Nov 29, 2022
3 Ways to Create a Culture of Belonging in Your Pharmacy
It's no secret that in the past few years, the United States has faced some significant challenges: a worldwide pandemic, businesses closing their doors, substantial layoffs across the country, inflation, and a looming recession. As a result, the United States job market has been a roller coaster ride, with many industries still desperate for employees.
From pharmacy staff burnout to slow wage growth, pharmacies are no exception.
Finding solutions to some of the labor troubles pharmacies face across the nation may take some time. However, one vital thing they can do to start alleviating these challenges that should always be a priority regardless, is creating a culture of belonging, inclusion, and diversity.
What is company culture?
If you Google "company culture," you are sure to find various definitions. But in summary, company culture is the informal and formal systems a business has in place to get things done in the workplace. The values, standards, behaviors, and attitudes make up one's work environment.
Company culture is fundamental to any business
Company culture plays a massive role in your pharmacy's success. One survey found that 40% of people working reported company culture as something that matters most to them. Investing in the pharmacy's culture brings both short-term and long-term benefits, such as:
Attracting and retaining top talent
Enhancing employee engagement
Giving your pharmacy a competitive edge in the market
What makes a healthy company culture?
No one business is the same, so neither is the definition of a healthy company culture. However, a few standards are key in every company, no matter the industry: compassion, respect, psychological safety, inclusivity, diversity, accountability, trust, and transparency.
How to build a culture of belonging
Whether you are overhauling your entire company culture or looking for ways to become more inclusive and diverse, these tips will help you build a pharmacy culture that makes your team feel valued, seen, and heard.
It starts at the top
Building a culture of diversity and inclusivity starts with the leadership team in your pharmacy.
Start by assessing and reflecting on your leadership style. Ask yourself, do I lead with an inclusive style? Inclusive leadership is a commitment to ensure all team members:
Feel valued in their positions/ a sense of belonging
Are treated equally
Have access to resources and support to do their jobs and grow
How can you implement this leadership style in your pharmacy? Consider the six traits of inclusive leadership: self-awareness of bias, fostering social awareness with an open-mind, humility, listening that leads to understanding, creating effective connections, and leading with vulnerability.
Instilling these traits into the pharmacy
Taking the above traits and putting them into action will show your team your dedication to creating a culture of belonging. There are different ways to do this, including:
Developing an advisory committee- A diverse group of employees who will give honest feedback on what workplace behaviors encourage inclusion and which don't.
Share your learning journey- It's human nature to have an unconscious bias towards someone and something. Recognizing and acknowledging yours can help express humility and encourage team members to do the same, not just with each other but with the customers they serve.
Continuously engage in new situations- As a pharmacy leader, you should look for opportunities to immerse yourself in all facets of your business. That could mean working as a cashier once a week or engaging pharmacy customers with open-ended questions to find ways to serve them better.
Decrease the risk of (unintentional) consequences when developing initiatives
While you have every good intention of building a culture of belonging in your pharmacy, there are potential adverse effects that may occur when they are implemented incorrectly or without careful consideration.
So, what can you do to avoid these consequences? Start by avoiding the following:
Tokenism- Hiring a limited amount of people from a specific minority group to prevent criticism
Assimilation over integration- Assimilation encourages new employees to adapt to the rest of the team without empowering them to bring their ideas
Dehumanization- Not seeing your team as people first, and workers second.
Creating a culture of belonging for your pharmacy can bring out the best in your team, attract high-quality talent, build trust and accountability, and promote innovation and growth.
While building a diverse and inclusive workplace can be challenging, the benefits to your employees, customers, and your pharmacy are critical to providing the environment they deserve.