5_05 Fix this_2
Run A Tight Ship
staff training can influence whether your practice sinks or swims.
S. KATTOUF, O.D., D.O.S.
staffing issues getting worse? What do you see as the major employee problem and
how do you correct it?
Dr. E. B. Hahn
There is no doubt that keeping employees in line has become one of the top three
problems in the work place. Let's take a global look at the employee crop you are
presently hiring. Many present-day workers lack structure, organization and consequences
(S.O.C.) to negative behavior. The problem that I see is a lack of awareness in
setting and implementing boundaries. O.D.s commonly put up with negative behavior
because they lack the will to deal with the problems. When you ignore negative behavior,
there is a domino affect:
The owner/doctor becomes an enabler of improper conduct.
Employees who don't have
S.O.C. problems perceive your behavior as failing to protect them.
New employees may pick-up negative
behavior and attitudes.
Efficiency, productivity and
profitability will decline.
Offices that lack well-defined
employee boundaries exhibit much higher levels of embezzlement.
The number one problem that I observe with staff
is simply that many "varsity" employees are unwilling to share their knowledge with
new hires. The common term for this behavior is territorial. The following are reasons
I have encountered for territorial behavior from a senior staff member.
Consciously or subconsciously
afraid the new co-worker may out perform them.
Fatigued and tired of constant
employee turnover and training.
Covering-up their own failings
and possibly embezzlement.
Thinks doctor (owner) will put
them on a pedestal because "no one else can do their job."
Dr. B.W. McGee called my company with some major
staffing problems. Dr. McGee loved optometry but his inability to solve staffing
issues was holding him back. The practice's gross income was stagnant for five years.
His net income was no more than what he would earn as an employed O.D.
My on-site consulting and management
visit exposed the problem. Evelyn, the office manager, was well-trained and skilled
in all clinical and optical areas. The other three employees lacked skills because
there was no organized training program. The other employees questioned Evelyn
twenty to thirty times per day, with none of them learning from this interaction.
It's interesting that Evelyn had developed
numerous stress-related symptoms since Dr. McGee had continued to overfill her plate.
Making it work
I suggested the following:
Initiate a video training program
supported by workshops to train all employees in all departments. (Note: This cross
training philosophy is not universal. It was necessary in this practice.)
Test employees to assure they
are learning the information.
I instructed Evelyn to discontinue
answering questions if she felt the co-worker had been trained in that area.
I also established a team commission
After I asserted that Evelyn is a vital
component of the team, I explained that if each member did not perform, the team
would not earn profit sharing. By breaking down territorial behavior, Evelyn would
earn commission, decrease stress, improve her health and make work more enjoyable.
Dr. McGee's gross income has increased
Awareness of your total operation is
necessary to detect and prevent territorial behavior. 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
Optometric Management, Issue: December 2005