Your voice: DEI survey shows progress in creating an inclusive culture

December 19, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

In October, more than 12,000 Michigan Medicine faculty and staff participated in Many Voices, the organization’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Pulse Survey. The survey gave employees the opportunity to share their opinion on topics such as communication, respect and teamwork, and how they feel about the current climate of inclusivity at Michigan Medicine.

Results of the survey have been released, showing encouraging momentum in all three areas. Overall engagement results remain consistent with the April Employee Engagement survey results, which were above the Press Ganey national benchmark. Press Ganey is the third-party vendor the organization partners with on the survey to ensure confidentiality of responses.

“The pulse survey is a short survey used to track organizational health and progress with company goals,” said Phillip Lipka, employee engagement program manager for Human Resources. “And because DEI is a top organizational priority, it is important for us to assess and track our efforts of providing an accepting and inclusive environment for all employees and patients alike.”

Lipka added that while this was not a full engagement survey, it served as a way to check-in on whether efforts since the Employee Engagement survey in April have been having a positive impact so that adjustments can be made, if needed.

The survey identified two areas of concern based on comparison to the national benchmark:

  • My work unit/department works well together
  • All associates have equal opportunity for promotion regardless of their background

Also, the survey identified room for improvement with some groups, including females and underrepresented minorities.

“We will take this feedback and work on finding ways that will help everyone feel more included in the organization moving forward,” said Lipka.

Showing progress

The pulse survey included two questions directly focused on diversity, equity and inclusion that relate to the organization’s DEI dashboard.

“Overall, Michigan Medicine saw improved scores in communication, respect and teamwork, which means the work our DEI leads have been championing within their departments and units is having an impact,” said Patti Andreski, research area specialist lead for the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI). “However, results indicated people feel the DEI initiatives within their work units could be having an even greater impact and that there is room for improvement regarding the communications around DEI opportunities that are available to them.”

The DEI dashboard and pulse survey are effective ways to measure impact, but don’t tell the DEI leads what to do to make impact. That work falls to the DEI implementation leads, department leaders and staff who come together, ask questions and have conversations as a team to drive positive change.

Departments that have seen increases in their culture and net promoter scores actively engage their staff.  For instance, the Canton Health Center has created a number of new engagement opportunities that involve dialogue, food and fun. The Department of Communication has also created a DEI committee that held a “human happy hour” — where the team came together to discuss personal experiences related to DEI and got to know one another better; while MICHR has created a series of gatherings where staff discuss their career journeys and the impact DEI has on their lives.

“Our ‘Becoming’ series launched in May as an opportunity to learn more about our colleagues with a deeper dive into their professional and personal lives,” said LaTonya Berryhill, operations manager for MICHR. “We learn how DEI has impacted their lives, and open the floor for questions and conversation that allows us to move from awareness to action by asking ourselves ‘What can we do to continue to build a supportive environment for our colleague?’”

Tying DEI and employee engagement

The results of the pulse survey provide visibility into the effectiveness of current plans, identify gaps and allow a chance to make any adjustments or changes.

“I greatly appreciate each individual that took the time to complete the DEI Pulse Survey because the voices from our community are key to creating an inclusive climate at Michigan Medicine,” said David J. Brown, M.D., associate vice president and associate dean of the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion and associate professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery. “It is imperative that Michigan Medicine accurately measures the impact of our DEI efforts, so we can make informed decisions to change our culture. The feedback received allows us to assess our goals toward cultivating an environment where everyone feels valued and can thrive.”

Continued focus on these topics is critical as the organization continues to build a unified culture that is also diverse and inclusive. Diversity measures highly correlate to employee engagement and net promoter scores, which measure how confident people are that the work they are doing has an impact.

“Engagement and DEI are very closely related. Communication is a common topic that we’re all working to improve across the organization. As DEI metrics show improvement so should our engagement scores,” said Lipka.

The next Employee Engagement survey is scheduled for April 2020. Look for more information in the future about the survey.