Encouraging staff to engage with the vision and systems that I implemented at my practice was a process I was eager to learn.
I understood that a vital element to my business success was getting strong performances from staff. I discovered that what I needed to do in order to achieve this was to provide the environment for them to succeed.
An owner or manager can easily implement any system they deem appropriate. However if they have not taken full responsibility for the role they play in rolling out the change, the staff will have great difficulty in achieving the desired result.
If you instruct a staff member to complete a task, and that staff member does not complete the task to the standard you had hoped for, you must first look at yourself.
What were your exact instructions? What did you state were your expectations? Did you seek out possible barriers and assist the staff member in overcoming these hurdles?
For example, if I was to select ‘Nicole’, one of my nurses, to take on the role of managing stock, there are a couple of ways I could delegate this responsibility…
“Nicole as discussed, you are now in charge of ordering. I want you to make sure we always have enough stock, especially of the vital things we need, and the high turn-over items such as gloves. Try and keep the costs down, so don’t be extravagant. Anything too expensive should be passed by me first.”
“Nicole, thanks for agreeing to take on the ‘ordering’ role. Here is a list of guidelines for you to use:
i) Your ordering budget each month is $2,500. If you find you need to go over this, speak to me before placing the order.
ii) Use the desk and filing shelf in the staff room. There is the phone and computer there also, so you will be able to easily process and track your orders.
iii) I have arranged for you to be out of the surgery every alternate Friday afternoon to allow you the time to concentrate solely on ordering. If reps need to visit, they should use these times.
iv) We have existing systems for staff to notify you of what needs to be ordered and any equipment that needs to be repaired. You are free to discuss with the staff the effectiveness of these systems and modify if needed.
v) You are free to order all consumable items and low-cost equipment up to the limit of $500 per item. Any items over this limit need my approval.
vi) We have a loyalty arrangement with Example Ordering Company, so please aim to order 80% of your order through them.
Nicole, I am always available to discuss any challenges you may have. I am here to help solve issues and provide guidance. Use me as you need.”
Of these two scenarios, which would prompt the stronger performance? Obviously it is the second option.
To give staff the best chance of succeeding…
- Clearly state your expectations
- Mentally walk through the process, picking up on what the staff member will need in terms of space, time and physical aids
- Consider what training and/or support from other team members can be offered
- Follow up and review with the staff member how they are progressing
If your team are not delivering the results you want, look at your own process first. Contemplate what else you could be doing to provide the environment for success!