fix this practice
When Your Best is Also Your Worst
Sometimes changing a staffer's role can change
S. KATTOUF, O.D., D.O.S.
"best" employee has a history of chronic absences, which I have enabled. The staff
feels I am "playing favorites" and some are beginning to mimic the behavior. What
can I do?" -
P. L. Hughes
we allow negative behavior patterns for one employee, others will follow. The individual
in question will lose respect for you, as will the entire staff. When any employee
is a "no show," she places stress on her department, the staff and doctor for the
entire day. If employees cannot understand the problems they create, they do not
belong in your organization.
The best solution is prevention. Do not allow
these patterns to get out of control. Insist that all employees adhere to standard
operating procedures (S.O.P.) from the commencement of employment.
Dr. Sanger called my company with numerous
management issues. One of the major problems was Annette, his best staff member.
Annette had developed a habit of calling off work one day or more per week. She
was the most detail oriented, self-starter, fast learner and overall best at patient
encounters. Due to her stellar performance, Dr. Sanger enabled her to miss work.
He admitted that he would have terminated any other staffer with such poor attendance.
During my on-site consultations, I critiqued each employee for:
Put an end to bad behavior
Annette was a superior performer, except for the
last qualification on the list above. Dr. Sanger had a manager, Judy, whose plate
was over-flowing. She accepted too much responsibility and did not delegate enough.
I told Dr. Sanger that we would appoint Annette a "staff supervisor." At first,
he thought I was crazy. But I developed this position for two reasons:
1. Annette now had the obligation to
act in a "leadership role." Her new duties came with a raise in salary and a probationary
period of three months. She would receive half of the raise at the onset and the
other half at the end of the probation. She could miss no days of work during this
three-month trial. If she did miss a day, we would rescind her title and raise.
I had her sign an agreement for her file.
2. Changing the behavior patterns might
help retain a great employee. Annette had "learned" to "set-up" Dr. Sanger by saying,
"I feel a migraine coming," or "My son may have to stay home tomorrow," the day
before she called out. Annette was a manipulating employee.
The experiment worked
Annette actually had a passion for her new role.
I told her what we expected from her as a leader and she responded positively. Over
the next year, she missed work only twice.
I was not teaching Dr. Sanger to reward
Annette's chronic absences. I evaluated her as a staff leader and coached her on
how a leader must act as an example to the staff. It was the position of responsibility
that turned her around. Judy also got some assistance by delegating many duties
to Annette. Dr. Sanger's office has never run as smoothly as it does now.
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: June 2006