July 30, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria personnel to get HEART from the Cleveland Clinic

ELYRIA — The city of Elyria has inked a deal with the Cleveland Clinic to use its trademarked customer service model in a pilot program that aims to translate the program to the public sector.

The deal, which was finalized in recent days, allows Elyria to exclusively use the Clinic’s HEART model in training session with city employees. HEART is an acronym that stands for hear, empathize, apologize, respond and thank. While the Clinic program is specifically designed to be used in a medical setting where tense healthcare topics are discussed, Mayor Holly Brinda said she is excited to see how the core components of the HEART model can be used in municipal government.

“We have been observing personnel practices, policies and procedures as well as employee performance since we got here, and what I can see is 95 percent of employees are dedicated employees that are doing the best they can to serve the citizens of Elyria,” Brinda said. “But I’m of the mindset that it’s time we further invest in our employees and help give them the tools needed to make them better.”

HEART started in 2008 and was developed as a way for Clinic employees to better communicate with patients and fellow employees in the Clinic’s office of patient experience.

Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka formerly was the senior regional director in the office of patient experience at the Clinic. Brinda said she owes the development of the pilot program to Siwierka.

“From what I have seen, this program has absolutely grown throughout the Cleveland Clinic,” Siwierka said. “The ability to diffuse a situation whether in a hospital or city setting is crucial. Acknowledging what a person is telling you and there needs is crucial to customer service.”

The HEART model teaches employees how to predict the needs of people as well as respond to crisis.

Brinda said the plan with the pilot program is to bring trainers from the Clinic to Elyria to train upper-level employees, who will serve as trainers for other employees in the city. Currently, the program will be delivered to existing employees.

In the future, all new employees will go through the program as a part of orientation.

Components of the program will be incorporated into the employee evaluation system that is being developed.

“This will give our employees that are really dedicated to their jobs the tools needed to do their jobs better,” Brinda said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.