Mission Possible: Fostering a Values-Driven Service Environment

In many teen comedy movies, there’s a scene where a young, carefree valet is tossed the keys to an expensive sports car and drives off on a wacky adventure or somehow damages the vehicle, resulting in a hilarious situation where he has to repair or replace the damaged vehicle before the owner finds out what happened. In the movie Casino Royale, even the mighty James Bond took a turn impersonating a parking attendant, with the inevitable disastrous results. While entertaining, we can agree James Bond was far from embracing the values or service-driven culture of the hotel and casino.

An organization’s culture, its core values, takes direction from the mission and vision statements they have defined. Proactively encouraging employees to live and breathe these values helps inspire their actions and foster a service environment infused with the company culture. This is true no matter the industry. Imagine what Disneyland would be like if the employees weren’t focused on creating “the happiest place on earth!”

How to Ensure Your Employees and Subcontractors Carry out Your Mission

It’s not an easy task to motivate employees to embrace the hospital’s mission statement. However, an article from the Houston Chronicle suggests that a good place for any employer to start is to find ways of quantifying the mission and/or vision statements. The author argues, “employees must take ownership of the mission as if it’s part of their job description — that makes it easier to carry out the mission of the organization in every aspect of their responsibilities.” When the mission and vision are translated into measurable standards and tangible performance objectives, employees are better equipped to deliver on the hospital’s core values in their day-to-day activities.

It is not just employees who must take responsibility for ensuring their performance reflects the hospital’s values though — subcontractors must be held to the same standard.

Because they are not embedded in your culture, it may seem more difficult to ensure subcontractors are continually embodying your hospital’s values while representing your brand. However, the approach is much the same as it would be with your own employees. Service providers must understand the impact and significance of connecting the hospital’s vision to their employees’ actions, and hospitals must devise measurable ways of evaluating contractors’ abilities to deliver services in a manner that aligns with their values.

Any subcontractor worth their salt should embrace your hospital’s vision and service philosophy in the performance of their contracted work. This is especially crucial when one considers that the patient experience is more important than ever in securing accreditation, raising HCAHPS scores, and even improving patient outcomes. Hospitals cannot afford to overlook how subcontractors, including parking providers, can help them deliver on their mission and vision.

How Your Parking Provider Can Deliver on Your Mission

We know first impressions are everything. (We’ve even written about it before.) Fair or not, correct or incorrect, people will often form an opinion of the quality of service inside the hospital based on their first impression outside. That means that the parking facilities and personnel are a key component in ensuring that each patient and visitor’s first impression is a positive one

As the first point of patient care, it’s crucial for your parking provider to understand the hospital’s mission and vision. Parking operators must be able to deliver a service environment that aligns with your hospital’s core values.

But what does this mean in practice? Think of children’s hospitals where “discovery” and “reimagine” are often important parts of the culture. Valets in costume can help materialize this vision in the eyes of patients and children visiting the hospital. Similarly, hospitals with missions centered on care and world class healthcare can convey their values through near military precision shuttle bus schedules; sharply uniformed, attentive valet attendants; and bright, clean parking facilities. All of these operational details help cement the idea that the hospital will perform at an exceptional level. Sometimes subtle differences are all that is necessary to have a positive impact on patients and visitors and reinforce the hospital’s mission.

The point of vision and mission statements is to continually improve customer service and aspire to a better performance. Members of the valet team and parking operation, whether or not they are employees of the hospital itself, should know and feel part of the mission. Valets and parking employees who feel they are part of the team and understand their important position in the public perception of the hospital will feel inspired to contribute to the customer service promised in the mission and vision statements.

By Allison Abma, Director, Business Development, Impark Health (USA)

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