4 Ways to Promote Diversity in the Medical Office

How Workplace Equity Improves Customer Satisfaction

In today's society, a medical office must incorporate diversity into its mission to provide quality care and manage staff effectively. Diversity today extends well beyond the issues of race, age, language, or gender. It refers to everything that makes us different, including work styles, ethics, personal values, income, and education.

By embracing diversity, you and your staff will gain greater fluency in the social and cultural references of not only your patients but each other. It can improve both the efficiency of the workplace and the experience of the customer by overcoming a key complaint heard in many medical offices, namely that the "no one is hearing me."

Here are four steps that can help:

1
Form a Team

Large diverse group of hospital doctors, surgeons, and nurses
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The number one way to promote diversity in the medical office is by making diversity a team effort. It cannot be a one-person commitment or one governed by a loose set of rules.

All staff must understand the goals of diversity within the construct of a strategic plan, which includes your mission statement, your corporate values, and clearly articulated policies and regulations.

An experienced medical office manager can help achieve this by:

2
Lead by Example

Doctors and nurses meet and shake hands
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Mahatma Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." This simply means that you cannot change the timbre of the workplace unless you lead by example.

This demands that you demonstrate your dedication to diversity by taking charge and establishing a clear set of short- and medium-term goals, such as:

  • Promoting opportunity through structured training and career development programs
  • Discussing diversity issues with staff daily
  • Expanding or promoting staff to ensure equity in the workplace
  • Getting feedback from staff and acting upon any and all grievances swiftly under the aegis of a formal review

3
Post Your Policies

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Prominently posting your diversity policy not only reinforces the rules and mission to your staff, it communicates your intention to your patients, as well. It establishes the culture of your office as a place of inclusion rather than exclusion.

To this end, all publications should be reviewed by the diversity committee to better ensure that:

  • All signs and posters are culturally sensitive and placed where patients and staff can see them easily.
  • All postings are in the languages relevant to your community and written in a way that is clearly understood by a layperson.
  • Any and all graphics, photos, or images are reflective of the diversity within your community of patients.
  • Waiting room magazines and pamphlets speak to the interests and cultural diversity of your community.

4
Recruit and Retain Staff Ethically

Job interview blck woman and older white man
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Nothing brings to life the goals of workplace diversity more than the way in which staff members are recruited and retained.

An informed medical office manager does not approach either of these tasks in a generalized way. Rather, the hiring and promotion practices of your office must be clearly detailed in your policy documents in accordance with the regulations of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

To this end, the office manager and diversity committee must work together to ensure that:

  • Recruitment processes are clearly established in advance of hiring.
  • All job advertisements clearly state the ethical hiring policies of your office.
  • Interviews are conducted by a diverse group of staff members.
  • Staff promotions are conducted ethically with the aim of creating a highly skilled, diverse workforce.
  • Socioeconomic inequities are acknowledged and addressed so that less advantaged members of staff are provided the tools and training needed to ensure equitable advancement.

Diversity in a medical office takes work and an investment in both time and training. If unsure how to start, you may want to consider hiring an inclusion and diversity consultant to assist with planning and the early implementation of policies.