Creating a great place to work for all

Podcast - October 7, 2020

Professional Development

Leadership Development

Culture & Engagement

Andy Stonehouse MA

The past year has seen what might be called the perfect storm in America, as a health crisis, environmental chaos, and massive protests focused on racial justice and equality have all unfolded at the same time. 

Michael C. Bush, MS, is CEO of Great Place to Work, a global analytics and consulting firm. He said he hopes that the momentum established by the Black Lives Matter movement and new thinking stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic can be channeled into positive and inclusive changes in the culture of the healthcare workplace – changes which can help make the American employment landscape a better place for all employees. 

On an episode of the MGMA Insights podcast, Bush said that the trying times of 2020, with unprecedented stresses from so many directions, call on inclusive leadership to help set the tone in a workplace. 

“A leader has to be humble. That is the number one characteristic, and they have to be curious about other people and learning from other people,” he said. “You take a humble person and a curious person, and they’re listening, they’re changing when they’re listening, which is the ultimate show of respect.” 

That open-ended and inclusive leadership is not always instinctual, however, said Bush, who delivered a general session presentation at MGMA’s virtual Medical Practice Excellence Conference.

“Not everybody can do it,” he said. “It starts with humility. Humility means that you’re right-sized. You’re basically saying you don’t know everything, which is the truth. When you start there, then everything’s possible. If you can’t start there, it’s not going to happen.” 

Equally important, Bush said, is then taking that curiosity and applying it to every employee in a healthcare work environment. 

“In the average workplace, it’s more than half the people that feel like they’re not included or they don’t belong,” he said. “They see that same manager interacting with other people in a way that somehow they’re in the same club, and they wonder why that is. I always talk to people about how a great place to work is better for business. If you have everyone maximizing their human potential, instead of half the people just feeling like they have a job, now you’ve got a powerhouse organization.” 

At a much broader level, Bush said that the racial turmoil of 2020 should be viewed as an opportunity to address social change in the workplace, which began with pandemic quarantines and office closures. 

“We started a web series called ‘Better Together,’ which we wanted to be a go-to place to start collecting and sharing best practices for people working from home,” he said. “And then with George Floyd’s murder, I wrote a blog about the two viruses – one being eight months old and the other one being 401 years old, called racism. I got to work on trying to encourage companies to acknowledge this and speak about it and create listening sessions.” 

Bush said those conversations have never been easy, especially in a workplace setting, but he added that firms that have provided avenues for discussion about the significant issues facing America today will ultimately see a more unified workforce. 

“We got right into putting tools together that we could give leaders to know how to wade into this pool of uncertainty, and the response was remarkably good,” he said. “The response was, however, remarkably for companies that did nothing, who wanted to pretend that nothing had happened. For those who did, they got the support and care from their employees who were glad they were talking about these uncomfortable things.

“I’m an eternal optimist, so I believe in the long run, it’s going to shape the next 250 years of America in a positive way. It’s not going to be easy, but that is my sincere belief.”

‚ÄčIf you like the show, please rate and review it wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher or countless other platforms to make sure you never miss an episode. If you have topics you'd like us to cover or experts you'd like us to interview, email us at, or reach out to MGMA Sr. Editor and MGMA Insights podcast host Daniel Williams on Twitter at @MGMADaniel

Thanks to Humana for sponsoring this episode.
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About the Author

Andy Stonehouse MA
Freelance Writer and Educator Colorado

Andy Stonehouse, MA, is a Colorado-based freelance writer and educator. His professional credits include serving as editor of Employee Benefit News and a variety of financial and insurance publications, in addition to work in the recreation and transportation fields.


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