Should your medical practice have a “standards of behavior” for your employees?

While it seems rather childish, having to tell employees people how to behave, most people really want to know the rules. Good people often have bad habits that irritate patients and coworkers alike.

Consider the things your employees do that you wish they wouldn’t. Allison, for instance, chews gum—loudly—when she’s on the phone with patients. Debbie consistently forgets to turn off her cell phone during the day. (Last week it burst into a rousing chorus of It’s a Small World during a patient visit.And Martha’s tendency to aggressively share her religious and political views creates a palpable tension in the office, particularly during election season. None of them are bad employees, but they do have bad habits that irritate patients and coworkers alike.

We are not all raised the same way, people from big families might not consider it normal to knock on a door before they enter. What you may want to consider for your medical office is to establish some guidelines. If  you want to pursue this course of action, you might want to develop what is called a “Standards of Behavior” contract and have everyone sign it. The guidelines for this project are as follows:

  • Seek input from all employees in creating the document.
  • Align desired behaviors with corporate goals and desired outcomes.
  • Be crystal clear and very specific in your wording.
  • Hold a ceremonial Standards of Behavior roll-out.
  • Hold people accountable when they violate a standard.
  • Create a designated “Standard of the Month.”
  • Update the Standards of Behavior.
  • Have new applicants sign it right up front.

The bottom line is that if you don’t spell out which behaviors are acceptable and which are not, you can’t hold people accountable for them.  Remember,  the Millennials want to know, “How do we do it here?

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