Less than a year ago, employees at The Outer Banks Hospital embarked on a “Journey to Excellence,” an innovative program which is mission driven, values centered and customer focused. Many of the hospital’s managers considered how they would “teach” their staff about organizational culture, commitment, accountability, and service excellence – terrific concepts but at times difficult to translate into the actual work day.Mike Lynch, the hospital’s Director of Facilities, found an effective “translation” tool for his housekeeping staff: he signed them up for a contest with sister hospitals Chowan and Bertie. Every other month, the 3 hospitals undergo an unannounced inspection from Safelle, a janitorial supply partner, who grades each hospital on its cleanliness along with administering a mini-quiz to employees on Joint Commission guidelines.“We skyrocketed,” said Lynch, “and in 6 months our scores jumped from a 73% to a 97%. My guys really wanted to win that trophy.” The staff worked to get the hospital’s floors in top condition, washed windows inside and out and paid close attention to high and low dusting. The hard work paid off when Safelle awarded the “Best of Best” trophy to The Outer Banks Hospital.“It’s been a real morale booster,” said Van Smith, hospital president. “Each time after Safelle made one of its surprise visits, employees stopped Mike in the hallway, asking if he had heard anything. As we waited, we realized we were all in this together, we all had a stake in winning the trophy.”For now, the “Best of Best” trophy is proudly displayed at the information desk in the hospital’s main lobby. However, the Environmental Services team realizes it is just a matter of time before Safelle makes one of its surprise visits, which had led each of them to think about their day-to-day responsibilities to keep the hospital at the ready.