Thursday, February 20, 2014
Improving Employee Attitudes and Work Performance
You’ve probably heard the expression “Physician, heal thyself!” Well, let’s take it a little bit further - physician - or dentist, pharmaceutical supervisor, veterinarian - heal your staff.
Improving employee attitudes and work performance is of key importance for successful interactions with patients. It’s also a vital part of staff education. And yet healers of all types often just don’t get around to staff education that will, in and of itself, improve attitudes and performance, successfully address weaknesses, and retain skilled employees.
Yes, you may feel that your patients are best served by focusing your attention on their care, on research, and personal medical training. But staff development and education does impact your practice and your patients directly. And you need to lead the way and encourage staff education, positive employee attitude, and overall team performance. It’s all one big bundle. It’s especially important in regard to OSHA, HIPAA, and other compliance-requirement programs. Fines from non-compliance are steep, and employees who feel blind-sided by rules and regulations they’re not knowledgeable about will let that resentment show in attitude and performance.
So what to do? Educate! Use a simple but thorough training program that will improve staff knowledge, prevent a lack of compliance, and allow staff members to really get a handle on the information they need in order to create a smoothly running practice. Naturally, we recommend that you turn to us at MedTrainer, and let us guide you in regard to compliance with government rules and regulations, and establishing and maintaining orientation, safety, and sexual harassment prevention programs, violence prevention, and many more coaching areas.
Along with avoiding issues with government compliance requirements, you’ll be working to develop and maintain staff loyalty. Personal growth as well as professional growth start with your commitment to educating employees. Educating is caring. A caring environment retains its workers, rather than losing them to other practices.
You’ll find staff morale - which directly affects attitude and performance - will improve greatly in an environment in which education and training is valued. Naturally, job competency will take a leap forward, too. Trained staff members are confident and assertive about running a medical practice smoothly.
It’s a simple fact that staff members receiving training specific to their work are more productive, happier, and more confident in their work. Staying current with medical care information is obviously of vital importance, but so is staying current with government guidelines, for staff and patient safety.
When your educated, competent staff deals with patients, their good attitude and consistent competence will naturally improve patient satisfaction. If your staff feels properly trained, employee skills, attitude and capability will all improve.
And this improvement means your patient satisfaction will rise, too. So how does that affect you? It will create, of course, a more positive work environment for everyone to experience. And it will affect your practice’s profit, too. You can look at staff education as something that supports the bottom line: because it does. Happy staff, pleasant practice, informed staff, well-treated patients who continue to support your practice. You do the math. It will add up, and favorably, for the practice whose employees feel valued and educated.
Good management skills are crucial to your bottom line. So managers who are a part of your practice should receive coaching and development skills that can guide them through their working day. And all staff members should receive thorough professional training aided and abetted by management team members, and through the consistent support of on going education. Why? To stay up to date on the best practices for care, the updated government compliance rules, and patient privacy.
Sure, your staff has very likely received a traditional orientation about your medical, dental, or veterinary practice. They’ve met with other members of your medical community, worked hand in hand with others to assimilate the day to day routines and overall knowledge of your practice.
But today, with the combination of advanced technology, updated compliance protocols, and the rapidity of new information that includes but goes beyond patient care, a medical practice needs an established, integrated training and education program that won’t take time away from other important functions in the office. Through such a program you can address weaknesses, listen to employee concerns, create an atmosphere that reduces stress, and prevents work place issues from inappropriate behavior to poor employee retention.
Many staff members may simply receive casual, initial on the job training that can be variable in terms of time and content due to work constraints. And new employee training aside, all employees need on-going training. That’s right - as radical as that idea may sound, a practice shouldn’t limit training and education to new employees only.
Performance and informational personal development are intertwined. Providing on-going training in areas ranging from patient care to personal development, conflict resolution, and HIPAA/HITECH updates are key to running an effective, productive, compliant office. All of which leads to one simple outcome: higher employee satisfaction and improved work attitude and performance.
All too often, managers don’t understand the connection between employee satisfaction, attitude, performance and what makes all three improve - proper training and education. Ongoing training is key in order to be sure that employees can handle proper patient service issues, conflict resolution, and that they know how to communicate effectively. Cross training for a variety of positions is also helpful and offers advantages when it comes to vacation requests or employee departures. Another bonus for cross training: employees know what others in the practice actually do and receive a broader overall understanding of the day to day workings of the practice. This knowledge leads to respect and recognition all around.
And along with the importance of training employees, doctors, dentists, veterinary staff, and office managers in all forms of medical practice need their own training - to stay up to date on government regulations. A perfect example is OSHA and HIPAA rules and updates. You might have learned all about them at a medical conference several years ago - but they may look different now. Small errors can cause employees to fail, and cause your practice to be subject to fines or time consuming corrections. Staying informed about rules, regulations, requirements and the best medical practices equals a successful practice.
Another important aspect of any training program is that it be directed at your profession, not general training issues. The partnership training MedTrainer offers - regardless of the size of your practice or the number of staff members - is directed specifically at the medical field. It’s important in terms of time and accuracy not to train employees with general OSHA materials and the like, as it can be irrelevant, or worse, confusing. The idea of training and educating your staff is two fold - to create an atmosphere of caring, transparency, and shared culture, and to make an effective team that will avoid miss-steps with patients and protocol. In both ways, achieving these goals makes for high quality medical care and a successful practice.
Remember, regular in-office educational programs improve efficiency and prevent problems. Also note that education and training are different from coaching, but encouraging employees in terms of cross training, open dialog, and access to management is just as important but in a different way. Training is all about the skills and processes, whereas coaching deals with guidance and advice for performance enhancement. Our simple advice - do both.
We find that training and education - and a healthy dose of office mentoring - pays off for staff and medical leadership is so many different ways. After all, having an effective way of communicating, developing conflict resolution strategies, preventing sexual harassment, and providing a regular format for partaking knowledge of rules and regulations all results in a practice just as healthy as you want your patients to be.
For more information, visit us today at MedTrainer.