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Human Resources Management Print E-mail
Written by Todd D. Demel, MBA   
Saturday, 12 March 2011 15:52

         Management of a medical practice's human resources can be a time-consuming and daunting task. For these reasons, it is often put aside or dealt with half-heartedly while other matters are given greater priority. Since many office managers are typically overwhelmed, they feel they don't have the energy to directly address fundamental personnel deficiencies. However, the very character of an office is determined by the morale of the staff and culture of the work setting. Furthermore, the functionality of a medical facility is in large part the result of the talents and capabilities of its people.

Due to the lack of time, energy, or sense of direction, a number of inadequate approaches are often taken in dealing with personnel issues. These include sweeping issues under the rug in hopes they will resolve themselves (they rarely do), taking an overbearing, dictatorial stance towards staff (this can often breed resentment), or spending an inordinate amount of time counseling those that have issues and continuing down this path in spite of little or no realization of results.

Whether you are an office manager or a physician grappling with such challenges, as an individual involved with human resource management (HRM), it is worthwhile to consider the following characteristics of your behavior:

Communication

Consistency

Specificity

Ethical/ legal dimensions

It is important that expectations and standards are communicated to staff. Each employee should be crystal clear as to what is expected of them, as well as the type of behavior and performance that is considered unacceptable. Regular staff meetings present an opportunity to reiterate guidelines and solicit feedback from staff. An environment that fosters this kind of open communication helps to dispel an 'us against them' mentality and prevents people from fueling the rumor mill. Employee feedback should be encouraged since it can lead to solutions to problems and this will enable the practice to remain dynamic and effective. And leaders must demonstrate consistency in behavior when administering disciplinary actions so that boundaries remain clear. Otherwise, guidelines can become blurred, thus resulting in less uniform behavior and performance.

The culture and direction of the practice should match stated objectives and priorities so that personnel do not receive mixed messages. This is where vision and leadership become critical. You cannot achieve your goals and get to where you are going if you have not established and communicated a clear framework for where you want to be. Leaders and managers must practice what they preach by displaying the very attitude and performance they are promoting. Remember, patients will ultimately sense whether there is negativity or feelings of resentment among the staff.

Job descriptions define roles and responsibilities and can be very helpful in managing job performance. They also help to bring about clarity and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings. Additionally, job descriptions aid the practice in defending itself against complaints regarding pay, job performance, or discrimination. Are your job descriptions current? Personnel and functions may change over time. The descriptions should be realistic and based on what staff actually does rather than an abstract ideal. Finally, it is vital to provide constructive feedback and do so in the form of a two-way dialogue. All too often, employees are caught off guard, surprised, or disappointed during a performance review. However, if feedback is provided on an ongoing basis to the employee, there should be no surprises when it comes time for their 90-day or annual review. And don't forget about recognition. Studies show that recognition can be as important as pay, benefits, and status. Feedback should not be one-dimensional; so give credit where credit is due. In receiving accolades, your employees will feel valued and appreciated and this will motivate them to continue delivering optimum performance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR   Mr. Demel is Senior Executive of Physician Management Services at MF Healthcare Solutions.  Possessing both operational and financial backgrounds, the MF Healthcare Solutions management team has vast experience in a range of healthcare industry settings. Our combined expertise enables us to offer specialized and effective physician practice management services. For more information, please visit: www.mfhealthcare.com or contact Todd Demel at (954) 475-3199.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 March 2011 15:56
 


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