As recreationists, we need and want to share information about our residents, programs and department with others. While we know what is important to us, what we think is important, or great, may not always be the best message to send to others.
Let’s take a look at effective “messaging” with two different groups – your Administrator (or General Manager, or CEO) and people from other departments.
There are two key principles to keep in mind when you are trying to communicate effectively with anyone:
- What does the message receiver want to hear, or should hear?
- What are the potential benefits of the message to the receiver?
In other words, if you think from the other person’s perspective when you are sharing information, it is more likely to be appreciated and valued.
Approaches in General
Before looking at communicating with these two groups, let’s reflect on “connecting” and sharing in general.
We know you are excited about what you do, and as an enthusiastic recreation person, you might find it very easy to show your excitement. Sometimes this works in your favor, and sometimes it can work against you. Where one person might see your exuberance and zest for life as wonderful, another might see it as as too “over-the-top” and be dismissive of you and your message. If you know the person you are connecting with, you can modify your behavior accordingly. If you don’t know the other person well, you may need to watch for the signals they are sending, and adjust on the fly.
As with all professions, be careful to not use too much recreation jargon. Use words that have common meaning to everyone, and be prepared to explain what specific terms mean. Otherwise, you may be seen as trying to “talk over” others, or hide behind such terms.
Sharing With Administrators
Even if your administrator is very person-centered in their thinking and approach, the bottom line is that they never lose sight of “the bottom line!” In other words, while positive stories may be uplifting, they will have added impact if they can also be related to their responsibilities around fiscal realities.
For example, when you share your “good news” story (the resident’s success in programs, and improved scores), reflect on how this will positively impact resident and family satisfaction survey results.
Mention that when families are happy with your programming, they are less likely to complain about other issues. This means fewer complaints for everyone to deal with, which makes work more enjoyable and saves staff time.
When you are looking to launch a new and innovative program, comment on how this will enhance the organization’s reputation in the community, and help fill beds (or maintain high levels of occupancy).
When you are sharing how effective your programming efforts have been, you can reinforce that this means satisfied customers (residents and families), fewer compliance issues, increased resident and family satisfaction, and less staff time focused on following up and documenting progress.
Sharing with Other Staff
Staff working in other departments may be a little resentful of you and your role, seeing it as being an “easier” job than what they have to do. One way to positively change perceptions about your role is to share with other how what you do can be of benefit to them. For example, providing dietary staff with information about the recreation programs for the day gives them something positive to talk to residents about while they are serving them in the dining area. This can make for a more positive, fun interaction between dietary staff and residents.
Let the housekeeping staff know that you see their relationship with residents as being very special in the home – that residents often relate to them more than anyone else in the home. Share with them that if they can let you know when they see a resident in any self-directed engagement (and you can provide them with a simple check sheet each day), you will capture this in the resident’s file. In other words, you value their input, and as members of the care team, you will make them a part of the care process.
Let the maintenance staff know that if they can let you know when they need to do work in a resident’s room, you will make an extra effort to encourage the resident to come to a program. Suggest to nursing staff that when you target programs based on resident interests and ability, they are more likely to stay at the program, and be more calm and settled when they return to the floor.
Finally, for all staff from other departments, providing them with facts (evidence) as to the impact of your programming efforts communicates that you know what you are talking about, and gives more credence to your messaging.
Remember, successful communication of your message is the same as great programming – you are meeting the person where they are! Think and present from the perspective of the listener, and your message will be better understood and with greater acceptance.
Let ActivityPro help make sharing information with your team easier by calling us to get started today at 1-888-898-0098.