Article Date: 6/1/2009

When Staff Don't Play by Your Rules
fix this practice

When Staff Don't Play by Your Rules

Use this program to keep staff from straying outside the boundaries.

RICHARD S. KATTOUF, O.D., D.O.S.

Q My current dilemma is new staff who violate office policy. They constantly repeat the mantra: "This is the way I did it at Dr. Smith's office." How do I, the practice owner, deal with this?

Dr. G.W. Henney via e-mail

A: Here are a number of ways to prevent these occurrences:

Emphasize honor and respect. Instruct employees that you welcome information on specific methods, techniques and concepts in the proper forum, but that standard operating procedures — and your experience — must be respected, honored and followed.

Develop an orientation program. This is the venue where the new staff can share their previous experiences. This can be done in conjunction with the teaching of your practice vocabulary, scripting, techniques and concepts. Once they have shared their previous experiences, they must understand that this is the last time that you will accept any such comments. Let them know that bringing these matters up again will lead to an immediate probation and possible termination. Allow no wiggle room here.

Continue supervising the employee. If the employee isn't supervised, by either you, the owner, or manager, understand that they will revert to their previous behaviors.

Hold regularly scheduled, ongoing educational meetings. Continue to educate all employees in regard to patient flow, unit sale per patient and attention to detail.

Provide continuing training sessions. With this more technical form of instruction, you continually repeat and update staff on the importance of an organizational method of performance, including practice vocabulary, methods of answering the telephone, presentation offees and consistent application of office policy. The Ritz Carlton and Hyatt Regency Hotel chains are perfect examples of this application.

Enforce consequences. Have each employee sign a statement indicating that he/she has read and will abide by your entire operating procedural manual. With no "state patrolman," your staff will continue to repeat negative behavior.

The optician gives it away

Dr. C.L. Vogel called my company reporting numerous employee problems. The most pressing: an optician who constantly gave away product.

It was evident that Andy, the optician, wasn't only guilty of giving things away, but presenting patients with only the low-end frame and lens lines. A further investigation into the problem revealed that Andy had, had numerous personal financial problems and as a result was only presenting those items he, himself could afford. To rectify this issue, we took the following steps:

► We had Andy read, sign and agree to implement the standard operating procedures contained within the practice manual.

► We taught Andy to act as a "pharmacist" and fill the O.D.'s prescription (lens and enhancements) with no alterations.

► We placed Andy on a commission and instructed him that it's the patient's business, not his, as to which eyewear the patient selects.

► We instructed Andy that during frame styling, he is to start with the high-end product.

► Dr. Vogel would review the sales log with Andy daily — a critical check and balance system.

Implement the above strategies to avoid disappointments and aggravations. OM


DR. KATTOUF IS PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF TWO MANAGEMENT AND CONSULTING COMPANIES. FOR INFORMATION, CALL (800) 745-EYES, OR, E-MAIL HIM AT ADVANCEDEYECARE@HOTMAIL.COM. THE INFORMATION IN THIS COLUMN IS BASED ON ACTUAL CONSULTING FILES.

Optometric Management, Issue: June 2009