The happiness advantage in hospital culture

By: Leah Worthy

Researcher and bestselling author Shawn Achor has traveled to 48 countries and has worked with over a third of the Fortune 100, spreading a message that may be surprising to some, both in its simplicity and its impact: Positivity leads to success.

In a Harvard Business Review article, Achor says, “People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge. I call this the “happiness advantage”—every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive.”

 

The impact of social support on long-term objectives

 

Achor tested his theories at Ochner Health System, a large, nonprofit provider in southeast Louisiana. Achor wanted to know if an increase in social support among employees and patients would help the hospital achieve long-term objectives like patient satisfaction and high quality of care.

To do this, he asked 11,000 employees to change their behavior in the hospital. When they walked within 10 feet of another person, they had to make eye contact and smile. When they walked within 5 feet of another person, they had to say hello. Achor calls this “the 10/5 way.”

So what happened at Ochner? The hospital saw an increase in unique patient visits, a 5% increase in patients’ likelihood to recommend the hospital, and improved medical practice provider scores.

 

Using compensation to support a positive culture

 

Culture is a top concern of many hospital executives today. That’s why we’ve designed our programs to foster positive work environments. The principles of fairness, transparency, participation, and inclusion remain at the core of everything we do.

In our latest case study, Allen Watson, CEO at Maury Regional Hospital, shared that the inclusive and transparent nature of our Call Pay Solution is what made it the perfect choice for his organization, which places a strong focus on hospital culture.

“It just fit very nicely with who we already were,” Watson said. “It was a very positive process. It wasn’t adversarial in any way.”

We believe that culture can be influenced by the way an organization handles its compensation arrangements, and we’ve seen the transformative benefits of positive culture first hand. Since call pay has traditionally been a point of contention, we’ve seen many facilities rife with distrust and agitation. A poor environment can have dire consequences, but Achor’s research suggests that even small changes can have a major impact.

Shawn Achor’s books include The Happiness Advantage, Big Potential, and Before Happiness. He discusses his experiment at Ochsner Health System in his Harvard Business Review article,Positive Intelligence.

 

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