After touring hundreds of hospitals and healthcare facilities in the course of my career, I am still amazed at the number of handmade signs taped on doors, windows, and walls. My collection of photographs range from comical to horrifying. Many of the messages come across as abrupt, bordering on rude. They appear, ugly, unprofessional, and misaligned with the organization’s desire for a professional image. Leaders are shocked are shocked when shown that these signs exist right under their noses.
One example was the sign created on 3-hole punched, lined paper, and taped above the elevator buttons in a pediatric clinic. It read, “Parents, please watch your children. This elevator eats little fingers.” Precocious little readers may still need therapy after reading this.
Then the information desk not staffed on weekends. The lined index card sign on the counter said, “push button for assistance”. Sticky notes with arrows going across the width of the counter and up the wall to the button embellished the sign. The index card and sticky notes held in place with packing tape. What killed me? This entrance was part of the facility’s multi-million dollar renovation.
Mystery Shoppers Tell All
You may think this is just a pet peeve of mine, but I assure you, mystery shoppers are the ones who snap photos of these and comment about the unprofessional appearance.
If everything speaks, take charge of paper signs. I challenge you to walk around your buildings and notice if there are signs that detract from your image. You may be surprised.