Building an engaged culture

Employees at Netcare have witnessed a significant transformation during the past two years following a turning point in 2007, when leadership surveys revealed that staff wanted to see a more engaged leadership.

The starting point of the company’s metamorphosis was to introduce a new mode of leadership thinking, which it has dubbed “service leadership”. This sees managers striving to lead by example, and places a greater emphasis on understanding and engaging with employees.

To make this possible, all managers underwent a psychological assessment, the results of which have been used to inform a range of development courses: from the intrapersonal development initiatives all managers have completed to training around emotional intelligence and the formulation of action plans to improve these areas.

The insights gleaned through emotional intelligence training have even been used to help individuals choose their mentors. Its success means that this training will soon be rolled out to hospital executive committee teams and unit managers.

A follow-up survey reveals that Netcare employees now perceive their leaders to be truly living the company values of care, truth, dignity, participation and passion. But, according to HR director Peter Warrener, a restructuring of the company’s Sandton head office has also helped to entrench a values- based culture.

Netcare maintains its focus on continual improvement. Key elements in this regard include its relentless accent on training (Warrener points out that the company has done its bit to address the massive skills shortage in the nursing industry through the provision of training), as well as reward programmes that grant employees tangible proof that their input is valued. For example, the company recently introduced a Carer of the Month Award.

Going forward, Warrener has identified the empowerment of disabled staff members as a key priority and his team is currently working to ensure that the company recruits more disabled employees.

This article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian newspaper as a sponsored feature

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