Breaking unconscious bias and improving diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace requires unwavering commitment, alignment of goals from national to front-line leaders and innovative programs to support inclusion.
The pandemic magnified the disparities that people of color experience in access, treatment and outcomes of health across our nation. But significant steps can be taken to eradicate these inequities.
CommonSpirit Health, St. Luke Health’s partner organization, has defined its very existence with three priorities: Improve the health of the people we serve; advocate for the vulnerable; and advance social justice for all.
This mission statement provides a platform where we can intentionally address DEIB factors within each of our facilities. CommonSpirit Health is united as a ministry and believes in the inherent dignity of all people. We also embrace the shared humanity of every person regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or economic status.
At CommonSpirit Health, purposeful DEIB work began long before the unrest of the past year. Nationally, CommonSpirit used its annual employee engagement survey to roll out our internal MyCulture program in 2019. This program provides the standards we want for culture as well as insights and valuable resources that help leaders understand the connection between our work environments and a mission-driven, high-performance culture.
MyCulture gauges employees’ sense of belonging from “healthy” to “unhealthy.” The survey takes place quarterly across CommonSpirit’s 130 hospitals. The measurement has two important composites: 1) DEIB factors, which link to a set of questions within the employee engagement survey and 2) a leader-to-staff ethnic diversity ratio, which compares leadership positions against the ethnic diversity ratio of non-leadership employees in that organization.
At a local level, St. Luke’s Health leaders each receive visual metric scores. They are supported with a Prepare-Plan-Practice (3P) process that helps create thoughtful action plans to improve scores.
MyCulture has helped leaders objectively look at our organization’s diversity makeup. More importantly, it has brought the conversation of diversity and the impact on effective teams to light.
At St. Luke’s, several new programs have resulted from MyCulture.
First, our local DEIB council created a charter and defined what it meant to celebrate individual differences.
The following are a few of our employee activities:
- Each hospital created a diversity calendar highlighting ethnic, religious and gender-specific events that their staff identified with. This was both inclusive and fun.
- Other hospital staff were invited to indicate areas of the country and world where they were from on a large map. The map was then used to demonstrate the culturally rich heritage that our organization is proud of.
- Diversity-specific training was also assigned to all St. Luke’s Health leaders, providing them with resources to have “uncomfortable conversations” about diversity and inclusion.
We should all have a vested interest in DEIB because individual differences make both organizations and communities flourish. We’ve learned that there is not one singular event or council that supports inclusion. Our commitment to our employees is to listen and make a sincere effort to be humble and willing to see the world through their eyes. While we still have much to do, we are proud of the strides that we are making and believe that DEIB accountability starts and ends with every colleague.