The best way to inspire employees to go above and beyond to create a great experience for customers or patients is to connect them to their PURPOSE.
And, it’s a triple win. It’s a win for the organization, it’s a win for the employee, and it’s a win for the customer.
Everyone is familiar with Ritz-Carlton hotels and their reputation for world-class service. Customers expect it and the hotel employees rarely fail to deliver a “wow” to their guests. They are the gold standard in hotel chains. And there’s a good reason for that: every one of their employees is connected to purpose.
According to the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, each employee’s purpose is “to provide unique, memorable, and personable customer service experiences.” Each employee — from the person that checks you in at the front desk to the person that cleans your room each day — each one is focused on doing their specific job tasks with the ultimate purpose of creating unique, memorable, and personable customer service experiences.
Several years ago, I was scheduled to present a workshop to a group at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island here in Florida. I arrived the evening before and spent most of the night in my room fine-tuning my presentation. Finally, I decided to turn in just before midnight. I wanted to allow plenty of time in the morning to get ready so, since this was before smart phones with alarms, I rang the hotel front desk to request a wake-up call.
Good evening, Mr. Poore., my name is Josie. What time should I call you tomorrow morning?
(Notice she didn’t ask what time I wanted the wake-up call; she asked me what time she should call me.)
I jokingly replied, I sure hope you don’t have to stay here all night to make the call! But yes, I’d like a call for 6am please.
Actually I’m working a 12-hour shift overnight, so it will be my pleasure to schedule your wake up call for 6am. Have a good evening!
Sure enough, at 6am sharp the next morning my hotel phone rang.
A familiar voice said Good morning Mr. Poore, this is Josie at the front desk with your 6am wake-up call.
I must have sounded a bit groggy, so imagine my surprise when she asked if I’d like to “hit snooze” for her to call back in 15 minutes! (I took her up on her kind offer and got in a little more sleep.)
I share this story because one of the reasons the Ritz-Carlton earned their stellar reputation for service is because they connect every employee to their purpose.
We can do the same in healthcare, but it’s not always easy. We connect people to their purpose by showing them exactly how their role, their job, is part of a bigger picture. By pulling the camera lens back a bit, we allow employees to see how and where they fit into the bigger picture of the healing environment. Tray passers don’t just deliver food…they prepare and deliver food that heals. Housekeeping staff don’t just clean rooms…they provide a clean environment so patients can heal. And so on.
There are positive benefits to connecting people to purpose, and there’s some research behind it, too. Studies show that when people are connected to purpose, they’re four times more likely to be engaged at work and have a 64% higher level of career satisfaction than those that aren’t.
The fact that I’ve carried this story with me all these years is proof that the experience I had at this particular Ritz Carlton was indeed memorable.
What memories do your patients have when they visit your organization? Are your employees working toward a common purpose or are they working with a silo mentality, focused entirely on their individual job tasks?