May 10, 2016

Luke Gregory: Culture survey best way to hear everyone's voice

Luke Gregory

Luke Gregory

This article provided by VUMC Human Resources.

As head of one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals, Luke Gregory, CEO of Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, constantly stresses his top commitments to employees — to offer the very best health care to the communities we serve and to help make VUMC the best employer he can.

The staff of 2,500 has a lot to be proud of on both fronts. So we recently sat down with Gregory to find out how he hopes to use the upcoming VUMC Culture Survey to deliver on his promise of making VUMC a top-notch employer. In addition, he explained how he sees the survey as a commitment by management to be good listeners and believes it matches well with our Credo and institutional behavior. (Read this May 10 article to find out more about the survey, which opens Monday, May 16 and closes May 29 here. 

VUMC: Why is it important for my voice to be heard?

Luke Gregory: The strength of the organization is from the talent of each employee. In fact, the greatest asset that we have is our people — their energy, their intellect and their desire. What we know is if we ask and everyone is transparent and honest, we can be a better employer. The culture survey is a best practice way for a large organization, such as ours, to effectively hear each voice and give everyone a chance to convey their challenges, opportunities, excitement or concerns.

VUMC: What does engagement mean to you?

Gregory: What it means to me is a very genuine relationship. I think that is what engagement is. It means we intentionally reach out to employees and employees intentionally reach out to leadership, in a comfortable manner, to create the best organization we can together.

VUMC: What are some of the ways your organization has used previous survey feedback to improve the work environment (wins?)  What are you most proud of?

Gregory: There is a lot to be proud of here at Children’s Hospital, as we’ve had some great wins around retention and we’re closing the communication gap between leadership and staff identified in the last survey results. We’ve been very intentional with leadership conversations, town hall meetings and rounding. At Children’s Hospital, we do monthly staff gatherings, where employees are randomly drawn to meet with me and my direct reports to listen to them and keep them apprised of what is going on in the organization. In these meetings, I also like to focus on retention by asking them “what can I do to keep you here in three years?” I want to put a face on who “they” are in our organization. I don’t want any ambiguity or anonymity. I want employees to know who works in the organization and is leading decisions for the organization. These gatherings help us to do that.

(Over the course of Gregory’s tenure here, he’s conducted 43 of these gatherings and has talked personally with about 800 employees.)