Development: Foundations & Employee Giving Campaigns

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

You know you have heard some of these statements before if you have ever encountered an annual employee giving campaign at a nonprofit organization.

  • They pay me. Why should I give it back to them?
  • I can’t give enough to make a difference. Why should I even bother?
  • Why have an employee giving campaign? Why don’t I just give on my own if I want to?
  • My donation may not benefit my department or unit. What’s in it for me?

These barriers are all understandable, and the development team can relate to each of these perspectives.  We also have a response to each of them as well.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

  • If you feel compelled to give to an organization, it is usually because you support the mission and what they’re all about.  Giving to the SOMC Development Foundation helps to further the mission of SOMC – to make a difference – by finding ways to improve the health and wellness of our community.  Employees, more than anyone, know and support the mission of their organizations every day.  They are a vital part of it.  Employees know the difference that their organization is making in their communities.  It makes sense that employees are the biggest advocates for organizations.
  • Every dollar counts. We can’t say that enough. We have seen firsthand how the smallest donations add up to the largest amounts, and ultimately make the biggest difference in the community.  
  • We want to show you what you can do as a collective group. It speaks to the point made earlier.  One person may only be able to do so much, but together, we can do more than we ever dreamed. That’s why an annual employee giving campaign is so important.
  • Giving back can be an extremely fulfilling and personal act. When you are giving back to a nonprofit organization, you are supporting their mission. For SOMC specifically, you are supporting the health and wellness of the community and creating a sustainable healthcare environment for future generations. If that isn’t enough, there may be tax benefits available to you for making charitable donations.

How can you help?

  1. Be objective.  When thoughts like the barriers mentioned above enter your mind, remember and re-evaluate why you are choosing to give to the organization.
  2. Speak up.  If you hear someone else making these statements, share what you know. Share what the organization did last year with the employee giving donations. SOMC was able to provide the newborn nursery with new equipment thanks, in part, to our amazing employees who contributed to the campaign.
  3. Ask questions. If you have questions about the employee giving campaign or the mission, please ask. It is better to ask questions than to make assumptions.

Do you have any questions about employee giving?

Development: Connecting with Grateful Patients

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

Last week, we talked about making connections with our patients. No matter what industry you are in, you can apply the making connections strategy.  Making connections and providing excellent customer service goes a long way. Customer retention, positive word of mouth, and a better bottom line are just a few of the benefits of making positive connections with patients.  When we make connections with our patients, we want to make that a lasting connection by sharing information and hospital plans with them and by thanking them for choosing our healthcare system. At SOMC, our Grateful Patient Program is called Connections with Caregivers. The program gives our patients the option to recognize a member of their care team who made a difference in their patient experience, share their story with us, or give a donation in honor of the caregiver to the service line for which they are most passionate. They can also choose to do all three and many often do.

What are the barriers to doing this?

Successful grateful patient programs require buy in from every person who plays a role in patient interaction. So yes, that means everyone needs to be engaged: frontline staff members, nurses, managers, directors, providers, and volunteers. It can be difficult for folks outside of the development office to begin the conversation with patients about Connections with Caregivers. Since starting our program, we have received great feedback, such as folks saying they don’t feel comfortable asking for money, they don’t know how start the conversation, or they don’t have time. You also want to deliver a clear and consistent message to your patients without being too prescriptive. This conversation is best when it’s natural, so this can also be a barrier.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

There are so many great reasons to get involved in the grateful patient program.  Patients often ask if there is a way to recognize a member of their care team. It happens every day. The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s Report on Giving in 2011 states that 85 percent of donations were made by individuals, with 21 percent given by grateful patients and families. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, many patients want and choose to give for various reasons. It’s unbelievably fulfilling to know that you have made such a difference in someone’s care that they are willing to recognize you, share their story, or provide a donation. And that donation will help you to provide an excellent experience to another patient in the future.

Another important point to make is that this conversation doesn’t have to be difficult and shouldn’t take any more time than you are already spending with your patient. If you are connecting with your patient and helping to create a positive experience for them, this conversation can happen naturally. An example of a simple time for it to happen is when the patient is expressing gratitude. You can then tell the patient how they can share their story or recognize a team member for going above and beyond. It’s not about asking for money. It’s about taking a moment to ask the patient about their experience and start a brief conversation.  The stories our patients share with us are always more valuable than any monetary donation and real stories resonate with potential patients and donors really well too.

How can you help build the grateful patient program?

  1. Learn about your grateful patient program and ask questions about it. You will feel more confident in sharing the program when you are most knowledgeable. You may have cool ideas to share and it’s awesome to hear other perspectives.
  2. Begin the conversation or ask a member of your development team to help you with it. Once you start having these conversations, they will come more naturally to you.
  3. Again… Focus on customer service. We want our customers to have an excellent experience with us and we know it goes a long way when they do.

What have you done to go above and beyond for a patient or customer?

Development: Building a Culture of Philanthropy in Healthcare

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing hospital philanthropy and the importance of building stakeholder engagement in the health system’s development program.  Development often gets a bad reputation as folks think development employees’ only purpose is to ask for money, but it is so much more.  Development is all about building meaningful, long lasting relationships between the healthcare system and the staff, providers, leadership teams, patients, and community members.  Development at SOMC focuses on providing the community with programs and services needed, while working with stakeholders to improve the health and wellness of the community now, and in the future.  It’s going to be a fun series focusing on development strategies, so here we go!

What are the barriers to doing this?

It can be difficult to understand the need for building a culture of philanthropy in healthcare. Why would patients or others give to hospitals? With the hospital’s focus on providing patients with perfect care, how do I have time to focus on learning anything else?  Even if I do understand the organization’s development program, how am I to possibly explain it to patients and other community members?

What is the case for doing it anyway?

The most compelling reason to give to a healthcare organization is having a positive experience there.  It can be an important part of the healing process, it can be a way to thank a member of the healthcare team for providing great care, it can be the belief in the value the organization offers, or it can be a way to make positive change happen. Devoting a little time to learning about your organization’s development program can ensure your ability to communicate effectively to others and help eliminate misconceptions.  But the most important role that you can play as a healthcare team member or leader is to provide patients with the best experience possible, while the development team can focus on explaining the health system’s development program to stakeholders.

How can you help?

  1. Seek to understand and learn more about your organization’s development program.  Ask questions.  The more you know, the more you can share with interested stakeholders and the better equipped you are to identify programs and services in need of funding.
  2. Build relationships and make connections with your patients or customers.  Be a patient experience superstar! Patients often give back when they have shared an incredible experience with a member of their healthcare team.
  3. Refer patients or other folks interested in giving back to your organization to the development office. While providing funding for programs and services today is very important, the development team is skilled in sharing how donations can impact the future of the healthcare system.

How do you help build a culture of philanthropy at your non-profit organization?

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading with Modeling

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

As we have discussed throughout this blog series, leadership is hard.  It is human nature to wish someone else would take responsibility when in a tough situation.  Psychologists Latane and Darley define this reality as the Bystander Effect.  In difficult situations, the more people that are present, the less responsibility we feel to risk stepping up – someone else will, right?  Most situations in leadership are ambiguous.  When faced with ambiguity we tend to look around for the reaction of others and follow their actions.

Why is this important to do anyway?

But guess what? Your workforce looks to YOU for direction.  Your model and your decisions are ALWAYS on stage.  When times are difficult, your employees are looking to you for inspiration.   If you show urgency and jump to action, there is a higher chance others will follow than if you don’t act.  If you model calm, there is a greater likelihood that your team will respond with confidence.  In leadership you must… “be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)  Be the lead you want others to follow.

How can you do it? 

  1. Model with courage.  Most people do not carry the emotional strength to be true to themselves.  One gift you can give your workforce is to stand up for what is right.  Your courage will model the strength for others to trust in their convictions.
  2. Model with performance.  As a leader you have to “up your game”.  You cannot expect others to demonstrate high performance if you are not willing to hold yourself to the same…and higher.  Be the benchmark of performance you want your team to strive for.
  3. Model with passion.  Your employees want to be a part of something that is worth getting excited about.  If they do not see any passion or energy in you, there’s a fat chance you are going to see your team get excited.  Get fired up about the work your department is doing.  Show interest in them and connect their work to the mission of your organization.
  4. Model the way.  Models provide a picture for us that we use as a guide.  Your moods, your reactions, your response to mistakes, your recognition of those doing the work…all of these paint the color on the picture of what kind of leader you are.  Make it a picture worth viewing and one your employees can have to pattern after.

What are some of the other ways you actively try to model for those you serve?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading with Fun

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

Achieving results in today’s business environment is really hard.  And as a leader you are held accountable for the results of your team.  Some leaders may think that having fun at work is goofing off and distracts from productivity.  Other leaders may cope with the stress of work by  “knuckling down” and tolerating humor even less.  Some managers fear that if they allow fun at work that their workforce won’t respect them or take them seriously.

Why is this important to do anyway?

People have the need to have to play.  All work and no play really DOES make Jack a dull boy…and a stressed out one too.  Work-related stress has been linked to increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders, easily matching the loss in productivity from physical injuries.  As it turns out, laughter really is one of the best medicines.  Laughter releases pleasurable endorphins, lowers blood pressure and helps us tolerate more pain.  Fun also increases the number of days your employees will spend at work.  Fun and laughter have been linked to less absenteeism and fewer sick days.  An environment of fun is serious business and when present can have a direct correlation with creativity and innovation.  Fun also gives the brain a break from the monotony of routine tasks.  Laughter is one of the strongest glues that bring a team together.  And when morale is strong, the team is more resilient and can take on even the most challenging problem. So why have fun?  Well…it makes our tough jobs a little easier.

How can you do it? 

  1. It starts with YOU.  Lighten up, will ya?  As a leader, your behavior sets the boundaries.  If you allow yourself to loosen up and have a little fun, you are giving your employees permission to do the same.  Your workforce will take their cues from you. Now I’m not suggesting that you act goofy all of the time.  Rather, just lighten up enough to allow others the freedom to have a little fun.
  2. Be willing to laugh at yourself.  Certainly not everyone is a comedian…and PLEASE, don’t try to be one.  You have to be mindful of “safe” humor, so avoid telling jokes because you never can be sure what may be offensive.  But one of the safest and most powerful things all of us can do is to not take ourselves so seriously…to laugh at yourself.  This signifies humility which draws people to you.  Instead of covering up your mistakes, quirks or challenges, find the lighter side and share them.  Your staff will love you for it.
  3. Tell stories to keep the laughter and learning alive.  We have learned from stories from the time we were born.  Stories can share a lesson, a challenge and a laugh.  The best kinds of stories…have all three! Every organization and department has their unique culture and stories associated with the work that they do.  In Human Resources we have sick “HR humor” that allows us to relieve the stress of dealing with problems all day long.  When we encounter one of these “you can’t make this stuff up” situations, we try our best to share that story for us all to learn from but more importantly…to have a shared hearty laugh.

What are some other strategies you use to inject fun into your work and that of the department you lead?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading for Connection

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

Some managers may hear the word “connection” and think that I am suggesting a “love fest”.  Well, I am…sort of.  True connection takes investment which comes from emotional energy.  Some leaders are not comfortable with the idea that they have to “invest” some of their self into their team.  Other leaders are convinced that a high-performing team is one where their employees just do what they say without question.

Why is this important to do anyway?

One of our primary psychological and biological needs is to build emotional bonds with others.  Our brain chemistry is wired for connection.  Connection with others also helps us find meaning and purpose.  Most of us who work full time spend the majority of our waking hours at work.  Meaningful connection within a group unleashes powerful social forces that influence behavior.  Great managers realize this and give careful thought to protecting and building their team.  A healthy team will provide an inspiring work environment, while a dysfunctional one will quickly erode morale and engagement.  A leader’s job is to do their best to encourage a “sticky” team environment.  Here are a few things a leaders can do to support an environment where the team pulls together.

How can you do it? 

  1. Shine a light on the “purpose” of the team and their work.  A sticky team must center on something larger than itself.  No amount of superficial “team building” exercises will accomplish this environment.  Teams want to achieve something.  Regularly clarify the goal or target your team is shooting for and give the team feedback on their progress. When leaders create an environment of shared success, it helps team members to realize purpose and feel relied upon by others.  Hold each team member accountable for their part to make sure each is pulling their own weight.
  2. Support and environment of energizing discomfort.  When there is absence of conflict that is NOT a good sign that your team is sticky.  A team full of quiet “go-a-longers” will have mediocre performance at best.  You want to support and environment of trust, where team members can have respectful disagreements over process, share their opinions, thoughts and concerns without a fear of isolation or retaliation from you or the team.
  3. Remove team members that are “solvents” to your team’s stickiness.  Whether you have a slacker, whiner or bully on your team, please hear this…you will NEVER have a sticky, high-performing team as long as you allow them to continue. Period.  These individuals are caustic and will dissolve any bonds your team may have developed.  Great team members will leave as soon as another opportunity is available if you do not address these employees.  Work with your HR team on a plan to successful manage or extrude these members from your team.

 Think of the “stickiest” team you have been a part of…what are some of that team’s characteristics?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

 

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading for Growth

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

I had a manager say to me once that he would rather supervise robots.  Robots are programmable and they do what you tell them to do and only needing a power source.  While people are “messy” to lead compared to a robot, they have the capability to grow beyond their programming with the proper care.  Leaders are often too busy with their own responsibilities to think about the ongoing development of their employees.  Managers can also fall for the trap thinking that all of their employees just want to come in, do their job and go home…so why bother to develop them further.

Why is this important to do anyway?

Despite the security and predictability our routines may offer, we were meant for more.  Deep within each human being is the need to grow.  The opportunity to grow is one of the highest drivers of employee engagement.  If your team members want to grow and there are no opportunities in their job or organization, they will look elsewhere for that growth.  As leaders we must understand what our role is in the growth of those we serve and then act on it – for the sake enrichment, engagement and retention of the talent within our workforce.

How can you do it? 

  1. Provide clarity for growth.  Don’t get trapped in the thinking that development is limited to training methods such as seminars or courses.  The how training is administered is not as important as the what training is experienced.  Before you can answer the “what” or the “how”, you need to be clear about the development need.  Ask yourself “where do they need to grow in order for them to be more effective than they are now?”  Identify what the development gap is – knowledge in the field, technical job skills, career skills (i.e. resolving conflict, coaching), or personal behaviors (non-verbal communication).
  2. Look for opportunities that create discomfort. Very little growth takes place inside someone’s comfort zone.  Growth requires stretching and trying new things.  Once you have identified where your employees need to grow, work with them on experiences that will challenge or test their ability to perform.  While initially your employees may be hesitant about these “growth opportunities”, when survived they will be building blocks for their confidence and growth.
  3. Show your support.  When you get out on a limb, it’s easy to lose confidence.  When your employees are out of their comfort zone, give them an extra dose of support.  Model the way.  When your employees see you doing the same task, it increases their confidence.  When one of your team members gets stuck and they don’t have trust in their abilities to move forward, remind them of similar challenges they have overcome in the past.  Give them a word of encouragement and reassurance.  When your employees doubt their own abilities, they may need to borrow some of your belief in them, just until they get back their own.
  4. Give them feedback.  Because growth is often hard for us to see in ourselves, we often rely upon outside information to confirm whether or not we have made progress.  Remember the growth chart on the wall when you were a kid?  As a leader, you need to serve as the growth chart for those you serve.   Give your employees feedback on their progress.  Let them know “if they are there yet” and if not, what course corrections they may try.

What is the most effective  growth opportunity you have experienced in your leadership journey?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading for Autonomy

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

The biggest barrier to allowing those we serve to have autonomy in their work is our need for control as leaders.  We are in leadership roles for one specific reason – to produce results.  Because we are ultimately accountable we think we should control the way in which those results are produced to ensure the outcome.  Because of this control need, we often result to a KITA approach to motivation (“Kick them In The You know What”).  Frederick Herzberg classified these as “carrots or sticks” or extrinsic motivators.  They follow a simple “If-then” formula – if you do this, you will receive that.  And as a leader, we control what is given and this meets our need.  Sticks are used to threaten, in hopes of spurring people to do what we want or they receive a consequence.  Carrots are used to pull people toward completing a result for a reward.  The problem with using this type of leadership only is that it is leader-sustained, not workforce-sustained.

Why is this important to do anyway?

Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”   When we are free, we have autonomy.  Autonomy is our desire to be self-directed, and it is very motivating.  With extrinsic motivators if you remove the reward or the punishment, the desired behavior stops or significantly reduces.  Extrinsic motivators can have the tendency to bring out the worst in your team, if not balanced and if not aligned with the values of the organization.  A far more powerful source of motivation is intrinsic – coming from within.  Instead of carrots or sticks, think energy drinks.  Intrinsic motivation is what pulls you to act on your own regardless of what anyone else may be doing to push or pull you in a certain direction.  Our perception of how much control we have exerts an incredible impact on our motivation, happiness and overall well-being.  Patients who are given control over administering their own morphine report less pain that those who receive the same amount automatically.  When we feel in control and have choice, we work harder, are more creative and are more proactive when dealing with challenges and stressors.  If high performers are what you seek, then you definitely need to leverage the power of intrinsic motivation in your workplace.

How can you do it? 

  1. Give choices when possible.  Choice and autonomy go hand in hand.  Find ways to give your team a greater degree of choice and flexibility in how they carry out their roles.  Your job is to define the result you are trying to achieve, but if there are numerous ways to get to that result, what is the harm in letting people choose their own path, as long as it gets the same result?
  2. Give an opportunity for input whenever you can.  When employees are asked for input, it not only makes them feel respected and important, but it gives them a chance to affect their work environments.  This can be hard for leaders that are controlling by nature.  Remember that not everything has to be done your way.  A caution with this – if you ask but never implement input, then you will be seen as insincere and not listening.
  3. Put your workforce in charge.  While you might not be able to promote each of your employees, you can still find creative ways to help them take on greater levels of responsibility.   When asked to take on new responsibilities, it is feedback that they are contributing and valuable to the organization.

 What are some of the ways you balance your need for control and the need for autonomy of those you serve?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

 

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading with Purpose

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

Leaders have a huge responsibility to define the work that needs to be done, create the schedule, and make their performance expectations clear.  In that normal management pattern, whether or not the individuals performing that work have an understanding of how important their job is to the customer is probably not in the forefront of concern.  Tasks need completed and results need achieved.  Some leaders do not see the need to “connect” the work to the mission because of the belief that their staff is only working for a paycheck, or that the leader’s direction should be followed because “they said so.”

Why is this important to do anyway?

Most people have the need to feel significant…to have purpose in our work.  Yes, we all expect to be compensated fairly for the work we do.  That’s a given.  But when there is a clear purpose to the work we do, when there is meaning beyond the tasks we are performing, that’s like a second paycheck.  The second paycheck stretches further than the first one.  It keeps you from overdrawing or defaulting when there’s a particularly rough day.  Purpose is the magic of why we chose our profession to begin with…and when we have a clearer line of sight with that purpose it helps us put things in perspective when imperfect.  Ideally, as a leader you would hire those with a clear sense of purpose.  But for those you serve that may have lost their way, you can attempt to connect them to the “why” behind the “what”.

How can you do it? 

  1. Connect to the people served.  Sometimes in our work lives we forget who is at the receiving end of the work we do.  We organize our work flow based on our own convenience rather than thinking of the customer we serve.  Leaders need to regularly assess their department’s processes to make sure they are designed with the customer in mind. Leaders also need to consistently connect their team with the “person” behind the work through sharing stories, customer feedback and recognition.
  2. Connect to the job hired to do.  The strength of a person’s engagement with a task increases when they can connect their piece of the work to a bigger picture.  The difference in engagement between a block layer who sees his job as laying block and another who sees his job as building a cathedral is significant.  Share the “why” behind tasks and be prepared to paint the picture of what the end result should look like from each person’s effort.
  3. Connect to the difference made every day.  Beyond connecting with who is being served and what the work should look like at the end, people want to know if their effort is worth it…is it really valued.  Take the time to share stories or examples with your team of how their effort made a difference for a particular person or department.  Stories or examples connect with people’s emotions which tap into the magic of that “second paycheck.”

Question? What are some methods you have used successfully to connect those you serve to “purpose”?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

 

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading with Recognition

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

As leaders we have all heard the phrase “what behavior gets rewarded and recognized gets repeated”, so why don’t we do it?  Well, probably the most common response is time.  Personal, meaningful recognition takes effort and leaders have so many other tasks and fires that recognition gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.  There is also the thinking that employees are just doing their job and the leader sees no need to recognize beyond a paycheck.  Some leaders may be so concerned with the perception of favoritism that they shy away from recognizing high performers.  And believe it or not, some leaders are uncomfortable with recognition and just do not know how to do it.

Why is this important to do anyway?

Recognition helps meet a fundamental need deep within each of us to know if we are needed and significant.  Recognition can act as a source of fuel which can propel those you serve to try harder, persist longer in the face of challenges and to invest more energy in their work.  We are hard-wired to receive recognition.  Whenever we receive praise or recognition, our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain in charge of stimulating our pleasure centers.  And you do get what you reward or recognize – you want certain behaviors to continue and be repeated, so thank people for their effort.  When you consistently appreciate your employees, it strengthens the bonds of goodwill which are essential for trust, your currency that allows you to lead effectively.

How can you do it? 

  1. Recognize specific achievements.  Frederick Herzberg’s research on motivation found two powerful motivators that when combined, has potential of explosive results – the desire to achieve and recognition for that achievement.  Regularly reflect on the achievements of those you serve, no matter how big or how small, and thank them for it.  Leverage the power of cause and effect by specifically connecting the feedback of recognition with outcomes.
  2. Recognize specific behaviors.  As a leader you are in the business of managing behavior.  Many managers get the negative side of this and clearly grasp the use of corrective action to manage ineffective behavior.  But don’t forget the power of the positive.  Recognition is a force that reinforces effective behaviors.  Ovid is quoted with saying “A prince should be slow to punish and quick to reward.”  Provide a balance of recognition and correction with your team.
  3. Recognize specific attributes.  Recognizing good work and effort shows that you appreciate and value people for who they are as well as what they do.  Avoid using overused phrases such as “good job” or “keep up the good work.”  Rather, be specific about “what” they did, but also recognize the “how”.  For example, don’t just thank Ted for getting the report done, but recognize some of the attributes of the report (quality, accuracy, professionalism, etc.)  The more specifically appreciation is expressed, the more power the effects are on the receiver.

Question? What are some recognition strategies that have been effective that either you have received or have delivered?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.