March 22, 2016

Leaders put spotlight on ways to improve culture of service

Each day, the VUMC Credo inspires us to continuously evaluate and improve performance. Recently, Medical Center leaders did just that by fostering a conversation with their teams about ways to improve the culture of service.

“Our learning operations team created and rolled out the first of a set of learning experiences to support managers and frontline leaders as they re-engage their teams around service to each other, our patients and their families,” said Cory Colton, executive director of Learning Operations. “This effort aims to help employees become more self-aware of their demeanor and personal interactions with each other and how those interactions can directly influence patient care. These behaviors are critical to our commitment to living out our Credo.”  

Already roughly 300 leaders, representing 30 percent of the leader population, have accessed the Culture of Service: Expressions of Our Credo materials in the Learning Exchange. In the course, leaders are given the tools they need to discuss the impact of expressions on our culture of service. The activity provides both leaders and employees an opportunity to take a moment to reflect on the credo and how it is lived out in each individual department. 

The neonatal intensive care unit was one such group who found the activity very valuable. The roughly 40 staff members completed the experience the first week it was available.

“The best lesson is reminding ourselves we do great things every day and we need to recognize each other for great service,” said Manager Belinda Mathis. “The expression video that was viewed during the training was an eye opening experience as well as reminder that our expressions speak volumes.”

Mathis also gave praise to how the materials were presented to her and her team. “I think turning this topic around to the patient experience and focusing on our own expression turned the moment into one of individual internal questioning. Everyone in the room could wonder what their expressions reveal.”

Our goal is to get everyone throughout the Medical Center to experience this learning opportunity so we can all deliver on our promise to provide great service. And this starts with great service to each other and expressing our Credo.

The nine employees of the lab information systems team couldn’t agree more. Their manager, Teresa Wood, points out that this training came at the right time as customer service has been a focus for her team over the last twelve months.

“They have actually come a very long way with their attitudes and customer service,” Wood said. “They are being energized and ready to take on the large projects ahead.”

Ann Cross, administrative director of nursing at VUMC Medicine PCC, described the experience as positive and that the format was easy to follow. “The instructions were clear and the video made a big impression on everyone.”

She concluded by sharing the best lesson learned from her team of five.

“Everyone is commited to customer service and living the Credo, which I knew, but is good for me to hear; it is inspiring and reinforcing.”

The good news is this was only the first phase. Managers and frontline staff will participate in additional activities that focus efforts on improving our culture of service in March and April, culminating with service recovery in June. Future articles in MyVUMC will provide more information about a contest that everyone can get in to express their Credo.