Creating Company Culture



By Patricia Johnson

For many of us, much of our time is spent in the workplace, making it that much more important that we ensure it is a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Our goal is to create a workplace that is sustainable and provides a sense of calm without forgoing productivity.

Creating a healthy workplace environment not only helps with productivity it also increases retention, and perhaps most importantly, it helps to support the organization’s collective mental health with the understanding that some workplace factors can either negatively or positively affect mental health.

Mental health awareness and the challenges at the workplace was compounded by the pandemic, political unrest, and racial unrest, especially following the murder of George Floyd and other Black Americans. After hearing some of our staff and medical residents voice concerns about how these incidents affected their mental health and feeling as though, not unlike the entire nation, it had perhaps challenged our organization’s collective mental health, we went about implementing an antiracism program designed to create a safe space for sharing and learning about things such as the need for diversity, equity and inclusion, unconscious bias, personal experiences with harmful practices, etc.

Later, we instituted ‘stay interviews’ as a way to allow for employees to have meaningful conversations with their respective supervisors about what they value as an employee at Authority Health and also what would continue to sustain them and keep them here in the future.

My experience as a Human Resources Director has given me a great deal of insight into what employees value. I’ve learned that one of the most important components in creating the type of company culture where employees can thrive is to understand and fulfill the very human need, that is to be heard; our ‘stay interviews’ were in part designed to allow for such a space; through these dialogues between employees and supervisors we’ve received some positive feedback, which will help us improve our practices in areas that may not have been considered otherwise.

Most recently, we’ve added a series of ‘Mix & Mingle’ events on our company calendar for all staff. The idea came to us as a result of, again, listening to our employees, this time by way of a S.W.A.T. analysis. The study revealed a shared concern of many employees about our existing communication practices. We see the series of Mix & Mingle events as a way for staff to have space and more intentional time for interaction, the sharing of information and ideas, to gain a deeper understanding of each other’s role or day-to-day job function, and to simply get to know one another so that we begin to work in unison as a one team with a common goal.

Patricia Johnson is the Director of Human Resources