The Lancaster Chamber strives to provide opportunity for local business and community leaders to share their insight and perspective on a variety of current topics.
This Words That Activate Change series is focused on uplifting voices in our community that encourage dialogue, cultivate transformation, offer thought-provoking ideas, and challenge all of us to be better, be stronger, and, most importantly, be advocates for systematic change within both our community and our workforce.
Our thirteenth article is by Alexandra Jorgensen, Chief Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness Officer, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. Alexandra joined Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health in September of 2017 as Chief Human Resources Officer and was promoted in 2018 to Chief Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness Officer where her accountability also includes Performance Improvement, Patient Experience and Operational Analytics. Ms. Jorgensen has over 19 years of Human Resources experience with proven expertise in Strategy and Planning, Organizational Effectiveness, Talent Management, Union Negotiations, Policy Application, Recruitment, Retention, Employee and Labor relations, Benefits and Compensation. Prior to joining Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Ms. Jorgensen held the position of Chief Human Resources Officer/Associate Vice President, Human Resources for the University of Miami, UHealth System and The University of Miami, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. The network includes 3 hospitals, more than 30 outpatient facilities in 4 counties, and the largest physician group in the state with over 1,200 physicians. In her current role, Ms. Jorgensen has responsibility for the strategic and operational workforce plans to help attract, retain, develop and engage the talent needed to advance the mission of the organization as well as drive performance improvement and provide an exceptional patient experience. Ms. Jorgensen holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Ursinus College.
Fostering an Inclusive Work Environment
By Alexandra Jorgensen, Human Resources and Organization Effectiveness Officer at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health
As a Human Resources leader, I’m often asked why diversity, equity and inclusion (D.E.I.) are important for an employer, and whether they are efforts driven by compliance requirements or something else. For me, this is a very easy question to answer. Embracing D.E.I. should not be viewed as a “have to do.” It’s the right thing to do—and, ultimately, good for our businesses and community.
As a health-care provider, we view our ability to recruit and retain a diverse workforce that reflects the community we’re called upon to serve as an imperative, both for business and moral reasons. In health care, workforce diversity may well determine how someone selects a particular medical facility — or whether they seek out any medical care at all.
This requires us to extend our definition of diversity beyond race and gender to include sexual orientation, backgrounds, religious beliefs, skills, aptitudes, as well as diversity of thought and more. The better a patient is represented and understood, the better they can be treated—which, ultimately, allows us to better deliver on our mission. Simply put, representation puts people at ease, and that’s something that’s beneficial to business outcomes no matter what industry you’re in.
The benefits of a diverse workforce are fueled further by fostering an inclusive environment, enabling all of the different backgrounds, perspectives and ideas to feel like they belong and are valued and respected. A culture of diversity and inclusion generates productive discussions and prevents “group think” (where people tend to not deviate from the group’s values and mentality). When a company culture allows its different voices to be heard and integrated, it often leads to better problem-solving and innovative practices, ensuring the needs of those you serve are more effectively addressed.
I see this in action every day throughout LG Health, as teams from every department and care unit gather around their respective huddle board to discuss goals, share ideas and address concerns, all with the aim of learning from each other and achieving better patient outcomes. It’s clear that when employees feel welcomed into a work environment where they feel valued and heard, regardless of race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation, it encourages them to bring their best selves to work and better engage in the goals of the organization.
Applying a D.E.I. mindset to everyday business operations can also have benefits beyond the walls of your business. It can go a long way toward making our communities stronger, safer and healthier.
For example, through a partnership LG Health has with ASSETS, a local non-profit organization dedicated to ethical economic development, we’ve established an intentional approach to procurement so that everyone throughout the health system has the knowledge and tools needed to evaluate their purchases and vendor relationships through a local, ethical, and diverse lens. Leveraging our significant purchasing power creates opportunities for underrepresented populations, helping build local wealth and ultimately impact local health. We hope to inspire other local businesses and institutions to do the same.
I love hearing the personal stories from our employees, from all walks of life, who have grown their careers here because they feel like their own unique life story is valued and heard. While there’s no question that D.E.I. is good for business, creating a welcoming, engaging, supportive, collaborative and safe work environment becomes very personal to me when I hear those stories.
My hope is for everyone who becomes a part of LG Health to feel they can authentically live their legacy and give their best to our patients, community and each other. If they do, they become personally invested, as professionals and as community members, leaving a positive impact on everything and everyone around them.
Catch up on other articles in the series:
Stay tuned for even more perspectives this year and in 2021, as we hear from a variety of local business and community leaders sharing insightful commentary on our society, our community, and our workforce.