STEP EVALUATION PROCESS
The culture of an organization is complex, and your DEIB partner should be assessing the various layers of the organization, not just performing a surface-level survey. Their assessment should include surveys, focus groups, and leadership team evaluations to understand not only the current climate but the ability of the leadership team to drive change within the organization. Focus groups should be conducted in a way that creates a safe space where participants can respond to questions truthfully, without judgment. Facilitators should be both neutral and skilled in helping vulnerable populations express their thoughts freely. This will ensure a positive experience for participants and better qualitative data for the organization.
Following the assessment, the facilitator should supply a report that distills what they heard into themes that address the strengths and opportunities for organizational improvement. Based upon these themes the organization can develop goals for improvement and begin to co-design the solutions with their staff and community.
Simultaneous to the assessment, facilitators should conduct an evaluation of the leadership team, evaluating the teams’ influential behaviors on their average day, best day, and stressful day. These indicators offer insight into the team’s strengths and vulnerabilities. They provide guidance for the team to learn how to respond, support, and transform the organization. Just as it is important to have a neutral third party for focus groups, it is important to have a neutral leadership coach. This coach can have crucial conversations that support growth, enabling leaders at all levels to meet the demands of an organization and their DEIB journey.
FINDING A PARTNER THAT “FITS”
Creating diverse and inclusive cultures is a complex challenge. In today’s healthcare landscape, taking steps towards DEIB is imperative to creating a sense of belonging for staff while delivering authentic person-centered care. There is no better way to provide humanized healthcare than to see, understand, and hear each induvial, without judgment or bias.
So where should organizations begin on their DEIB journey?
Start by finding a person-centered partner that aligns with your organization’s values and principles. Planetree is that proven partner.
We have taken our experience in evaluating cultures of person-centered care and expanded that evidence-based framework to help organizations identify a baseline and create a roadmap for their journey toward diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Contact us today to start your journey to DEIB excellence.