Article Date: 2/1/2011

What Staff Love and Hate
staffing solutions

What Staff Love and Hate

Achieve a happier workplace by understanding staff preferences.

Bob Levoy, O.D.

“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.”

-Peter F. Drucker, writer and management consultant.

What do your employees say about the management of your practice and what it's like to work there? Is it positive, perhaps negative or something in-between? Is it “just a job” or one that they really “love?” Do they “tolerate” it because they need a job? Such distinctions can impact staff morale, motivation and productivity — even your practice's image.

One of my surveys asks staff to write on index cards what they love and/or hate about the doctors or office managers for whom they work. No signatures are required to encourage forthright answers without concern for repercussions.

I've compiled a few of these replies in the hope that they'll provide insights into achieving a happier, more productive workplace.

Favorable replies:

► “The doctor respects my judgment as an optician and frequently asks my opinion.”
► “For the most part, my reasons for staying on this job are the quality of my relationship with the doctor and a situation in which I am not taken advantage of, either on the basis of workload, salary or lack of respect.”
► “She is easy going and always ready to try new ideas.”
► “He makes us feel important and lets patients know we're important. He never calls us ‘the girls’ and always uses our names.”
► “When my father died, the doctor told me: ‘Take as much time as you need.’ It was a stressful time and I'll never forget his kindness.”
► “This doctor (unlike the one for whom I previously worked) delegates clinical tasks for which I'm qualified. It's an expression of confidence that I greatly appreciate.”
► “I love attending continuing education courses — and the opportunity it gives us to network, learn new skills and make our work more interesting and satisfying.”
► “She has a great sense of humor, which makes it pleasant for everyone – patients included.”
► “He's been very understanding of my childcare responsibilities and adjusted my hours to accommodate my hectic schedule.”

Unfavorable replies:

► “My boss preaches a lot — but doesn't walk his talk.”
► “The doctors reprimand us in front of patients and co-workers. It's humiliating.”
► “Staff members who aren't pulling their weight are allowed to stay.”
► “The office manager micro-manages every little detail of what I do. It sends a message that she doesn't trust me. It's demoralizing.”
► “The doctor never says ‘thank you’ for anything — ever!”
► “A new employee was hired who has far less experience than I and is being paid more than me. Who do you think they asked to train this new employee? Me!”
► “The young associate treats us like we're his slaves. ‘Get this! Do that!’ He's arrogant.”
► “The office manager allows some employees to bend rules that others must follow.”
► “I'm often asked to stay late, which is a terrible imposition. Worse yet, it's not appreciated.”

Reality check: Good morale is a necessity. Unhappy employees don't perform as well as those who like their jobs and the people for whom they work. And that perspective can take a heavy toll on patient satisfaction, referrals and practice growth. OM


BOB LEVOY'S NEWEST BOOK “222 SECRETS OF HIRING, MANAGING AND RETAINING GREAT EMPLOYEES IN HEALTHCARE PRACTICES” WAS PUBLISHED BY JONES & BARTLETT PUBLISHERS. YOU CAN REACH HIM BY E-MAIL AT B.LEVOY@ATT.NET.

Optometric Management, Issue: February 2011