Creating a Workplace of Spirituality and Meaning
One of the keys to creating a sustainable, high-quality organization is the ability to attract and retain talented people. Turnover is extremely expensive and destroys quality. Loss of talented staff greatly harms an organization. The loss of talent destroys consistency/predictability at minimum. Loss of talented leaders is the quickest and the greatest destroyer of value as the loss has a multiplier factor.
Meaning is essential in the workplace. If a workplace is not meaningful, it is not a healthy workplace. Most successful people have found that they derive tremendous satisfaction from work. In fact, work is an essential part of their lives and their lives would be far less fulfilling if they did not work. In addition, they are compensated not only monetarily in the form of money, but also mentally and spiritually. Meaningful work is a delight and makes work sustainable.
Believe it or not, there is a direct and unobvious link to a number of our Hospice clients with some of the highest quality and profit levels…and the link is Spirituality. Yes…no kidding! I can hear people saying “Andrew, now you have drunk too much of the Kool-Aid!” In fact, the HIGHEST profit levels we have EVER witnessed, are Hospices with incredible levels of Spirituality…with profits almost beyond belief. These are Not-For-Profit as well as For-Profit Hospices, so tax status has little to do with this. Now any organization can chop quality and expenses in the short-term to increase profits (a super “dumb” move as an organization’s reputation is compromised). That is not what you want. You want long-term profits THROUGH high-quality and a reputation for an absolutely predictable world-class experience…every patient, every time!
Where Spirituality comes into play in a big-time way (that rhymes) is in the People Attraction and People Retention processes of your People System. The primary reasons that people come and stay at organizations are:
- Vibrant/Exciting/Meaningful Atmosphere
I have written about compensation at length, so I’ll leave that alone in this piece. But the “atmosphere” is equally important, and is sometimes more important. However, with that said, do not believe that Hospices can’t pay their staff members well. That “poverty mentality” needs to be eradicated through running better Hospice businesses.
The individuals that come to work at Hospices tend to seek meaning and purpose. This is a primary demographic of people that work in Hospice care. However, most Hospices DO NOT nourish this need for meaning and purpose in any material sense. They pay little more than lip service to Spirituality. Contrast this with the “few” Hospices that actively nourish Spiritual Values, the ones with these high levels of productively, quality, retention of staff and profit.
When we refer to Spirituality, we are not favoring any particular belief system, but rather are admonishing Spiritual Values. Spiritual Values would include fairly generalized concepts that would be common to many faiths and belief systems. They are presented not as “doctrine” or “the way it is” dogmatically but rather as “this is how things might work.” This might include the ideas of Intuition, Energy, Relaxation, Release & Surrender, Pain, Accountability, etc. All topics that relate to our Hospice workplace and that usually have overlap into our personal lives as well.
“Rot Your Competitors from Within” By Attracting Their Talent
“This doesn’t sounds like a very spiritual thing to do Andrew!” you might think. However, I think it is part of an organization’s job to advance Spirituality and Spiritual Values as far as you can. After all, each person and organization is accountable for their learning/advancement. And there are definitely payoffs for structurally nourishing Spirituality!
One of the biggest payoffs is that you will naturally attract the top talent in an area. Since most organizations do NOT nourish Spiritual Values intentionally, this makes it extremely easy to differentiate your Hospice. They will come to you. When the “word on the street” is that your Hospice is a fantastic place to work, where people feel fulfilled, a Hospice will no longer need to do very much advertising for talent. You will have many candidates applying for positions. This alone is a great payoff. But it doesn’t stop there!
If top talent leaves your competitors to work at your Hospice, it is a double whammy hit… Not only does your Hospice get the talented, top-rung people but your competitor LOSES capability. And what is the biggest destroyer of value? Loss of talented people! This double whammy can be devastating… Spirituality has a HUGE payoff… You are also challenging your competitor to “up their game” and if that is accomplished, Hospice is better in that community. Everyone wins! Ultimately, all of us are on the same team in this totally integrated and interdependent world! No one is alone or solo…
Record Volunteer Levels
Imagine having as much a 50% of the labor of your organization done by volunteers…that is, the members of community themselves because they are so “into” what you do. Again, this is the reality for a few Hospices that intentionally incorporate Spirituality. People are grateful for organizations that truly love and care. People appreciate organizations that love their communities enough to meticulously create a high-quality, predictable experience so that virtually NOTHING is unconsidered. Communities understand that organizations dedicated to higher spiritual ideals will have higher levels of compassion and love. They are thankful for this and show their thankfulness by volunteering on these extraordinary levels. They give their time to these organizations whether they are Not-For-Profit or For-Profit. It is the QUALITY of the program ultimately that attracts volunteers…and a central demographic of volunteers is they, like most human beings, seek meaning and purpose. Building great karma or finding spiritual benefit is their compensation. The obvious also happens to a Hospice’s bottom-line. But this is simply a natural by-product of Spirituality.
Happier Hospice Cultures
Just the fact that you will have a happier Hospice culture is enough of a reason to embrace Spirituality! However, bringing Spirituality into a Hospice culture isn’t that easy…
Why a Hospice Can’t Just “Become Spiritual”
The reason a Hospice can’t just “become Spiritual” is that Spirituality inherently comes from “beingness” – that is, it emanates from the collective “essence” of an organization. It is an energy or a “field” that impacts all surroundings, just by your presence…even without you doing anything! Spiritually is beyond intellect and calibrates on various levels if one were to evaluate it on a scale.
The Enlightened CEO
Most organizational cultures emanate from the CEO. Yes other leaders play a role as well, but none have the power of the CEO. And if a CEO doesn’t “get” Spirituality, then it is HIGHLY doubtful that your Hospice will ever be able to raise Spirituality to the levels we are recommending.
This may strike some as funny or paradoxical. However, the spiritually inclined CEO is more powerful and can lead more effectively than those that are primarily materialists or other linear paradigms. Again, this is due to the fact that most people that work in Hospice DEEPLY desire meaning and purpose in their lives. Hospice naturally attracts mission oriented people. I will state it again, most Hospices do not formally nourish this demographic. The payoff for nourishing this desire/need is lower turnover, lower stress, higher quality and yes, more profit.
The kicker here is that the CEO must be enlightened. You could say that the CEO needs to have a high consciousness level, increased Spirituality or whatever. This takes a Revelation or Damascus type experience on a personal level. It is a personal experience and it usually happens when a person is “ready.” It usually involves a person desiring truth, no matter what that pursuit will bring, losing individual identification and learning to see all with unconditional love. These are big moves. A Revelation or Damascus experience can be stimulated by an event (such as the MVI Deep Retreat –August 3rd and 4th), a person or can be self-invoked. There is no magic wand or path. It can’t be purchased with money. Most CEOs do not have a heightened sense of Spirituality above average as “average is average” by definition…and the Bell Curve is always with us! However, generally speaking, the overall level of consciousness is increasing every day believe it or not! It is a moving average!
Normally, Spirituality can’t be faked over extended periods of time. How a person conducts their life in their leisure time is telling as well as in the business setting. Spiritually inclined people can sniff out fakes or unauthentic people…eventually. Therefore, this is difficult to fake over long periods of time. However, there are “charlatans” that are very good at deceiving naïve people. But the more spiritually developed tend to smoke these people out. Here are a few spiritual ideas that I ponder. Spiritual truth:
- Does not seek gain, fame or money to become “Enlightened”…
- Understands that Unconditional Love is paramount…
- Sees “all that is” as perfect…
- Has nothing to prove…
- Has no one to convert…
- Recognizes that Spirituality has more to do with “surrender” and “letting go” than control…after all, isn’t faith about placing trust in a Power that is supposedly more capable and wise than oneself? This takes humility…and humility calibrates higher than pride…
- Is thankful…
These are things to think about…
Your Continually Seeking Friend ~ Andrew