Quality. Excellence. Satisfaction. As customers, these are things we expect, whether we’re at Walmart, Starbucks, riding a city bus, or getting our favorite ice cream cone on a hot day. While sometimes hard to clearly define, it’s kind of a, “I know it when I see it” sort of a thing.
The people we support expect the same things when the look to us for support: Quality. Excellence. Satisfaction. So whose job is quality anyway? Sure, we have a quality department. But does that mean that this team is solely responsible for ensuring that some 1700 people we support feel satisfied with the supports they receive? Of course not. They play a part for sure, but quality is everyone’s job, regardless of role or responsibility. We are all responsible for making sure that the people we support experience Quality, Excellence, and Satisfaction each day they work with us.
How do we interpret quality?
This doesn’t always have to be complicated. It may be cliché, but treating people the way you’d like to be treated is a good start. Viewing everyone as having value. Showing respect, empathy, and camaraderie. Supporting each other as an agency, both within and outside our formal teams. Persevering. Sometimes doing the right thing for people takes work … and that’s OK. It’s what we expect as a customer and it’s what the people we support expect and deserve as well.
Sometimes we have to be creative to ensure the people we support experience quality, excellence and satisfaction. Ingenuity: thinking outside the box, trying a different approach, looking for alternatives. Who hasn’t had a situation in their own life when as a customer you’ve asked, “Isn’t there some other way?”
As goals, quality, excellence and satisfaction give meaning to the work we do. They push us to be our best so that the people we support can be their best. Without these, what’s the point? Our work days drag on without substance or purpose. Over time, our tasks become meaningless busy work for which we may get paid but find little joy or satisfaction ourselves. I encourage you every day to look for opportunities to demonstrate quality and excellence in the work you do so that the people we support can experience them and find satisfaction in their relationship with us.
Peter L. Dancer, PhD, MPH, CCP, is the Corporate Compliance Officer for The Arc of Monroe. Pete has been with the agency for 28 years.