Healthcare and Change Management: The Essential Elements

In this era of cut-throat competition and technological advancements, organizations have to adapt to the major changes taking place around them. They have to incorporate cutting-edge technologies and latest management procedures to contend with the stiff competition. In order to survive and exist among competitors, companies, irrespective of the industry they belong to, have to embrace change with open arms, without any hesitation.

The same can be said for the professionals of the healthcare industry where change is a very common phenomenon. In spite of that, many people from this industry consider change as a struggle that brings uncertainty. At times, when a new technology or organizational practice is introduced, these professionals are skeptic about it and come up with queries like whether this will work for the organization, if it will be individually beneficial for them, and will things improve or deteriorate. Even if they are not satisfied with the current situation, they are more comfortable with living with something they are more accustomed to.

Leaders of the healthcare industry find themselves in such a situation, while implementing a new initiative. In such circumstances, an efficient leader comes into play steering their team through the wave of changes. It may occasionally be difficult, as the leaders themselves may sometimes struggle with change. But, a leader should at first properly understand the new initiative himself and then consider implementation and incorporation of the same.

There are certain elements a leader should concentrate on while spearheading their organization through change. Below mentioned are the key elements that healthcare managers should focus on.

Clear Communication is a Key Component

A healthcare organization should maintain clear communication with its members and employees. Proper communication is essential for the smooth functioning of the organization. An organization should have a clear definition of why the change is happening. It will assist them in preparing for a successful project initiative. Many employees may get involved in what is happening and lose focus on the reason behind why it is happening. Leaders should explain properly to the staff about their responsibilities and what benefits this new initiative is providing. They should follow up each individual’s role in the project. A proper explanation of why the change is necessary will clarify the employees’ queries, and will provide them personal accountability to see it through.

Management should be Empathetic, not Sympathetic

A sympathetic leader could easily lose focus during change management if they worry too much about their staff’s concerns. A good leader genuinely cares about their team, and hence finds it difficult to see their team members struggling with change. In such a situation, leaders should empathize with the employees, while keeping everyone focused to the objective.

When an employee comes up with concerns related to the project, the management can respond to the resistance by supporting and assuring the employees that they will get any type of help from the leader whenever they need. In this way, the employees will realize that the leader is there to support them with the project.

Supporting the Willing

Leaders may often draw their focus on those employees who are struggling with change.  It may so happen that they consume unnecessary and unproductive amount of time in the effort to align those employees with an initiative, who have a change-resistant mindset. This can affect a project’s momentum. On the other hand, the concerned authorities can rather support, train, and work with those employees who are willing to do their part. Team members who are playing an active role and are demonstrating personal accountability to the project should be rewarded and supported.

Accountability is a Vital Ingredient

While managing a workforce, accountability is an important value that organizations should uphold. Organizations should set expectations and promote personal accountability. It creates a culture of integrity and responsibility. Accountability can act as a powerful motivator for employees, and can help them in improving their performance. It plays an important role in staff satisfaction and appreciation for managers who make sure that employees are performing as per the expected standards. It also develops a sense of respect and responsibility among the employees as they feel responsible for their actions and perform accordingly so that they can achieve the organizational objectives.

Introducing change in organizational procedures and activities is not a walk in the park. In order to bring change, healthcare institutions have to align new habits with their core objectives. Able and strong leaders have to support and encourage the employees so that they can adapt to the developments and changes that are being introduced in the organization. A strong leader and a strong workforce will eventually contribute towards the creation of a strong organization.

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