Developing a Thriving Organizational Culture in a Growing and Increasingly Diverse Health System

December 26, 2023

In today’s healthcare environment, enhancing organizational culture has never been more important or challenging. It requires dedicated focus and the need for marketers to adapt to more diverse employee, leader, and physician communication needs.

// By Brian Griffin //

Brian GriffinHow do you build and maintain a strong organizational culture in a rapidly growing health system? That’s the challenge Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) faced over the past decade as it went through tremendous growth.

For many years, LVHN operated as a three-hospital organization serving Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, Pennsylvania, with a combined population of less than 650,000. “In those days, the network employed just a few thousand employees and was known for a close-knit, family-like culture,” says Kirstin Reed, manager of Internal Communications and Engagement.


Kirstin Reed, manager, Internal Communications and Engagement for Lehigh Valley Health Network

But in 2014 LVHN embarked on an ambitious acquisition and expansion, adding existing hospitals and healthcare facilities, and constructing others to become a major regional health system in eastern Pennsylvania. As the network grew, its service area population ballooned to nearly 1.6 million and its workforce increased to 20,000 more-diverse employees.

“From a culture perspective, this made it more difficult to retain the same level of relationships and connectedness among colleagues that has always been a hallmark of LVHN,” says Pamela Riddell, vice president of Communications.

To address the challenge, the Strategic Communications Team developed a multiphase initiative designed to:

  • Enhance employee-to-employee engagement across the network.
  • Expand digital tools and capabilities to improve employee, leader, and physician communications.

Read on to learn how LVHN implemented these strategies to enhance its organizational culture. This case study was highlighted in a recent conference by the American Hospital Association’s Society for Health Care Strategy & Market Development.

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