Do the right thing

How culture affects reputation

Today, nothing happens in a vacuum. Negative interactions spread rapidly and their effects can reverberate far beyond the point of origin. We frequently see companies in the news, attempting to rebuild reputations that have been damaged through actions taken by their employees.

Often, people think they are following company policy. And that may indeed be the case. If employees perceive their management values policy or profit over people, they will not feel empowered to do the right thing first. Your corporate culture influences how people treat each other and that can have an enormous positive or negative impact on your brand.

Corporate culture is, I believe, an organization’s most important attribute and it is directly linked to reputation. Culture is the manifestation of your values and defines what matters most to your stakeholders. Done right, it communicates a shared mission that motivates people and brings them together to accomplish meaningful work. Done wrong, it is an unsustainable misalignment of purpose that can harm people inside and outside of your organization.

Values and promises

At Akron Children’s Hospital, our most important value is our belief in family and it starts with our family of workers. Every person plays an important role on our team and understands their responsibility to advance our mission of service. Our hospital was founded on three promises in 1890, and they remain the vital core of our culture. Those promises — to treat all children as if they were our own, to treat others as they would like to be treated and to never turn a child away — inform every interaction we have with our patients, families and colleagues.

The first promise ensures we respect the value of each child who comes through our doors. We pledge to look past their current condition, to see them for who they are, recognize their individual needs and take great care of their bodies, minds and spirits.

The second promise ensures we respect not just our patients, but our fellow employees and every person we encounter during the course of each day. We work constantly to maintain a safe, supportive environment that enables compassion, discussion and continuous learning.

The third promise ensures we treat every person equally and fairly. In 1890, that meant children would not be turned away because of the color of their skin. Today, it means we will do our best to help every child reach their full potential. We aim to make life better for all children, whatever their background or circumstance.

Focus on what matters

When you respect, trust and empower people with responsibility, they give their best in return. Our workforce is all about doing the right thing and their positive attitude is integral to how our hospital is perceived. Our culture helps us attract and retain good people. It helps us build collaborative relationships with our community partners and supporters. But most importantly, it keeps our focus on treating people with great care. Our culture ensures our employees see every interaction as a new opportunity to create a positive experience for our patients and their families.

William Considine has served as CEO at Akron Children’s Hospital since 1979. He has dedicated his career and personal life to improving pediatric care and the quality of life for children and families.