Enrich the Jobs of Your Staff
Reduce staff boredom by adding or redistributing job responsibilities.
BOB LEVOY, O.D.
For some people, doing the same thing every day is fine. For others, it results in boredom. As one optometric assistant told me, “My job became ho-hum. I mean I was good at it; patients were pleased, but I was just plain bored.”
Some employees experience boredom, yet stay on the job. Their departure is psychological. It shows up in counterproductive activities, including socializing with co-workers, personal phone calls, surfing the Web, absenteeism and lack luster on-the-job performance.
Such employees make it obvious that something is lacking in the work itself. The job may provide security, good pay, benefits and pleasant co-workers. However, the day-to-day elements of getting the work done do not provide stimulation, growth or a sense of achievement.
The enriching solution
One of the best ways to make work more interesting is through job enrichment, a process of redistributing or adding job duties.
By focusing on employees’ strengths, what they like doing and what they do best, you can boost discretionary effort, job satisfaction and loyalty. Look for those times when employees are operating at peak performance, radiating energy and showing total engagement. Then, provide more of these high-performance opportunities in their daily routine.
You might ask, who will do the unwanted tasks? Ideally, someone else will prefer them or at worst, won’t mind doing them. If so, the problem’s solved. If not, give those tasks to low performers or parttime employees, outsource them or hire temps. Let the best people do what they do best. It’s that simple.
Additional action steps:
► One of the most effective ways to provide job enrichment is to give capable people a chance to grow on the job; tackle jobs that require what industrial psychologists call s-t-r-e-t-c-h, that is, increasing competence by challenging the staff. It’s the same principle as playing a game or sport with someone who’s a “little better” at it than you. It’s motivational. It makes you perform better. It provides a sense of achievement.
Examples of s-t-r-e-t-c-h include an opportunity to lead a staff meeting, train others, do market research, make a presentation at a local school or conduct a lunch and learn program for office staff.
► If there are job responsibilities a staff member would like to have, begin training him or her for those responsibilities.
► Provide opportunities for the person to attend continuing education programs and learn new clinical, laboratory, dispensing or office-related skills.
► Involve staff members in the planning and implementation of projects. For example, instead of purchasing new equipment or technology on your own, have a staff meeting with those who will use it. Make them part of the decision-making process. Let the team try out various models at convention exhibits or, if possible, with in-office demonstrations. Use their feedback to help make a purchasing decision. The team will be much more excited and accepting of the technology when they help with such a decision.
► Cross-training is another option that allows employees to perform in other areas of the practice. It adds variety to staff members’ days, builds their professional credentials and gives the practice some flexibility. OM
DR. LEVOY IS THE AUTHOR OF SEVEN BOOKS, INCLUDING 201 SECRETS OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE OPTOMETRIC PRACTICE (AVAILABLE AT WWW.AMAZON.COM) AND 222 SECRETS OF HIRING, MANAGING AND RETAINING GREAT EMPLOYEES IN HEALTHCARE PRACTICES. E-MAIL BLEVOY@VERI IZON.NET, OR TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, E-MAIL OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.
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