Unsatisfied and, therefore, low-performing employees plague nearly all medical practices, but some common advice for engaging staff can cause administrators concern. Consider the following misconceptions about staff-management and use the realities to become a better leader:
- Connecting with staff takes too much time. "A lack of time or structure is not an excuse" for failing to show concern for employees as people, Mayo Clinic administrator Ron Menaker stated at this year's Anesthesia Administration Assembly (AAA) in Miami. As reported by the MGMA In Practice blog, Menaker recommended that administrators evaluate their staff relationships by asking themselves questions, such as "What mistakes have you made that have damaged relationships?" and "How do you maintain an openness to the ideas of others?" He added, "It doesn't take that much time to connect with your staff."
- Involving staff in decisions sacrifices your authority. Practice-management experts often advise that asking employees how to improve your office processes or work flow can vastly enhance employee engagement. What this means, a May 16 article from PhysBizTech clarified, is that you ask employees for input on decisions that affect them directly. It does not "mean that you have to ask staff feedback about every item that comes across your desk." Further, just because you try a staff suggestion does not mean you have to commit to it permanently. Rather, test solutions on a trial basis, Paula Comm, administrator at PRA Behavioral LLC, a three-site psychiatric practice near Chicago, has advised FiercePracticeManagement.
- Employees resist change. "People don't resist change, they resist being changed," Mayo's Menaker said. Rather than assuming that your staff will fight change, he advised, incorporate your team in the process. If staff have a full understanding of how a change will improve the work flow or results of their jobs, and have the opportunity to contribute ideas, they'll take greater ownership of making the change succeed, he said.