People - Building Culture

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Measuring and Improving Productivity in the Clinical Laboratory. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Measuring and Improving Productivity in the Clinical Laboratory (online CE course)
People - Building Culture

Building a culture that gives value to the people that are doing the laboratory work is critical to a productive work environment. Management must develop a culture that meets human needs in order to unlock people's full potential at work.4 There are four key functions for instilling this within an organization:
  1. Instill modern leadership: Lead with empathy, transparency, and trustworthiness. Create an environment where people feel safe and can share ideas and perspectives. Entirely assure that leaders will make individuals feel safe by displaying compassion and trust. Labs need to invest in developing leaders who make individuals feel safe and respected. No one should ever feel diminished because they chose to speak up or show vulnerability.
  2. Connect people to purpose. When people understand how what they do connects to the greater purpose of the mission and purpose of the organization, they will become more satisfied and committed to their areas of responsibility. When organizations invest in the growth of their skills and provide more opportunities to contribute, people become more engaged. Investing in people's development and aspirations becomes a clear signal to them that their work has meaning. Build teams that focus on group mental health (cooperation and teamwork), a sense of belonging to the team and organization, and time protection (overwork creates burnout).
  3. Create an agile organization. Incorporate flexibility into the work plan and constantly develop new ways of working more efficiently. Look at what people work on when they work and how. Give the people the ability to be flexible with what, when, and how to accomplish the outcomes expected. An example might be a skilled lab worker near retirement that would like to ease into retirement. Perhaps instead of full-time, a part-time schedule can be arranged. A midweek schedule, two 10-hour shifts per week, and three 6-hour shifts during peak days are examples.
  4. Empower people through technology: Provide a robust technology foundation. Diagnostic laboratories that have the technology to provide a seamless path from the ordering of tests through reporting of results to the Providers have the greatest efficiency. People in the system must have the training, input, and abilities to utilize the technology efficiently.
Building a productive efficient culture is an evolving process that does not end. It means embracing continuous change, listening to all the people, measuring progress, and acting to close the gaps. With a value-based culture, passion, inspiration, and drive can soar -- and so will productivity.
4. Siemens Healthineers. Increasing workforce productivity in the diagnostic laboratory: How can the lab keep up with demand? April 8, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2022.
5. CDC/Gathany. Image #23132. Caption: This image depicted Enteric Diseases Laboratory Branch (EDLB) bioinformaticians and public health scientists, discussing whole genome sequencing (WGS) results during a foodborne outbreak investigation. PHIL public domain. Created 2019. Accessed December 28, 2022.

5. Connecting people to purpose (teamwork)