Early on when I first started doing Patient Experience training, I spent a lot of time talking about all the ways we can better connect with patients, starting with simple courtesy and friendliness and moving to more personalized interactions with them, like the Platinum Rule.
The nurses, medical assistants, reception and scheduling staff were always very complimentary on their evaluation forms after completing one of my sessions. But I seemed to miss the mark when it came to the nonclinical staff who didn’t interact with patients. Over and over again, I saw the same comment, “Good presenter, but I don’t deal with patients. This training had nothing to do with my job.”
The Information Technology staff saw themselves as I.T. experts who were there to ensure that users were able to log in and everything computer-related was working. Working in an office building or a hospital didn’t seem to matter. Their approach to their work was identical.
Same thing with the finance team. They were brilliant when it came to budgets and forecasts and managing accounts receivable and accounts payable. But they hadn’t connected the dots as to how their role impacts patient experience.
My talking about connecting to purpose and focusing on the tactical ways we connect with patients and their families didn’t resonate at all with them.
So I started focusing on company culture.
My trainings began to emphasize everyone’s role in creating exceptional service for everyone: patients, their families, and other employees. It wasn’t just fixing a computer system, it was ensuring that the electronic medical record didn’t go down right in the middle of an exam, creating a whole bunch of headaches for staff and patients alike. The ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ began to drive the content of each session.
Soon, my evaluation forms were reflecting the change and, more importantly, the patient satisfaction and employee engagement scores were improving. People in all departments started feeling like they were a part of something bigger, more important and meaningful.
When putting together new employee orientation and on-boarding, it’s imperative to help every individual understand how his or her role contributes to delivering exceptional experiences at every turn. Once employees see themselves as part of the process, you won’t hear “This training has nothing to do with my job,” again.