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Engaging Staff Members

Implementing developmental screening is a collaborative task, and it may take some convincing to get staff members on board. Active listening to people’s experiences, hesitations and concerns, and practicing empathy will help you build engagement and collaboration. Here are a few examples of the types of feedback we have heard from clinics and tips for addressing them:

  • Change-Resistant: Staff may think that “everything is working fine the way it is” or “we already do screening.”
    • Sometimes people perceive efforts toward quality improvement as insulting. Staff need to know that the work they are currently doing is valuable, and that quality improvement work is not indicative of an unsuccessful practice. Instead, quality improvement work shows that a practice is adaptable and committed to better serving its patients and clients. Having practice-wide implementation makes sure everyone is on the same page, and reduces the amount of effort each person needs to take to make sure screening happens.
  • Negative Focus: We have heard things like “screening will just slow down the flow,” “patients will not want to do this,” and “this will be impossible to do.”
    • Venting or expressing disagreement is to be expected when large changes take place in a practice. It is important to listen to staff concerns, as they have excellent on-the-ground knowledge that can help you anticipate challenges and avoid unrealistic expectations that will hinder the success and sustainability of developmental screening services.
  • Overworked: There are only so many hours in a day, and staff members are already busy. “I dont have time for this” and “I have too much on my plate right now” are common concerns to hear at any place of work.
    • Acknowledging that a person’s time is limited is crucial for meeting a team member where they are currently. Initial buy-in conversations around screening should be quick; with frequent small check-ins to reaffirm goals, strategies, and successes!