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Hank Summer 2016

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From the Desk of Henrietta: Are You #FreeToSpeak?

It took a whack on the head—literally—for Tedros Tecle to learn the importance of speaking up.

Tecle is a rad tech at our Santa Rosa Medical Center. Because of a less-than-ideal setup, he banged his head on a mobile X-ray machine. He wasn’t hurt, just really embarrassed. Enough so that he didn’t say anything.

You can guess what happened next: Another tech did the same thing and was injured. The experience motivated Tecle to become a facility workplace safety tri-chair and a champion for speaking up.

Keeping employees, managers, physicians and patients free from injury requires a #FreeToSpeak culture, one where halting work to address a safety concern is a cause for gratitude, not—as in some workplaces—scorn.

In fact, a #FreeToSpeak culture is the foundation for being able to do what we value most at Kaiser Permanente and in the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions: providing high-quality care and service at an affordable price and the best place to work for our employees.

To do that, everyone on our unit-based teams—no matter their role or job title—must feel free to chime in with suggestions about how to make things better, no matter how wacky or inconvenient their ideas might seem. That’s not yet the case; responses to KP’s annual People Pulse survey show the need for improvement.

Creating a speaking-up culture takes time. In this issue of Hank, you’ll find tips and tools to get started and keep going, whether you’re a frontline manager or a union-represented employee. And you’ll hear from the Humans of Partnership who are, more and more, #FreeToSpeak

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