I was once fortunate enough to attend the What’s Right in Healthcare conference, hosted by the Studer Group in Chicago, USA. Whilst all the speakers were excellent, there was one presentation that really resonated with me.

The speaker recited a story about a cardiac hospital in the United States that had an insufficient number of qualified staff to meet the demand for their services. Despite multiple talent attraction strategies, their efforts went unrewarded and the situation became dire.

Simultaneously, there was disharmony within the team, including poor morale and disruptive behaviour. The situation persisted and was tolerated due to the chronic staff shortage…

“What you permit, you promote. What you allow, you encourage. What you condone, you own. What you tolerate, you deserve.”

– Anonymous

While we can’t be sure who said those famous words, we know the importance of fostering a positive, inclusive and high performing culture if you’re seeking to attract highly sought after talent to your organisation in a tight candidate market. By allowing the team culture to deteriorate, management was not only endorsing the very behaviour contributing to it, they were signalling to potential hires to stay away from it! This in fact, was subsequently proven to be true.

Ensuring cultural alignment begins with the hiring process. Have the right questions been asked when the vacancy is identified so that the candidate has a thorough and accurate description of the position, the team and the organisation? It is important that carefully crafted behavioural questions are asked at interview and the answers appropriately interrogated. Similarly, reference checking and other supporting assessments should confirm the validity of those responses.

Over time the hospital in Studer’s story addressed the cultural issues that were impacting the performance of the entire team and detracting from its efforts to achieve its strategic objectives. Potential hires who had been resistant to applying for roles at the hospital began looking at it favourably. Before long, it was attracting new talent and staff deficits declined dramatically.

Hospital management itself has never been more difficult. Long foreseen by those in the sector and clearly exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, the implications of permanent staff shortages in Healthcare have ranged from the capping of services to the need to engage on-hire staff at a premium, making talent attraction and retention critical imperatives. We must aspire to have teams that are in harmony and working together for the betterment of patients and the health of the service.

Are you doing all you can to recruit and retain the right people to achieve that aspiration? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if I can be of any assistance or connect with me on LinkedIn.