avatar

Living AIDET (2 of 2)

In my last post I talked about the importance of leveraging the AIDET system (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, and Thank You) to achieve optimal healthcare service outcomes. An important piece of the service and communication puzzle in the healthcare industry (as in many industries) is the recognition that part of the role of support services is to take care of individuals as well as facilities.

The question is, how do we make that happen? We can’t assume that teaching people once is enough—building and maintaining a culture of service is a process, not an event. Implementing AIDET, like implementing any organized framework of service and communication, requires an ongoing commitment to education and training/support that has to be built in to the system. Doing that effectively means taking it a step further.

AIDET is a great tool, but it’s all about answering the questions of what and how. To really get the message to stick, we have to educate our team on the why as well. When we can equip our employees with the rationale—when we can help them to understand the value and the importance of what they are doing—they are more dedicated (and more successful). Today, at a time when manners and civility are declining, that isn’t always easy: refocusing on service and civility is really about un-learning some of our ingrained bad habits, especially rudeness. It really gets back to “old-fashioned” ideals of decorum, manners and dignity, which can mean so much to a sick person’s recovery.

Whether it’s a kind word, or an employee going the extra mile to make sure that a patient’s room is comfortable, little things matter. But you can’t get there without a professional culture of service. And great service doesn’t just happen: you need education and training and reinforcement.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
Categories: Business Success
avatar

Believing in AIDET (1 of 2)

The AIDET framework is taking hold in facilities across the healthcare industry. An acronym that stands for Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, and Thank You, AIDET is increasingly recognized as an important step forward toward the goal of creating a more welcoming, more comfortable and more beneficial atmosphere for patients.

While AIDET encapsulates the key elements of communication, empathy and personal engagement, the success of this system is based on your team’s belief in its value and importance. It’s about having a model that makes people feel comfortable in what can often be uncomfortable—and sometimes frightening or stressful—circumstances. Hospitals and healthcare facilities are beginning to understand the critically important truth: the best way to encourage healing is to make people as comfortable as they can be. Communicating to patients with clarity, and treating them with courtesy and consideration has very tangible benefits.

Like education, healthcare has become an incredibly competitive field—both around the country and here in Southeast Michigan. The competition is fierce and the choices are varied—at some point, there will be winners and losers. Those healthcare institutions that make the cut are going to be those who recognize that, while practicing great medicine and achieving a high standard of care is vital, treating patients is also about treating people. Clinicians are trained to maintain a certain degree of emotional detachment—which makes it all the more important that support services personnel use AIDET to help bridge that “empathy gap.”

Categories: The Industry
avatar

The value of awards: Attracting top talent

Do awards matter? It may seem like a silly question, but I believe that the answer—which is, to my mind, a resounding yes—can spark some important discussion about what accolades and formal recognition really mean. While some folks might perceive awards to be frivolous or unimportant, I believe it’s important to recognize that awards are much more than just a trophy on a shelf: the best and most prestigious honors are a yardstick that helps us to measure our personal and professional progress.

Team awards are always gratifying, but individual awards should also resonate across the entire firm. If we didn’t have the right team, the right people and the right processes in place, those awards don’t happen. When Powerlink’s own Scott Rice is selected as one of Crain’s “40 Under 40,” or when I am fortunate enough to be included among Michigan Chronicle’s 100 Black President’s & CEOs, there is an entire team that has worked hard to make that possible. I believe that awards are fundamentally not just about recognition; they’re about affirmation. They are about letting the world know that we are doing things the right way—but also reaffirming internally, to our team and our leadership, that the hard work we are doing is paying off. They help showcase our great work and raise our reputation in the industry.

Perhaps most importantly of all, they can help create a positive feedback loop where our ability to build our brand ultimately attracts the best talent in the industry—subsequently strengthening our ability to grow and do great work for our clients. And while you can’t necessarily put it in a trophy case, the great client feedback that comes from that added value is the most important award of all.

Categories: Business Success
avatar

The business case for diversity

As a Detroit-area business that works closely with diverse clients in diverse industries and communities, Powerlink encounters diversity every day. Maybe “encounters” is not quite strong enough: we strive for diversity. We nurture it. We promote it, and we celebrate it. In fact, diversity is one of our core values.

Here is the important point, however: the reason we do this is not from a sense of altruism, but because hard-earned experience in this industry has demonstrated to us over and over again that diversity makes us a more successful business. Diversity works. There is value in difference. Whether that difference comes from different educational backgrounds, different experiences and skillsets, different cultural and professional perspectives, or simply from growing up in a different neighborhood or another part of the country, it all matters. And it matters in ways that can have a meaningful positive impact on a professional culture and a bottom line. Prioritizing diversity does not mean lowering standards or making exceptions; quite the contrary. Our clients rely on us to provide qualified candidates—the best of the best.

Making the business case for diversity is not difficult. We see it over and over again. A vibrant, dynamic and diverse group of employees is the single best way to build a strong, resilient, and engaged company; a business that promotes flexibility and innovation. It might seem counterintuitive, but when you bring together smart, hard-working folks from different backgrounds in pursuit of a common professional goal, the result is frequently a more unified, connected and cohesive workplace that gives exceptional service to all of our clients.

Categories: Business Success
avatar

Checking it twice: embracing the Checklist Manifesto

In my last post, I talked a little bit about the ideas outlined in Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto, focusing on some of the big-picture professional benefits that making broader use of checklists might provide. But when I think a little bit about the specifics of how to apply these ideas in our industry, I can’t help but get excited for the myriad ways in which Powerlink and our clients can benefit from applying some of Dr. Gawande’s ideas.

I mentioned before that I think that a big part of the value of checklists comes from setting clear and consistent processes and standards—even for seemingly mundane tasks. It’s the way Powerlink has always approached every task and every problem we face in facilities management: one piece at a time and one step at a time. But a checklist can help to formalize that process, and to do so in ways that deliver maximum efficacy and efficiency. Because you don’t just want any process—you want a process that generates a consistent and high-quality end result.

From the automotive industry to healthcare, the potential opportunities for leveraging a checklist-based operational model are exciting. Believe it or not, checklists might provide more of a boost in medicine than for automakers. The reality is that the automotive industry is already pretty efficient from beginning to end: the professional ecosystem is so closely connected that any error in the supply chain or production process disrupts the whole thing. As a result, its systems necessarily have a fairly high degree of consistency and continuity. There is always room for improvement however, especially in hospitals and healthcare settings, where lives are at stake and seemingly mundane details can have last consequences.

Categories: The Industry