Friday, June 15, 2007

Trusting your employees?

I read this article about "mystery shoppers" in hospitals in the Boston Globe this week. Interesting concept, using "fake patients" to take notes on the sly about how well a hospital/medical waiting room is serving patients.

I don't disagree with this concept. The medical profession is, in many ways, a service profession. So applying the "mystery shopper" concept to "check up on the employees" isn't an inherently bad thing. And if done correctly, I would choose to believe that employees would welcome the feedback; it could lead to needed resources being allocated to a poor-scoring office. And sometimes we just don't realize that something we're doing is being taken in a bad way by others. I know I'm mighty far from perfect so I kinda welcome the occasional dope-slap like this.

But at the same time, it's hard to get away from the feeling that this is management showing a marked lack of trust in their employees' ability to do their jobs. And if management uses this as an excuse to scapegoat the front desk, it could really undermine those workers and make for a lousy work experience.

The article in question did touch on this issue:

Brigham and Women's Hospital, however, will not mystery shop its employees. "Is it a little devious, a little misleading to staff, and how would they react?" said Dr. Michael Gustafson, vice president for clinical excellence.

But for a two-page article that barely scratched the surface...I do wish a little more attention had been paid to it.

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