United. Courageous. Inclusive. Honest. Curious. These five qualities — unveiled this month as the institution’s newly articulated guiding principles — represent behaviors that are expected across the entire Brigham community, senior leaders announced during Town Meeting on Dec. 10.
Building on earlier and ongoing work to enhance the Brigham Experience — which is the integration of the patient and employee experience — the guiding principles were inspired by areas of opportunity identified in the Brigham Experience: Culture, Diversity & Inclusion Assessment conducted in 2018.
When the guiding principles become a part of every interaction across all levels of the organization, the Brigham will have a culture that is even more transparent, diverse, inclusive, collaborative and innovative, explained Tim Ewing, PhD, vice president of Employee Diversity, Inclusion and Experience.
“Our guiding principles really speak to the fact that wherever we go, wherever we are, we can expect these behaviors from every single person at Brigham Health,” Ewing said. “To truly achieve a transformative, real culture change, we need to embrace these new guiding principles and enable these behaviors in each other.”
During Town Meeting (see related story), Ewing offered examples of how the guiding principles translate into real-world behaviors and the benefits of incorporating them into everyday interactions.
Consider the principle, “We are courageous. We respectfully offer and invite ideas.” A culture that supports this would enable someone to feel comfortable offering a different opinion in a team meeting.
“We realize that when we do speak up, that creates opportunities for new ways of thinking,” Ewing said.
Ewing noted that faculty, staff and trainees’ participation in last year’s culture assessment was vital to understanding where there are opportunities for improvement. These include eliminating competition where there should be collaboration; being more transparent and forthright in communication; fostering a culture of respect and inclusion; and shifting from a hierarchical structure to an empowered, cross-functional, shared decision-making approach.
In addition to serving as a blueprint for closing these gaps, the new guiding principles and competencies associated with them will be incorporated into Human Resources’ systems and processes, such as candidate selection and annual employee performance reviews.
Senior leaders and directors will also undergo training to ensure they have the necessary skills and tools to lead and develop the Brigham’s workforce according to the guiding principles.
In addition, the Office of Mediation, Coaching, Ombuds and Support Services (OMCOSS) will offer resources to support building and sustaining trusting, respectful relationships in the workplace. Launching Jan. 6, the office’s services will be available to all faculty, staff and trainees.
To help shape the next stage of culture transformation, all members of the Brigham community will be invited to participate in an Employee Engagement survey in March.
“We’ve been on a journey for the past two years, and we’re continuing to build,” Ewing said.
Visit BWHPikeNotes.org to learn more about the Brigham Experience and to view a brief, animated video highlighting the new guiding principles.