Being Compassionate In the Healthcare Industry: Embracing the Balance of Being Both Patient And Employee Focused

Culture July 25, 2018

Being Compassionate In the Healthcare Industry: Embracing the Balance of Being Both Patient And Employee Focused

Jason Richmond
Jason is passionate about helping large companies embrace outstanding culture. He engages with clients by sharing his passion for learning and instilling a sense of leadership and confidence with everyone.

For so many companies it seems like they’re set on making a hardline decision on either being an employee focused or customer centric operation. Both are important in their own rights, but it’s the companies that understand the need to prioritize both that are seeing increased success. For Julie Wilkins, Corporate Director of Rehabilitation for a Chicago area senior living provider, she embraces both sides of the coin to bring about a positive culture for her team members, “we need to be compassionate and purpose driven in what we do- and both the employees and patients should feel it.”

So how does one balance focusing on two major elements of business at once? Through small yet effective actions that make all the difference:

Being Patient Centered

The healthcare industry is unlike most businesses: they are providing critical services for people that are fundamental to their health and well being- some which come at major expenses- yet still trying to make money as a business. Balancing these two things alone can be an exhaustive process that makes it easy to lose sight of the main objective: helping others. “Balancing budgets and dealing with financials is a major part of my every day job now, but at the end of the day, we have to sit back and ask ourselves ‘what is the best course of action for our patients? How can we help them get to their best level of functioning?’ and go from there.”

Wilkins continues, “it’s in the moments that we get wrapped up in the bottom line that I like to go be with our patients face to face just like I did for so many years as a full-time therapist. That’s when you remember why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. I also think it’s good for my team to see to remember that I’m more than just a suit and that our priorities as a company are about more than the bottom line.”

Being Employee Centered

On the other hand, Wilkins is committed to keeping her team members a main focus, working hard to be a leader who recognizes and utilizes the strengths of individuals. It’s through collaboration that Wilkins feels their culture is flourishing, “the best way to approach a problem is to bring it to the team and brainstorm. I work with incredibly talented and educated people and when we all come together to figure something out, everyone feels like they are part of the solution and ultimately, it makes it easier for them to get on board with the outcome because they are personally invested in the troubleshooting.”

Additionally Wilkins works to make sure that everyone in her office has a voice that is heard. If there’s something that can be fixed immediately, an easy win is always great for morale, but for other situations, she wants her team members to implement together for a solution, “I like to have wins that we can accomplish that very day, while other times it’s beneficial to pull different employees in to help accomplish the task. For example, if our team says that we don’t celebrate enough, then I’ll put together a group of people who are in charge of making sure that happens- birthdays, baby showers, work anniversaries- let’s make it happen.”

Other ways to initiate an employee-centered environment:

  • Communicate clearly with your team
  • Invest in their interests
  • Embrace a transparent culture
  • Recognize wins, celebrate milestones and publicly appreciate the hard work of your staff