In today's society, a medical office must incorporate diversity into it's mission, vision and values in order to provide the best patient care and effectively manage staff. Understand diversity means being aware of differences other than the obvious reasons like race, language and gender. Diversity refers to everything about people that makes us different including workstyles, ethics and values, education, and communication.
Diversity is all around us yet many organizations find it challenging to incorporate diversity in every day settings. This can be accomplished over time but the first step is by promoting it.
1. Make Diversity a Team Effort
The number one way to promote diversity in the medical office is by making diversity a team effort. It can not be a one person committment. All staff of the medical office must understand the importance diversity is to the achievement of the strategic plan or mission, vision, and values of the Medical Office.
Diversity awareness is a socially responsible business objective and the medical office manager can help to achieve this by:
- Set up a diversity committee and allow the committee to develop a strategy to increase awareness for all staff in the medical office
- Include diversity as a performance measure on the staff's annual evaluation
- Develop a written diversity policy to ensure the goals of the medical office are clear and understood
2. "Be the Change You Want to See in the World"
Mahatma Ghandi said "Be the change you want to see in the world". This simply means you can't change the world unless you change yourself first The best way to get your medical office staff to embrace diversity is to be an example they can follow.
Diversity obviously begins with leadership within any organization. Employees tend to follow the example of those in charge. There are many ways the medical office manager can exhibit and increase diversity awareness.
- Provide opportunities to promote diversity such as training, career development, etc.
- Discuss diversity issues that arise daily
- Expand your staff to include more diverse individuals
- Include diversity in your work practices and home life
- Get feedback from the medical office staff
3. Display Publications on Diversity in Highly Visible Areas
Displaying publication on diversity not only brings awareness to the medical office staff but also brings awareness to patients. It is important for patients to know that diversity is important to your organization. Organizations that reflect the diversity of the community in which they exist tend to be more successful. When the community feels you are supplying the needs of people from all walks of life, they will be more comfortable in the care of your physicians and staff.
- Post signs and posters where patients can easily view
- Place magazines and pamphlets on tables in the waiting area and exam rooms
- Make sure advertisements, banners and billboards for the medical office reflect the diverse culture
- Get input from a diverse panel
4. Staff Recruitment and Retention
Taking a proactive approach to recruiting and retaining a diverse medical office staff really brings to life the goals of implementing a diversity policy and promoting diversity awareness to the organization and the community. It is important to show that the medical office is serious about its diversity policy. The medical office manager can incorporate diversity in its HR planning strategy or the future goals by:
- Reviewing current job descriptions
- Evaluating recruiting processes
- Allowing a diverse group to interview applicants
- Offering flexible work schedules, if possible
- Providing diversity training to all new and existing employees
- Awarding staff that exhibit diversity awareness
- Establishing Diversity Week
- Making Diversity Fun