Healthcare News & Insights

Keys to fostering a ‘no excuse’ culture of accountability at your hospital

Creating a culture of accountability among your employees can significantly improve patient care and your hospital’s operations, but the process of doing so is easier said than done. Start by setting an appropriate example for your staff and emphasizing an environment that accepts “no excuses.” 

It’s impossible to make other people be accountable, but showing them what accountability and personal responsibility look like can inspire them to reflect those values back to you – and to patients.

To promote a “no-excuse” culture, it’s important to recognize the influence you have over your employees and use that influence for positive gains, according to Carol Santalucia, the director of service excellence and culture in the Office of Patient Experience at the Cleveland Clinic.

A no-excuse culture doesn’t mean staff have to do everything perfectly on their own. It’s fine for them to ask for help when necessary and reach out to get other perspectives. No-excuse cultures are meant to emphasize collective problem solving, along with individual honesty and integrity, according to Forbes.

Changing language

Language is a key component of an accountable workplace that accepts no excuses from employees at all levels.

Instead of using phrases like “We should,” “Someone ought to,” and “Why don’t you,” try these:

  • “I can”
  • “I will,” and
  • “I’ll own it.”

These word choices show that hospital leadership is willing to take responsibility for mistakes instead of assigning blame or punishment, which demonstrates to employees how they should respond to challenges as well.

Accountability and behavior

But language isn’t the only necessary change to foster accountability among staff. The behavior of your leaders needs to back up what’s being said.

To facilitate a shift to a “no excuses” mentality:

  1. Acknowledge your contribution to the outcome. It’s easy to wash your hands of a mistake you didn’t make, but true leadership means owning up to mistakes and taking responsibility, even if you didn’t directly cause them. If an error occurred, there are likely lessons about improving leadership to learn from it.
  2. Don’t blame or gossip. Blaming someone else gets nothing done, and gossiping creates a culture of negativity and encourages staff to push responsibility onto someone else.
  3. Figure out what you can do moving forward. You can’t control everything and everyone, but you can make a plan for how to handle future situations. Creating a strategy to move past a mistake inspires faith in your leadership and encourages others to move on, too.
  4. Revisit and reaffirm your commitment. Health care isn’t an easy industry, and sometimes it’s hard to remember why you chose your career. Think about the positives and why you’re in this field, in this position and at this hospital. If leaders are committed to the organization, employees will be, too.

Consistent leaders who are willing to take responsibility are critical to establishing a no-excuse culture, which may keep staff engaged with your facility – and keep patients coming back.

For more info on how to create and maintain a no-excuse culture at your hospital, register for Progressive Healthcare’s webinar: “Employee Accountability: Create a ‘No-Excuse’ Culture at Your Healthcare Facility.”

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