Objective: Motivated staff are needed to improve quality and safety in healthcare organizations. Stimulating and engaging staff to participate in accreditation processes is a considerable challenge. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of health executives, managers and frontline clinicians who participated in organizational accreditation processes: what motivated them to engage, and what benefits accrued? Design/participants: The setting was a large public teaching hospital undergoing a planned review of its accreditation status. A research protocol was employed to conduct semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 30 staff with varied organizational roles, from different professions, to discuss their involvement in accreditation. Thematic analysis of the data was undertaken. Results: The analysis identified three categories, each with sub-themes: accreditation response (reactions to accreditation and the value of surveys); survey issues (participation in the survey, learning through interactions and constraints) and documentation issues (self-assessment report, survey report and recommendations). Participants' occupational role focuses their attention to prioritize aspects of the accreditation process. Their motivations to participate and the benefits that accrue to them can be positively self-reinforcing. Participants have a desire to engage collaboratively with colleagues to learn and validate their efforts to improve. Conclusion: Participation in the accreditation process promoted a quality and safety culture that crossed organizational boundaries. The insights into worker motivation can be applied to engage staff to promote learning, overcome organizational boundaries and improve services. The findings can be applied to enhance involvement with accreditation and, more broadly, to other quality and safety activities.