Diversity, equity and inclusion training is a regulatory requirement, but it needs a different approach than most other regulatory requirements. Managing DEI requires more than just a “check the box” approach to bring about and maintain meaningful change. Meeting and exceeding those requirements will necessitate a program that provides the structure, content, support and measurement for real change.
In the 1960s there were two statutes that revolutionized employment practices – the Equal Pay and the Civil Rights Acts. The acts sought protection from ethnic and gender-based inequalities in salaries, hiring practices and advancement opportunities. Initially, little changed in gender-based pay gaps and other measures, but protected groups now had recourse in pursuing litigation related to employment inequity. It is only recently that organizations have begun to understand the importance of creating a culture to support these and other initiatives, to meet requirements, create sustainable compliance, and really embrace the spirit of this legislation.
By now, it is hard to imagine a leader that is unfamiliar with the Peter Drucker quote – “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Most healthcare leaders can readily give an example of how the culture of their organization determined the success, failure or effectiveness of a particular strategy. There are a lot of moving parts in an effective DEI program which further complicates the development and deployment of these programs. Leaders need to address diversity, equity, inclusion, psychological safety, burnout, stress and other mental wellness issues as it is a critical component of their compliance program. It is also essential to retention. So, what can leaders do to build an award-winning culture that truly nurtures a care-forward environment that builds equity, diversity, and inclusivity?
At the heart of every well-executed, sustainable compliance initiative is a leadership team that is committed to building a culture that can sustain compliance. Leaders will need to be prepared to demonstrate both an organizational commitment to compliance as well as a personal commitment to the issue. Leaders set the tone for the entire organization on this and other initiatives. Leading by example is the best strategy for any initiative. Simply telling employees what they need to do is insufficient. Most of us can remember an inspiring or engaging leader. They likely led by example.
Leaders should plan regular communication on the issue of compliance and provide real examples of what compliance looks like – preferably from inside their own organizations. They also need to have an accountability program for themselves and the rest of the organization to demonstrate the importance of compliance and the consequences of non-compliance. It is also important to provide the right tools to support employees.
Professional development education can better prepare leaders to model these behaviors and develop clear programs for accountability. Engaging, interactive and industry-specific education is critical to the success of compliance efforts. Leaders should ensure that the education is ongoing in order to maintain the proper level of focus on the issues. It should also be updated on a regular basis to ensure that it accurately reflects current laws, regulatory requirements and best practices. HealthStream’s Leadership Development Program is dynamic. It is not simply content; it grows and changes as the needs of your organization and the healthcare industry grow and change.
There are a number of mission-critical issues facing healthcare organizations in the post-pandemic world, but perhaps none is more pressing than recruitment and retention. Culture contributes directly to retention and the pandemic has put increased pressure on leaders to create the kind of culture that embraces, not just compliance, but a truly safe and welcoming environment. Additionally, leaders need to be able to demonstrate that the organization understands the importance of work-life balance and, more importantly, they need to support it with policies and resources.
Mental wellness matters and it is critical in the healthcare workplace. In a recent HealthStream webinar, Deryk Van Brunt, DrPH – CEO, CredibleMind stated that “The mental well-being of your organization is not an HR issue, it is a CEO issue.” In addition, addressing mental wellness requires a strategy to provide resources for employees, training leaders to recognize signs of distress and how to connect employees with wellness resources.
Creating an organizational culture that embraces health equity and belonging is an essential component of a culture of compliance. Addressing bias and embracing diversity, while promoting health equity has intrinsic value, but it also optimizes employee retention and enhances the organization’s reputation in the community. HealthStream’s Health Equity and Belonging solution can help your leaders feel confident that the organizational strategy for health equity and belonging is the right fit for the organization while helping to create meaningful change.
Promoting a safety-focused culture is an essential part of a compliance initiative. Improving safety, reducing errors, and improving the quality of patient care are essential to risk reduction and improved outcomes. HealthStream’s SafetyQ can do more than just meet regulatory requirements. It provides interesting, engaging, and up-to-date content that can educate your staff on the latest patient safety processes. It can help prevent medical errors and adverse events while improving both patient safety and satisfaction.
In addition, SafetyQ ensures organizational compliance with learning plans that are mapped to federal regulations such as OSHA and CMS’s Conditions of Participation. The content is delivered in micro-learning modules making it easy for employees to incorporate the education into their busy schedules, and more importantly, it improves knowledge retention.
The fluid nature of healthcare regulation makes compliance challenging. HealthStream’s ComplyQ can help mitigate risk and avoid the fines and penalties from violations by ensuring that your employees are compliant with the most recent federal regulations. It features adaptive learning which gives credit for knowledge, and engaging videos and infographics that create a more lively and engaging learning experience.
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