I’m in the midst of another round of quarterly open forum meetings with staff. I figure that I have done about 800 of these meetings in the past 16 years. We schedule around eight meetings over the course of four weeks at a variety of times throughout the day and one at 11 p.m. for those who work overnight.
Topics include financials, physicians, medical staff issues, and what’s on the rumor mill. These forums are always well attended and worth the time. I begin with an overview of the topics and that’s usually plenty of information to begin the discussion. I find the dialogue is helpful for me and for those in the room. A small group setting like that can really foster good conversation.
There are some employees I always know will ask a great question and the others in the room will benefit from their willingness to ask something of me that others may be too intimidated to ask. I’m really upfront that I want people to ask the tough questions. If one person is wondering about a question, it’s likely someone else is wondering about it, too. I want employees to know they can talk to me openly without fear of any reprisal from me or their supervisor.
Over the past two years, this organization has cut expenses by 20 percent. Many cost-cutting ideas and suggestions came out of these open forums with employees. A hospital cannot operate without caring and competent staff. I am happy to say our expense reduction was achieved without a lay off. Through creative problem-solving and finding new ways to provide the same high quality healthcare GRMC is known for, our employees stepped up to the challenge.
I extend this open door invitation to the public as well. If people have issues with us that they want to discuss with me, I welcome that call. You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child…” I would apply that to GRMC. It takes a community to make a great hospital like Grinnell Regional Medical Center.
I’d love to hear from you!