The Importance of a Culture of Belonging in ASCs

In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) have emerged as beacons of efficient and effective surgical care delivery. This month's ASC Insights article will delve into the imperative role of fostering a culture of belonging within ASCs, emphasizing that it extends far beyond altruism, impacting both organizational dynamics and performance.

The quest for fostering a culture of belonging within ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) isn't merely an altruistic endeavor but a strategic business imperative. Extensive research spanning the last decade has revealed the profound impact of diversity, inclusion, and belonging on both workplace culture and performance.

ASCs that prioritize these values tend to inspire their employees to not only work harder but also stay with the organization for longer durations, evolving into more cohesive and collaborative team players. This commitment to diversity and inclusion leads to an enhanced level of discretionary effort among employees, ultimately culminating in elevated retention rates.

Diversity's influence isn't restricted to employee morale but rather extends to how an organization operates. A diverse workforce within ASCs possesses a unique advantage – the ability to design systems and patient experiences that cater to a wide spectrum of individuals with distinct clinical needs and outcomes.

As the patient population served by ASCs becomes increasingly diverse, the ability to understand and respond to these varying needs becomes pivotal for delivering high-quality surgical care. A culture of belonging enhances the ASC's capacity to provide personalized and patient-centered services, creating a positive impact on clinical outcomes.


Implementing substantial changes, such as fostering a culture of belonging in ASCs, is not without its challenges. Resistance to change can manifest in various forms, from passive resistance to overt hostility, and it may even lead to reduced effort among team members.

To ensure the success of such initiatives, both leaders and ASCs must proactively anticipate and understand the sources of resistance. Addressing the underlying causes requires a multifaceted approach, which may involve engaging sponsors, customizing communication strategies, and modifying roles within the organization to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment.

Moreover, a data-driven approach is at the core of creating a culture of belonging in ASCs. Collecting data through tools such as employee experience surveys, focus groups, and interviews provides valuable insights into how different employee groups perceive the organization's culture.

The analysis of this data helps in identifying specific areas that may require improvement and aids in understanding the differential impact on various segments within the organization. This data-driven approach ensures that the efforts to foster a culture of belonging are rooted in a solid understanding of the organization's current state and the experiences of its employees.

In today's competitive labor market, an organization's commitment – including that of an ASC –  to creating a culture of belonging significantly influences its ability to attract and retain top talent. This is especially pertinent for younger individuals entering the workforce. Recent surveys indicate that a substantial 80 percent of today's workforce views an organization's culture of belonging as a vital factor in their employment decision-making process.

For ASCs, this emphasizes the importance of not only embracing these principles but also actively communicating their commitment to prospective employees. Organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion are better positioned to attract top talent, ensuring a steady influx of skilled healthcare providers who share their values and commitment to delivering exceptional patient care.

To instill a culture of belonging within an ambulatory surgery center, it's essential to follow a structured approach. This involves securing proper sponsorship from leadership to acquire resources and garner support, defining a clear mission and objectives for the initiative, establishing transparent governance for employee resource groups with specific guidelines, and potentially forming a steering committee for larger organizations with multiple groups to ensure alignment with the broader inclusion objective. Regular, continuous measurement of the impact of these inclusion efforts is crucial to assess their effectiveness in achieving the intended goals and maintaining a thriving culture of belonging.

Fostering a culture of belonging in ASCs is not just a feel-good practice; it's a strategic necessity that significantly enhances employee well-being and contributes to organizational success, including better retention and clinical performance.