Laura Clemons

Performance Standards– A Template for Clear Expectations & Uncompromised Excellence

by Laura Clemons | May 27, 2021
By Carol Cline

Healthcare workers are adept at handling emergent situations. We don’t cower when faced with crisis. We rally, pivot and adapt until the crisis is over. When it is safe to resume “normal,” we reverse pivot. Safe where we started, we move ahead.

That works when the crisis causes a brief interruption and foundational operations are not required to change to accommodate a long-term shift in priorities. 

During a lengthy crisis of pandemic proportions, the extended shift in priorities can morph into a new standard of operation. Functioning in an overwhelming state, chaos and fatigue tempts caregivers to settle for getting by. Left unaddressed, the risk is that good enough undermines excellence.

As leaders we are in the position to set and communicate expectations, equip and empower our teams to meet them and incorporate accountability. If communication isn’t done well, if clear, relevant direction is absent, our teams will be surprised by our disappointment when they don’t meet a target they didn't understand. 

Leaders need a tool that works as a proverbial shot-in-the-arm for their teams—one that will realign their work with the organization’s core values and reestablishes individual and collective expectations for excellence. 
Role specific performance standards have proven to be an invaluable tool to communicate the organization’s commitment to the individual as well as the individual’s responsibilities on behalf of the organization. Performance standards are distinctly different than job descriptions. Performance standards are measurable, attainable, role-specific standards addressing multiple facets of individual responsibility and they are expected of all employees in the role. Each role, from the C-suite to the front line—should have performance standards. They are the standard by which behaviors and outcomes are measured.

Established using an organization’s core values as their foundation, performance standards contribute to high functioning teams with a unified purpose. They increase understanding and support accountability. 

I'm happy to share a document outline that can be customized for individual roles across diverse healthcare organizations. Not all areas are relevant in all roles. Use this tool to help your teams pivot toward excellence.  

Performance Standards, Role/Title
  • Purpose statement (Overarching, uniform language that outlines the document’s purpose and intent for all roles)
  • Organizational Values (Foundational Values used to guide direction & decision making)
  • HIPAA Compliance (Expectations for work performance/location/protocols/training/reporting)
  • Patient Care (Response time to communication and requests, documentation, role-specific requirements)
  • Soft Skills (Empathy, tone, etiquette, active listening, effective communication)
  • Quality (Measurable, time-specific expectations to prompt feedback, action and growth)
  • Production (Process/performance-based expectations for completing work and/or achieving stated goals and requirements related to the role)
  • Communication/Teamwork (Appropriate methods of communicating PHI, timely internal/external responses, required meeting attendance)
  • Qualification/Credentials (maintain/renew applicable credentials as necessary/provide upon request)
Management Performance Standards include the same Purpose Statement, Organizational Values and HIPAA Compliance sections. Additional leadership qualities are defined in the following sections:

  • Leadership Qualities
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Innovation/Creativity
  • Problem Solving/Decision Making
  • Performance Management
Clearly defined, role-specific expectations provide a framework for teams to understand organizational priorities. When referred to consistently across communication channels, Performance Standards are established as the foundation for performance measurement. They establish relevant points of accountability and the perception of favoritism can be eliminated.

With Performance Standards in place, you can pivot with confidence. Changing circumstances won’t lower your standards. Excellence will remain. 

Carol is the Director of Talent Success at HealthXL®, a Virtual Care Services (CCM & RPM) company with solutions that improve patient care, strengthen patient relationships, and increase practice revenue without adding costs to the providers.

Popular Tags