As you sit across from your boss during your budget review meeting, she asks why you need the large training budget in place and whether your evening shift can survive with three officers instead of five. You find yourself clamoring for reasons why your training budget and staffing plan make sense and come up with some great anecdotal support why these items shouldn’t be cut.
But it’s not enough — your upcoming fiscal year is going to leave you two officers down and with half of your training budget. How are you going to maintain the level of protection for the hospital community and maintain the morale of your staff with these serious cuts?
It’s no surprise that healthcare budgets are getting tighter every year. Now more than ever, hospitals are struggling to keep pace with the rapidly changing face of healthcare and to compete with other nearby hospitals and healthcare systems. Support services, including the security department, are directly in the crosshairs when budget cuts are imminent. Whether or not your department survives the swinging budget axe depends on how well you sell and promote your department. Here are three reasons why your program could be in jeopardy.
1. Your Department Isn’t Aligned With Your Organization
Failing to align your department with the goals and culture of your organization is a common pitfall. How well you weave your department into the fabric of your organization helps to determine the value of your department in the eyes of the C-Suite.
Think about how you can support the operations of your hospital. This means thinking beyond responding to emergencies, conducting patrols and performing restraints. While all of those functions are essential and important, they don’t always translate their value in the eyes of your administration.
On the other hand, a well thought out workplace violence prevention program can help reduce staff injuries, anxiety and lost work days. This translates to a positive impact on the bottom line and operations. Take a moment to think about how your department can help to solve a problem in your organization. For example, one particular hospital had an issue where patients were frequently being sent home without their medications. The security director volunteered his department to collect medications from patients on the inpatient units upon their admission. His officers were already collecting and returning valuables, so they already had a mechanism to properly secure medications.
The result was that his department helped solve a clinical and patient satisfaction problem. As an added bonus, the number of lost/missing reports went down by 25% in the first year. You see, while the officers were collecting medications, patients were more likely to surrender their valuables to be secured. The lesson is that there are always opportunities to make your department more valuable, it just depends on how creative and flexible you are willing to be.
2. You Don’t Take Opportunities to Blow Your Own Horn
Do you think your department should operate quietly behind the scenes? Think again. The invisible department will be just that when it comes to competition for resources in your institution. Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten from one of my former bosses was that I should not be afraid to toot my own horn. Corny, I know, but he had a very good point.
So, how can you promote your department? One way is to get in front of the hospital’s leadership whenever possible. Do you have a great new program in place? Did you recently find a way to save money while maintaining operations? Put these great wins in front of your hospital’s managers, supervisors and executives through presentations at regularly scheduled meetings.
Another great way to get your department’s accomplishments noticed by the C-Suite is to publish an annual report. This is a perfect opportunity to tout all of your department’s great and valuable accomplishments for the past year. You can also talk about the challenges ahead and your strategic plan. The annual report is truly a celebration of your department and the people who make your team shine.