Article Date: 3/1/2012

Define Your Core Values
Staffing Solutions

Define Your Core Values

Here’s how to get everyone in your practice rowing in the same direction.

Bob Levoy, O.D.

“It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” — Roy Disney

Core values represent what’s truly important in your practice — the guiding principles for you and your staff that determine how you go about your work and interact with each other and patients.

If you’ve never identified the ones that are most meaningful and essential to your practice, then it’s very possible that everyone is doing their job in their own way. This lack of uniformity can result in mixed behaviors and mixed messages to patients. By identifying and communicating your core values, however, you can get everyone rowing in the same direction.

Values in action

At Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC), a full-service hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho, core values are part of the online job application process. To be considered for a position, candidates must answer the question: “Do you believe in, and are willing to live by these values?” with an “agree.”

Here is a partial list of EIMRC’s core values:

Accountability:
• I will pull my weight.
• I will be fully accountable for everything I do and say.

Quality:
• I will anticipate the needs of those I serve.
• I will constantly look for ways to turn “good enough” into “even better.”

Respect:
• I will bring a positive attitude.
• I will be on time.
• Patients and physicians are why I have a job. They are not inconveniences or distractions. I will make the time and cheerfully spend it on them. I will consistently surprise them by exceeding their expectations.
• Everyone that I come into contact with will know that I truly care.

Loyalty:
• I will build teamwork by being a good team member, and I will not back-bite or pot-stir.
• As an ambassador, I will promote and defend EIRMC in all settings.

Enjoyment:
• Humor and laughter — but never at another’s expense — will be a daily part of my work.
• I will greet, smile and welcome each person I encounter.
• Not only will others see my smile, they will hear it in my voice.

Action step: If you have not yet defined the core values of your practice, distribute this article to all staff to get them thinking about the topic. Then, schedule a staff meeting, and have everyone suggest values for the group’s consideration. List them on flip-chart pages. Discuss, and reach a consensus on those values right for your practice. Use those values when hiring, conducting performance reviews and, when necessary, letting people go.

“Focusing on core values attracts and retains talented people,” says Eric F. Douglas, author of Leading at Light Speed: Build Trust, Spark Innovation, and Create a High-Performing Organization (Inkwater Press 2010) “It’s easier to get the right people to join your organization when you can clearly communicate what’s important, and what behaviors you’re looking for. This reduces turnover, thereby cutting the costs associated with recruiting, retaining, and retraining employees …” OM

DR. LEVOY IS THE AUTHOR OF SEVEN BOOKS, INCLUDING 201 SECRETS OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE OPTOMETRIC PRACTICE (RECENTLY REPRINTED AND AVAILABLE AT WWW.AMAZON.COM) AND 222 SECRETS OF HIRING, MANAGING AND RETAINING GREAT EMPLOYEES IN HEALTHCARE PRACTICES. CONTACT HIM AT BLEVOY@VERIZON.NET, OR TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, E-MAIL OM AT OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.


Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: March 2012, page(s): 76