From everything I see and hear, it’s a tough time to find an employee. I have read that 50% of interviewees don’t even show up for their interview. My baby boomer guilt would never allow me to do that.
Employee management is not something I enjoy or am comfortable with. To be honest, there are so many things to do that I don’t like spending my time in the HR Department but I have learned over the years that if your employees aren’t happy, your patients won’t be happy either. It’s important to give every member of your team the opportunity and freedom to grow and thrive in their work environment. The first step in this process is developing very specific job descriptions. Sometimes I expect my employees to simply know what I want them to do and become irritated when they don’t respond the way I expect them to.
It’s really important to outline a method for communicating with employees to give them feedback on their work performance and to get them to share their thoughts with you. We hold staff meetings once a month to discuss what has gone wrong and also to share what has gone right. Our work days get busy and there isn’t always time to discuss the day’s events but it’s important to discuss the positives and negatives. If you don’t discuss them, they are likely to reoccur which can be a problem in the case of the issues that didn’t contribute to patient care.
I recall many a conversation with a colleague when we both were complaining about an employee’s performance. Things will never improve if you don’t talk with the employee and share thoughts of how you would like things to improve. A specific action plan should be put into place with a deadline to give the employee the opportunity to improve their performance. The plan should also include what will happen if performance doesn’t improve and then, of course, it’s critical to stick to the plan.
In my practice, we have measurable goals and make certain every member of the team has a role in reaching those goals. These goals aren’t just sales objectives but include goals of improving patient satisfaction, converting more calls to appointments and reducing the number of patients who seldom wear their hearing aids. Every employee knows and understands that their performance is important and critical to the success of the organization. When we reach our goals, we celebrate by giving bonuses, going out to dinner or getting a day off. I also have fun planning Employee Appreciation Days. These have sometimes been unexpected events that have included bowling parties, visits to a casino, concert tickets, scavenger hunts and time at local spas to name a few.
When things don’t go well and the team doesn’t reach its goal, we put our heads together and share ideas on what went wrong and put a plan in place to improve.
Of course, employees always enjoy a free day off. I once asked my employees to identify three things that would improve the experience for our patients and an additional three things that would improve their work experience. One of them suggested that PHS should give their employees their birthdays off. “No problem,” I thought. That’s a simple thing to do as long as you have the staff to cover the time off without it affecting productivity.
While managing employees may not be the easiest job we have, it’s certainly one of the most important. Everyone wins when the team works together to make patients happy!