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How a Strong Hospital Culture Creates a Strong EVS Department

Building a Strong EVS Department Starts with Building a Strong Culture

Our clients recognize Soriant as bringing unmatched technical expertise to our engagements. We definitely pride ourselves in our technical capabilities, but we also understand that no team wins or loses based just on their playbook; team culture matters. With that in mind, Soriant not only brings new tools and processes to our clients, but we also take the time to build a strong culture of trust and teamwork as a foundation for success.

No two teams are alike. That’s why we take the time to understand team dynamics and needs and build those factors into our technical implementation plans. Recently, one of our clients was facing a unique situation, both technically and culturally. The EVS Department at a mid-sized California hospital was struggling – hospital cleanliness was not at target, patient satisfaction with cleanliness was poor, and the management team generally distrusted one another. While it was tempting to jump directly to the technical and process issues plaguing the team, Soriant and hospital leadership understood that lasting change would only occur if we addressed the leadership trust, teamwork, and culture. To that end, Soriant built a four-phase plan to strengthen the leadership team (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Four-Phase Approach to Building a Culture of Excellence

In Phase 1, Soriant brought the team together in a safe environment to begin the hard work of building new team relationships. We confidentially surveyed the team to understand their priorities for the department and found that the team had much more in common than they originally believed. The common gap identified by the leadership team was a lack of trust. Knowing that trust can mean different things to different people, Soriant led an exercise to define trust for the team. The resulting document (see Figure 2 for a sample) became a touchstone for all future work. We began each work session by returning to the document and discussing how did and didn’t meet our commitments as individuals.

Figure 2: Sample of “What Does Trust Look Like?” Document

What Does Trust Look Like?

  1. Honesty – It’s the foundation of all we do.
  2. We have robust discussions in private but speak with one voice when a decision is made.
  3. No public contradictions (we don’t “throw anyone under the bus”).
  4. Push down and bubble up – refer issues to the appropriate person.
  5. We all follow the same process. If there isn’t a process, we work together to create one.
In Phase 2, the team shifted their focus to better understanding the leadership team roles and their relationship to one another. Beginning with the existing job descriptions, the team took each duty and responsibility and mapped them to a Venn diagram (see Figure 3) that allowed them to easily see where duties overlapped and where they were unique.

Figure 3: Venn Diagram of Responsibilities

In Phase 3, Soriant led the team through a structured SWOT exercise to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. With the SWOT analysis and the information from the first two phases, the team was able to construct a shared set of mission, vision, and values statements for the EVS Department (see Figure 4). The mission, vision, and values statement reflected the shared goals and ideas of the team and served as a unifying summary of what the team aspired to be.

Figure 4: EVS Department Mission, Vision, and Values


The Environmental Services Department exists to provide an infection-free and clean environment that creates a great impression.


The Environmental Services Department strives to be recognized as top performer in patient satisfaction and employee engagement.


The Environmental Services Department believes these are the keys to our success:

  • Consistency – We treat each other and our patients consistently and predictably.
  • Responsibility – We own our actions.
  • Teamwork – We work as one team toward a common purpose
  • Compassion – We show that we care about our patients and one another
  • Process – We have documented, repeatable processes for accomplishing our work


With a solid foundation of trust and a shared vision established, the team shifted its focus in Phase 4 to memorializing and sharing their individual accountability plans. These documents defined what and how each team member was committing to living the mission, vision, and values and demonstrating trust. The team gave one another permission to safely call out when they strayed from their accountability commitments.

Like all humans, the team wasn’t perfect in living up to its commitments; however, the four-phase process Soriant led them through established a new level of trust and expectations among the leadership team. Some team members chose to depart the organization when it became clear they weren’t well-aligned with the vision. Other team members changed their behaviors and used the tools to strengthen their leadership skills. Overall, investing in building the right leadership culture allowed the team to leave old problems behind and focus on the tools and processes that Soriant brought to bear to address improving the department’s work output and consistency.

If you’d like to learn more about how Soriant can help you with your technical challenges and build a strong hospital culture, please contact us any time.

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