Photo representing culture change happening in healthcare with doctor and nurse having a discussion over a clipboard as colleagues chat in the background

Client Story

Driving Engagement and Culture Change at Gundersen Health System

Gundersen needed the energy of all 8,000 employees to improve its excellence in patient care. It was up to leaders to drive engagement and culture change to make it happen.

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The Need

Needed to drive culture change, harnessing the energy and engagement of all 8,000 employees to create excellence

The Solution

Gundersen Health System took advantage of the flexibility of a DDI Leadership Development Subscription to create custom experiences for its entire workforce

The Result

Measurable culture change, better leadership conversations, stronger relationships, and a common language to solve problems

Gundersen Health System was excelling in driving things like equality, an excellent patient experience, and financial health. But to drive even better excellence, they needed to fully engage the energy of all 8,000 employees.

That’s when they turned to DDI. Gundersen used content from DDI’s Leadership Development Subscription to train both their leaders and individual contributors to communicate better with each other. With an Enterprise Subscription, they benefitted from unlimited seats and the most flexibility to integrate DDI content into development for their entire workforce.

The results? They’re building stronger relationships and having better conversations. And when a conflict comes up, they have the common tools and language to solve the problem. Most of all, they’re well on their way to seeing measurable progress toward culture change.

And at the end of the day, the culture and relationships driven by Gundersen’s leaders create a better health care experience for their patients and their families.


Janine Luz:

My name is Janine Luz and I'm the Vice President of Learning at Gundersen Health System, which is an integrated health system based in Wisconsin. We have about six different hospitals, one flagship hospital, and then several small hospitals in regional areas. 

We were doing very well on quality, very well on patient experience, and our finances were in pretty good shape for a healthcare system. But what was really kind of hovering around the middle was our employee engagement. We said, what we really need is to be able to get the energy of all 8,000 employees as we were going to have to harness everyone's energy and all of the work that's going forward.

What we started looking at is when you do culture change, it's really about behaviors and how people interact with each other, and so we looked at what are the skills that we need to build for leaders. They really need to be able to ask great questions and be able to not be in so much of a telling mode, but be able to nurture every single staff member that they had to be able to again, move the department or the area forward that they were leading. 

We worked with our DDI consultants to say, how might we start? How might we look at a two to three-year plan? We knew it wasn't going to happen overnight and they really helped guide us, help curate different training and tools to support us. Then, each year we revisit it and we say, what is it that we need to do to make a change? And the comprehensive solution has been really instrumental in us being able to move forward. 

The Interaction Essentials, so both the Key Principles and the Interaction Guidelines have really become a core of how we all interact with each other and what we train basically every single employee that comes into the organization. 

The impact that the training that we've been doing is having is we are really measuring culture change through our engagement survey. So it really is that the way you change culture and the way you measure culture is employees' perceptions and so we are starting to get some data on it. 

We say that culture change takes five to seven years, so it's a longer journey, but what we are seeing is that we have staff and leaders who are starting to have really good conversations. We hear from leaders who are now able to have this really good skill that they can work with their staff. So when again, a staff member is, maybe having a challenging situation, they now both have the exact same language to be able to use to say, well, let's grab a discussion planner and let's go through it together. 

So not only is it helping the manager give skills to their staff so that it helps leverage their time, it then also gives staff members the ability to build relationships with their coworkers and we certainly have had people say that they take these skills home and they're able to use them there too. 

It's [DDI Enterprise Subscription] such a breadth of tools to be able to use. The other thing would be is as we're doing reinforcement of skills, we were able to grab all these varieties of, whether it's online learning or an accelerator or other things that we have access to, and then be able to really reinforce the training to get the best value from that investment. 

What excites me the most is I believe we're making a difference in people's lives. So I think when people come into work and they have skills and they have the energy they need to be able to work with their colleagues, the bottom line is that helps our patients and their family. 

It's amazing what skill building to be able to communicate and to be able to connect and have great conversations can do in really such a broad range of people's lives.

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