Conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion are vital in life, culture, work, and healthcare. Creating a workplace that reflects and honors the cultures of diverse populations is a moral obligation in all facets of life.
In fact, diversity and equity are so critical in health care that they could, quite literally, save lives. Creating a diverse and equitable workplace culture is also essential in retaining staff, a vital need amidst the current staffing crisis throughout the healthcare industry.
What is DEI?
DEI is an acronym for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that has been thrown around with greater frequency over the last few years. But it is far more than a buzzword and needs to be taken seriously and integrated throughout all we do as healthcare providers and in life.
- Diversity refers to how people differ personally and in groups across all levels: individual, organizational, institutional, and societal.
- Equity is a concept promoting the obligation of accessible resources to individuals or groups in a way that adapts and meets their differences and particular needs.
- Inclusion means typically excluded individuals or groups are invited, welcomed, and brought into social settings. (source)
How can we ensure that staff feels welcomed, nurtured, and supported in the workplace despite their demographic factors?
Why Is DEI Important for Healthcare Staff Retention?
A 2021 study from Press Ganey produced results showing health settings with strong DEI values minimize the risk of staff turnover. Why? Because having a meaningful DEI culture creates a comfortable, safe environment that allows staff to feel confident in who they are and what they offer.
Here are a few key findings from their study:
- Employees were two times more likely to leave if they felt DEI wasn’t prioritized in the workplace.
- Healthcare staff is 4.5 times more likely to leave their workplace when offered another job if they felt DEI values weren’t in place at their current position.
- DEI perceptions are a greater indicator of working for an organization long-term among security, nurse, and physician staff.
To actively move toward an inclusive and equitable work environment, leadership must expand their communication and invest in holistic measurement to ensure progress.
A DEI Framework for Healthcare Settings
Press Ganey’s study identified two critical factors regarding healthcare DEI: developing a more robust talent management model and involving leadership to expand communication and measurement.
Healthcare leadership teams must consider several factors under these two umbrellas to improve DEI practices. This includes re-evaluating hiring processes, onboarding practices, promotion schedules, and mentorship programs in the workforce. Expanding open communication, surveying the workforce, building focus groups, establishing DEI goals, and seeking program evaluation metrics are also discussed and recommended in the study results.
DEI Improves Patient Outcomes
Along with improving staff retention in healthcare settings, providers who reflect underrepresented populations are “more likely to serve in areas with a physician-shortage and serve underserved groups, including minorities, low-income individuals, and the uninsured.” (source)
Inadequate access to quality healthcare is a persistent and pervasive concern for minority groups and low-income individuals throughout the United States. Recruiting individuals often underrepresented in the medical profession is one critical solution in resolving this issue.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Healthcare: The Bottom Line
When employees feel pressured to hide an aspect of who they are in the workplace, it decreases motivation, minimizes feelings of security, and negatively impacts job performance. It is also critical that minority workers have role models to promote professional growth and improved patient care.
Actriv focuses on innovation designed to empower healthcare providers, treat facilities with integrity, and purposely deliver positive impact through uncommon levels of care. Our approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in healthcare is part of our vision for helping facilities meet their care goals and it is activated through our partners and providers.
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