Today’s healthcare organizations face pressing challenges attracting and retaining patients and staff amidst mounting burnouts. To stay competitive and enhance experiences, many providers are turning to hospitality models. But what does hospitality actually mean?

Is it simply adding coffee stations, breakrooms, and lobby greeters? Pleasant aesthetics and amenities do set the stage for hospitality. But implemented superficially, without considering hospitality’s deeper meaning, is where the impact falls flat.

“Hospitality is a cultural mindset rooted in relationships – welcoming, caring for, and valuing people,” explained Albert Calet, Head of Healthcare MEA, MillerKnoll. “It’s far more than amenities and services.”

Our decades of research reveal implementing hospitality, defined as a way of life based on caring for others, has immense power to uplift healthcare experiences.

Defining Relationship-Based Hospitality

Hospitality’s role as a cornerstone of human civilization is seen across history and cultures – welcoming strangers, providing sustenance and shelter, encouraging trust and compassion.

In healthcare settings, hosting duties shift fluidly – from organization, to staff, to patients and families. This ‘nested hosting’ allows the role to pass between groups.

“True hospitality happens through person-to-person, needs-focused interactions,” said Calet. “It provides comfort, fosters belonging, and nurtures connections.”

Key Dimensions for Uplifting Experiences

Protection: Research shows thoughtfully planned spaces enhancing feelings of safety, security and calm can have a profoundly positive impact on individuals. From optimizing noise reduction, to providing private spaces, to offering access to nature are all important protective elements in healthcare settings.

Intellectual Welcome: Inclusive design goes beyond accessibility to foster a sense of belonging for diverse populations. Spaces that honor a multitude of traditions, needs, and preferences make everyone feel valued.

Communal Hub: Shared communal spaces that nurture trust and human connection are vital to encourage compassion and uplift spirits.

“Aligning physical spaces, processes, and culture to support relationships is critical,” emphasizes Calet.

A Differentiator in Healthcare

Cultivating this cultural mindset of true hospitality gives healthcare brands a competitive advantage in attracting patients and staff.

“Superficial hospitality falls short. To uplift experiences, it must be embedded across the organization through the products and the space that has been designed.” said Calet.

At MillerKnoll, we understand the importance of thoughtful relationship-based design to uplift experiences. True hospitality goes deeper than aesthetics and amenities to foster a cultural ethos of caring across the entire organization. By creating inclusive, calming spaces focused on relationships and care, it allows us to transform organizations and deliver true hospitality.

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