NHRMC Embarks on Cultural Transformation

November 05, 2019

New Hanover Regional Medical Center recently conducted surveys and focus groups to better understand how employees feel about who we are, what’s important to us, and how we work together to achieve our mission.

A culture survey showed that while some in the organization were excited about new opportunities to lead our community to outstanding health, others felt uncertain of what the mission means and their connection to it. Some felt empowered; others felt overwhelmed.

Subsequent surveys revealed similar themes. The 2019 Employee Engagement Survey and Patient Safety Survey both showed team members, particularly at the bedside, are feeling the stress of rapidly increasing volumes and workloads as our organization strives to keep pace with changes in regional demographics, industry demands, and our own expectations.

Our expectations are rightly high. Our surveys show our employees are committed to providing the best care and service to our patients, their families, and our greater community.

To realize our potential, though, we must be clear about our mission and engage each team member to get involved in the improvements that will help us achieve our goals.

It’s time for a cultural transformation.

Defining the Vision

To help define what we’re trying to achieve and what our mission, when fulfilled, would look like, NHRMC brought together representatives from many different areas and levels of our system. They learned how individual actions can impact organizational culture then worked together to imagine an ideal future. They didn’t think about the incremental steps that would need to be taken or problems that might get in the way. They just thought about the future, and what they would like to see NHRMC achieve.

Here is that vision:

New Hanover Regional Medical Center is an industry leader in a new era of healthcare delivery. Our thriving community serves as a national model of achieving excellence for all.

This statement reflects a future point in time in which we have succeeded in improving the health and well-being of our community – not just for some, but for everyone. Not just a little – but so much that we are an industry leader and national model.

The team went on to describe the commitments it would take to achieve this vision, including:

  • Fostering a culture of transformation through empowerment, innovation, and inclusivity
    We can’t achieve the future state with just a small number of people taking small steps at a slow pace. To transform, everyone must be involved and empowered to innovate, creating breakthrough change.
  • Delivering exceptional, affordable, and personalized experiences throughout the wellness continuum
    While health care is at the core of what we do, it’s the entire experience that shapes our relationships with our patients. Their trust, their confidence, and their well-being are influenced by every encounter with us.
  • Advancing health and vitality for all through a community integrated model of collaboration
    Creating a thriving community takes working with other organizations and agencies to advance health and wellness.
  • Cultivating a diverse and extraordinary workforce dedicated to our mission.

This is the key to everything. We need to engage every facet of our workforce and remove the barriers that inhibit them from achieving excellence.  Excellence is not feasible without building the best workforce possible and unleashing their passion to achieve our mission.

Training for Performance

Change starts with training leaders in the skills they need to set a positive example and coach and empower members of their teams. Breakthrough sessions were offered, led by the firm Insigniam, which specializes in helping organizations that are already strong get to the next level. 

In these sessions, leaders learned how teams can drift in the wrong direction when individuals don’t get involved to influence more positive directions. They also learned about how the “background conversations” you have in your own mind can influence how you perceive what is happening before you, occasionally leading to the wrong conclusions.

Most importantly, they learned how each person’s words and actions all feed into the culture of our organization. Each person influences it and each person is responsible for how it evolves.

Making Things Happen

To jumpstart involvement and make positive changes happen in key areas, “quick win” teams were put together and empowered around the following themes:

  • High Performance Improvement – Driving the highest level of patient safety
  • Diabetes Moonshot – Dramatically reducing the devastating effects of the common chronic condition
  • Lean and Innovation – Getting more people across the organization involved in contributing ideas and solutions to bring about innovation and change
  • Leadership Competencies – Identifying and training for the skills current and future leaders need to build high-performing teams
  • Talent Pipeline – Keeping our departments staffed with top people now and well into the future
  • Enrollment – Getting every member of the NHRMC team excited and engaged in the mission, vision and all we each can do to influence a positive future

The “quick wins” teams are just getting started. Their successes, and opportunities to get involved, will be shared through NHRMC communication channels, including CapsLive, Caplets, Huddle Notes and CEO Forums.

Every member of the NHRMC team has a role in transforming our organization to be everything we want it to be for ourselves, our families, and our community.