Diversity positively affects a healthcare organization, the workers and the patients they serve. Research backs the idea that diversity is profitable for organizations and better yet, it benefits all of us as a society. Diversity in healthcare is equally important and is key to delivering quality healthcare.
Managing diversity is the practice of inclusion among people from different backgrounds. Diversity at work means working with a team that includes individuals from multiple races, genders, ages and ethnicities. In order to create an environment that embraces and supports diversity, the medical/ administrative staff of a healthcare facility should be representative of wide ranging backgrounds and experiences.
Why Must One Invest In Healthcare Diversity?
A diverse work environment benefits both healthcare employers and employees. Some of those benefits include:
Higher Morale among Employees: Having a diverse workforce builds on feelings of inclusion, community and acceptance among healthcare workers. This makes the experience of the workplace feel safer and perhaps more pleasant.
Higher Employee Retention: Diversity can help retain healthcare workers. This is directly related to their improved morale. Healthcare workers who feel happier and safer at work are more likely to stay with that healthcare organization for a longer period of time.
Better Results: Diversity creates space for new and improved ideas, which results in greater innovation plus operational excellence. Diverse healthcare teams produce better outcomes, thereby showing that a “culture of diversity” leads to more effective healthcare delivery.
How Do We Make Space For Diversity In A Healthcare Organization?
Every healthcare worker can play a role in promoting diversity at their workplace. Some of the ways in which diversity can be encouraged are as follows:
Create a welcoming atmosphere for all employees: It is imperative that we create an inclusive environment, one that values the insights of every employee regardless of their race, gender, age, ethnicity or other demographic factors. Positively acknowledging the vast differences of background, characteristics and perspectives gives people license to be their true selves in the workplace.
Quickly address any issues of bias: Those who suffer from workplace discrimination often fear coming forward with fear of retaliation. This is the time when staff members should support their co-workers, and cases being reported will make the workspace safer for everyone.
Listen to your peers: Listening to someone might seem like a small thing but it can work wonders sometimes. Listening can help build organizational diversity. When we listen to each other, especially the people we work with, we open our eyes to different perspectives. It helps an employee understand the needs of a fellow employee and shows them that what they have to say is of value!
Diversity As An Effective Strategy In Healthcare
Diversity requires dedication on part of leadership to foster a culture of inclusion. It demands that people who work together accept taking the time out and getting to know each other. It means overcoming personal biases, and only by embracing these differences do we move towards better outcomes for patients.
Hucu.ai makes it possible for healthcare workers to communicate with each other in a HIPAA compliant manner.
Through Hucu.ai, this pathway of communication allows them to get to know each other all the better, while setting aside their personal differences and coming together for the greater goal, which is the patient’s health.
With staffing shortages on the rise, it is urgent that we look at strategies that help retain employees at every level of healthcare. Data from New Press Ganey on Diversity and Equity, showed that employees’ intent to continue working in an organization correlates with how their employers and fellow employees treat people with different backgrounds.
Research findings from 118 health systems showed that organizations that scored less on Diversity and Equity questions, had more staff members who were less likely to work at their organization for another three years or in case of another job offer.
Healthcare workers are affected when they feel that the people they work for or with do not value employees from different backgrounds. Individuals with a negative response to the question, This organization values employees from different backgrounds, were 4.3 times less likely to work at their organization for another three years. Furthermore, employees who responded negatively to the question were far less likely to continue working for the organization in case of another job offer.
Employees have a higher chance of leaving the organization if their concerns are not heard or if their opinion does not factor into the whole decision-making process.
COVID-19 has made it more difficult for caregivers to survive in their fields, burnout is more common among them and staffing shortages are on the rise like never before. The nursing profession has been dealt the greatest blow: one in three registered nurses are likely to leave their organization and others are at risk of leaving the profession altogether.
Data from Press Ganey’s employee surveys however points to another strategy worth considering in order to retain caregivers at healthcare organizations.
Positive perceptions around DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) can successfully lower turnover rates in the healthcare sector!
DEI has been influential in terms of nurse retention and engagement. The top factor driving engagement among nurses was, “The organization values employees from different backgrounds.”
The solution is clear: any improvement in caregiver retention requires institutional investment in DIE efforts/initiatives.
Fostering Inclusion In HealthCare
Diversity and Inclusion go hand in hand with each other. Inclusion is all about building a work environment where every employee is valued, respected, supported and is accepted. According to one report by BetterUp, the performance of employees significantly rises (56%) when there is a sense of belonging. Likewise, the intention among employees to continue working rises by 50%, if they are valued by that organization. In short, fostering a “culture of inclusion” is a key component when it comes to the retention of caregivers post Covid-19.
In order to build inclusivity within the organization, “employers should establish a place where people can be who they are, that values their unique talents and perspectives, and makes them want to stay,” said Karen Brown.
Staff members are more likely to continue working for an organization if they feel included. Healthcare leaders must create a culture where this is inclusion and differences are set aside. This will help retain employees and improve staff turnover rates. Research clearly shows that healthcare workers are more likely to leave an organization if they think that diversity is not prioritized and that employees from different backgrounds are not valued.
In the words of Dr. Tejal Gandhi, who is Chief Safety and Transformation Officer at Press Ganey,
“Health systems that fail to invest in diversity, equity and inclusion will be left behind.”
When employees feel valued by their employer, they stay. Turnover rates jump when employees’ experiences differ and if there is unfair treatment. More workers will see themselves as being a part of the organization in the long run if organizations uphold diversity and embrace differences among different employees. This is because everyone wants to work in a space that sets aside personal differences and helps every employee grow!
Diversity takes into account individual needs. When we focus on diversity, we come to realize that there is no perfect worker and that individual needs differ from one another. Employees have a higher chance of staying at an organization if it is responsive to their needs and accommodates them.
Diversity has a positive impact on employee retention rates, and that stands to benefit everyone involved in the process of healthcare delivery!