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Think About Accountability to Improve Healthcare Employee Engagement

What if everyone in your healthcare organization took personal accountability for the organization’s success? Many healthcare leaders would say that working in healthcare means being held to the highest levels of accountability. There are enormous amounts of data that provide feedback—to the industry, organizations, and employees—that helps us understand our performance on a wide variety of measures that range from clinical outcomes to patient perceptions of care. Regulatory bodies use some of this data to hold our organizations to the highest levels of accountability.

Linking Accountability to Measures of Success

But what really happens when performance on these measures falls below an acceptable level? Are our organizations really helping employees understand that they have ownership in their own accountability?

“The Oz Principle” is not the newest book on accountability, but it still speaks the loudest to healthcare organizations who want to foster a culture where employees own their own engagement.

Reinforcing Accountability

How would you answer the following questions on behalf of your organization?

  1. Does your organization define accountability for employees? If you surveyed your employees, would they be able to articulate the ways in which they personally meet or exceed the standards set by the organization or would there be a tendency to focus on organizational shortcomings? Would employees understand accountability as the exclusive domain of managers who would tend to use it a punitive rather than supportive way? Organizations can certainly choose to place an emphasis on managers’ holding employees accountable or they can develop a culture in which employees assume greater levels of accountability on their own.
  2. Do employees in your organization have ownership? When employees are sufficiently empowered, they think differently about their work and problems that they encounter when performing their duties and experience heightened levels of satisfaction and engagement when their efforts bear fruit for the organization and for themselves and their careers.
  3. Are leaders in your organization helping employees understand their purpose? Of course people work for money, and there is ample evidence that they would prefer to earn that money working for a great manager, but meaningful work and the common cause behind it is important, too. Understanding and having a higher purpose can lead to increased levels of personal accountability, satisfaction, and engagement.

Accountability is important in every industry, but the nature of the work in healthcare means that it is most critical to this industry. “The Oz Principle” is based on a philosophy of “See It, Own It, Solve It, and Do It. Organizations that are cultivating cultures where employees hold themselves accountable try to weave these steps into every aspect of their work.

It is likely that your culture contributes far more to the success of your organization than your strategy. Has your organization created a culture where employees understand and own their own accountability?

Learn more about HealthStream’s Talent Management Solutions.

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