IH leaders humbled

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m.

Interior Health has responded to Castanet News with a statement from Mal Griffin, IH vice-president of human resources. Griffin says that last month, senior leaders from across Interior Health were asked to participate in an online engagement review of Interior Health’s leadership culture.

"The thoughts shared with the CEO and senior leadership team included comments on positive work that is happening across IH and outlined where individuals felt there could be improvement. All responses were honest and thoughtful and showed the extent to which our employees value a healthy work environment."

Griffin went on to make it clear he wanted to acknowledge that there were some contributions that were difficult for the CEO and members of the senior executive to hear.

"However, we deeply value our leaders’ experience and opinions and we have let them know that their contributions have been heard. Interior Health is committed to a healthy culture because it creates an environment to provide the best possible care to our patients, clients and residents."

Griffin confirmed IH will be moving forward with continued online engagement, "with those same leaders, where together, we can identify opportunities to solidify a positive workplace culture."

ORIGINAL: 1 p.m.

An internal memo from Interior Health CEO Chris Mazurkewich to all staff calls into question his own leadership and the culture inside IH.

Castanet has received a copy of that memo, in response to an internal survey of almost 600 IH leaders, which indicated a negative view of leadership.

In the memo, Mazurkewich says: "Your comments were most appreciated and you have collectively spoken very decisively. The exchange was a chance for your input on positives and negatives from your perspective. 558 leaders have clearly spoken, with the top 20 ranked comments containing zero positive comments."

The memo illustrates the impact the CEO and board have on culture inside the health authority.

"With us having 3 Board chairs in my 25-month tenure (versus 3 Chairs over IH's first 14 years) as CEO of IH this means I am personally and solely responsible. Please accept my personal apology for being such a poor leader to you and your respective teams."

The memo indicates a new survey will be conducted to determine the best way to improve culture by addressing the top 20 most significant issues.

Mazurkewich stated in the memo: "I did not participate in any way in the December one and will not participate in the January process. I promise to share your top 20 December comments with the Board, though wistfully I would like to have had one top-ranked 20 positive comments, at their next meeting so they can factor your collective wisdom into their 17/18 evaluation of me, decide how it will influence my 18/19 objectives, and/or decide if I am capable of holding the CEO leadership role."

Mazurkewich defended his position, pointing to an internal video in which he shared: "You will be bloodied if you are in the game and listen only to critics who are in the game. The leaders of IH are in the game and have clearly provided their collective insight.... scoring me with their top 20 ranking ... all of which is an opportunity to improve!"

Mazurkewich signs off: Sincerely yours, Truly humbled and soul-searching CEO.

Castanet has reached out to Interior Health, however, a comment by the authority has not been provided.

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