Meet a champion and her manager

Posted on Monday, October 5, 2015

At Health Services, Nathalie Laforest, manager of records and registration, and her supervisor, Denise Bélanger, associate director, work closely together to ingrain Service Excellence in their corporate culture. They and the rest of the  Health Services staff have taken a unique approach to Service Excellence. How do they do it?

Can you talk to us about some of the Service Excellence initiatives you have put forward at Health Services?

Nathalie: The initiatives we at Health Services have put forward are truly due to an outstanding team effort from all sectors of our service. However, last October we introduced Yammer, a social networking service for businesses. It has created an empowering, informative environment of collaboration, bonding and open communication, while giving employees a voice to take action.

Denise: This allows our staff to not miss any information that is crucial to doing their jobs exceptionally. Using Yammer as a key tool at Health Services has allowed us to experience fewer delays, less misinformation, and to provide our staff with the tools and information they need to excel in different customer service scenarios.

How did you collaborate to implement these Service Excellence initiatives?

Nathalie: Making these Service Excellence initiatives happen requires everyone to be involved — it has to be a team effort to really make it work. Yammer for us has been a great tool that empowers people to work together, find their voice, share ideas, set goals and deadlines and overcome barriers as a team.

Denise: We really emphasize the importance of quality to our team on a regular basis and stress the benefits of open communication. We also make sure our team meetings are specific and focused on bringing solutions to problems, measuring how we are doing and how we will aim to improve.

What advice would you give to other teams on campus on staying committed to Service Excellence and making it a priority?

Nathalie: You can’t settle with or be happy with the status quo. You need to be devoted to making things better, to improving and to problem solving.

Denise: Having ongoing communication with employees is essential to keep moving forward on the right track and with efficiency. Also, having a sense of humour always makes things easier and more enjoyable.

What are some tips on how you two motivate each other to take action on Service Excellence? How do you overcome hurdles or challenges?

Nathalie: Service Excellence is part of my priorities and my supervisor recognizes that, so she is always open to ideas, tackling issues and developing new solutions. She is always very supportive of me and her having an open door policy helps when approaching her with any challenges or suggestions.

Denise: Nathalie is very thorough in her research when a new problem arises or when we are working on a new initiative. She always comes to me with possible solutions, facts and information.

How does your supervisor support you in reaching your Service Excellence goals while also juggling other priorities?

Nathalie: Denise is very cool and calm when under pressure — she is not reactive, which is a great quality to possess. She is fair and gives praise when it is needed, which is something that is so important. People want to feel acknowledged and valued for their efforts. Also, everyone at Health Services is important and contributes to our overall Service Excellence goals and we treat them as such.

What are the important qualities you feel Denise has that help support you in your role of Service Excellence Champion?

Nathalie: Denise is very proactive and brings a lot to the table every time, whether it is solutions, research, knowledge or positive reinforcement and encouragement.

How do you support your supervisor in succeeding at Service Excellence?

Nathalie: I get a lot of my motivation from the amazing staff I have the opportunity to work with every day. Giving other units within Health Services the tools and support to help them accomplish things is something that gives me purpose.

What are you the most proud of and why?

Nathalie: The staff I work with every day and how they always go the extra mile for the patient. To them it’s not just a nine-to-five or a paycheque — they are always giving ideas and being innovative on how we can improve.

What advice could you give to other supervisors in order to help employees achieve Service Excellence?

Denise: Create an environment where people feel valued and empowered and provide your staff with feedback and leadership. Also, ensure you’re fostering the qualities of your employees because everyone has essential qualities to be used. Treating people with respect and giving them the information and resources they need to succeed and provide excellent service. Never settling for the status quo is essential — always go the extra mile.

What qualities stand out for you in Nathalie that a Champion should have?

Denise: A Champion can’t be satisfied with the status quo and Nathalie is always proactive — she never waits for issues to arise. Nathalie also sets up a great work environment for her staff, which allows them to feel comfortable giving ideas or even making a mistake. She is logical and very attentive to detail, which helps her provide exceptional service and anticipate problems and their potential solutions. 

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