What if…I thanked you for your time and commitment?

When the My VCH survey closed at midnight on October 6, 63% – or close to 11,000 employees and physicians serving in all corners of our health authority – had invested time in sharing their feedback. Yes, that number was a little shy of our original target of 75%, but it is an outstanding show of support. And for me personally, it is proof that our people want to be heard as we plan for a better VCH.

On the heels of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for everyone who took time to talk to me as I visited various sites and team meetings, and for those who were forthright in sharing their concerns – telling me openly in emails what you like and don’t like about VCH. In taking this first step, you have placed your faith in me and in our larger leadership team to listen and act on what you said.

I am thankful for the willingness of our people to engage in this process and to invest themselves in improving VCH for all of us, and for our patients and clients. Your enthusiastic response reaffirms to me that we have the right people in place to make this a truly amazing place to work.

And even if you weren’t able to complete the survey this time, for whatever reason, I am thankful for your collective passion, extraordinary skills and creativity. You are what sets VCH apart and you are what makes me want to invest my own time and energy into making this the place where you can do your best work every day.

What’s next?

I believe in what we are doing and I am “all in” for what comes next. Keeping in mind that survey responses are anonymous and confidential, we’ll have to wait a few weeks while our consultant partner compiles the results and then reports back. We’ll be looking for organization-wide trends and opportunities where senior leaders can work with staff, physicians and various employee groups to create action plans informed by YOUR feedback.

But while we wait, you’ll start hearing about the training we are investing in for every member of the VCH team – from SET members to physicians and leaders to frontline staff. It will happen in waves over the next year, and it is intended to give all of us the skills and the collective will to conceive of, lead and complete health care projects more quickly than ever before, and in a way that makes you feel proud of your work and teammates.

Clearly, there’s a lot that lies ahead, but thank you for bringing us this far. Together, we are embarking on an ambitious plan to transform care across our health authority. We all need to work together to shift how we think and act, to learn how to look at old problems in totally new ways, and ultimately, to create an environment where everyone can do their best work and reach their full potential. We took the first step and I can’t wait for the second!

Remember the prizes!

And finally, let’s not forget the prizes! If you haven’t already, visit my-vch.ca with your survey completion code in hand to see if you won a prize. All unclaimed prize codes are now presented in one master list to make searching easy: go to the prize section on the my-vch.ca website, and click on the link for unclaimed prize codes. You have until December 31 to collect. Even if you don’t win a big prize, there could be goodies coming your way; such as coffee cards or a team party for our highest achieving teams and departments. I hope you’ll raise your cup and toast each other on a job well done.




  1. Anonymous - because it's not safe here says:

    I completed the survey. I take issue with many of the questions and the way they were written to be specific to “your manager.” In my opinion, this forced employees to place blame on people who typically have no input or agency in the decision-making that creates problems. It absolved upper management from responsibility for the policies that they create. Worse, it did so strategically.

    We all know that decisions are being made at upper levels by people who have little or no front-line experience and little or no interest in the repercussions. We all know that those upper levels hire consultants from outside–at great expense–when they could just ask employees what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been with VCH long enough to know that–contrary to the “people first” propaganda–I don’t matter. I was hired based on my experience and credentials; and once hired, my opinion was no longer valued.

    This survey was nothing but another bogus attempt at “engagement.” It’s dishonest. And no number of prizes will change that.

    1. Mary Ackenhusen, CEO says:


      I appreciate your frank feedback and am glad you took the time to describe what you’re feeling, and what many others may also be feeling with less courage or interest in questioning the process and intent. I can fully understand your skepticsm but I want to use the opportunity to share my thinking.

      The culture at VCH is a reflection of its leaders, past and present, starting at the top. I and my leadership team take responsibility and accountability for what is good and not good at VCH. The survey will tell us where we can improve and I am committed to sharing the unvarnished truth as well as how I and the leadership team are going to address the issues that are revealed.

      I fully agree with you that anything that is not working well at the manager/supervisor level is not the fault of those individuals – rather the system is what makes people act in the ways that they do. This whole process should be hard on the issues, but not on the people who are just doing the best they can within a challenging system.

      Why do we have outside consultants helping us? Because making change in an organization this large and complex can not be done through trial and error. I am looking to improve as quickly as we can by asking “experts” who do this everyday on what is most likely to work. I think I can confidently say that neither I nor any leaders in VCH or likely BC have ever executed a change successfully of the type and pace that I hope to achieve. So we are starting by listening to the front line through My VCH survey so that we have the right diagnosis of the problem because things can often look much rosier at the top than on the front line.

      You’ll be encouraged I hope to hear that we’re already learning about things we do as leaders that do not create a strong organization. One of them is the need to fully live our People First Value by systematically tapping into the front line for their ideas and leadership on how to improve our system.

      Mary Ackenhusen

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