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Cultivating Success: The Power of People and Culture in Healthcare Organisations (By Jessica Lawless)

By Jessica Lawless

1st Year Management Intern

Cultivating Success: The Power of People and Culture in Healthcare Organisations

In today’s healthcare landscape, organisations are increasingly recognising the significance of people and culture in shaping the success of their workplace. The people within an organisation, their skills, attitudes, and values, along with the culture that permeates the workplace, play a pivotal role in driving productivity, engagement, and overall organisational performance. During my initial internship placement, I had opportunities to participate in successful initiatives to prioritise culture and people at the local level and at an organisational level. This firsthand experience vividly highlighted the paramount significance of prioritising people and culture as a healthcare leader.

Understanding and prioritising the importance of people and culture can have far-reaching benefits for a team and a workplace. The people within a healthcare organisation are its most valuable asset. Their skills, knowledge, and expertise are what propel teams and departments forward. Research supports that when employees feel valued, supported, and connected to their work and their colleagues, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to their roles (Chen et al., 2022). This, in turn, leads to increased productivity and innovation, as employees are willing to go the extra mile to contribute to the organisation’s success. A strong culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as different perspectives and experiences brought by a diverse workforce can lead to better problem-solving, more effective decision-making, and improved overall performance. Having a diverse team and strong culture is shown to improve team dynamics and output if managed and supported appropriately by leadership (Lin et al., 2021)

With employee burnout being a hot topic at the moment in healthcare, new strategy and disruptor ideas need to be considered to tackle this issue. We know that when organisations cultivate a culture that supports employee well-being, through initiatives such as flexible working arrangements, employee assistance programs, and opportunities for personal and professional development, they create an environment where employees feel valued and supported. This, in turn, reduces burnout, increases job satisfaction, and improves employee retention rates. Retaining experienced and knowledgeable employees saves organizations the costs associated with turnover, including recruitment, onboarding, and training (Cohen et al., 2023). 

I had the privilege of being part of an exceptional team at the Department of Health, where a strong emphasis was placed on prioritizing people and cultivating a positive culture at the local level. Within our team, we actively experimented with new ideas aimed at enhancing staff well-being and improving our overall work environment. These initiatives were fully supported by our leadership. One particularly successful initiative involved the creation of an easily accessible “How We Work” document, which effectively conveyed our preferences, concerns, and even identified potential burnout through a traffic light system. Additionally, we implemented designated “meeting free time” to better structure our weekly schedules and evaluate the necessity of various meetings. These initiatives significantly contributed to my sense of comfort and support in the workplace, increasing my confidence in thriving and performing at my best. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to participate in People and Culture Strategy meetings, where we collaboratively developed and implemented proposals aimed at fostering a positive culture throughout our department. This collective effort, involving individuals from diverse roles and leadership positions, underscored the vital importance of prioritizing people and culture within any workplace environment.

When individuals feel comfortable and supported in their working environment, they are more likely to thrive and perform at their best. Through my experience both at the departmental level and within my own team I can conclude that people and culture are not just buzzwords; they are the pillars upon which success is built.


Chen, J., Ghardallou, W., Comite, U., Ahmad, N., Ryu, H. B., Ariza-Montes, A., & Han, H. (2022). Managing Hospital Employees’ Burnout through Transformational Leadership: The Role of Resilience, Role Clarity, and Intrinsic Motivation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(17), 10941. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/17/10941

Cohen, C., Pignata, S., Bezak, E., Tie, M., & Childs, J. (2023). Workplace interventions to improve well-being and reduce burnout for nurses, physicians and allied healthcare professionals: a systematic review. BMJ Open, 13(6), e071203. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-071203

Lin, C.-Y., Huang, C.-K., Li, H.-X., Chang, T.-W., & Hsu, Y.-C. (2021). Will They Stay or Leave? Interplay of Organizational Learning Culture and Workplace Mindfulness on Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions. Public Personnel Management, 51(1), 24-47. https://doi.org/10.1177/0091026021991581

Disclaimer: Information presented here is of the author and don’t represent the views of the Department of Health.