Keeping your staff happy can be difficult with the stress of working face-to-face with patients in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment like Patient Access. Happy employees make happy patients. But how do you come to have happy employees? It starts with telling the truth. Not what you expected to read, right? Well, it takes courage to speak the truth, to identify when things are not right or not being performed as they should be. And often your staff knows when things are not right or someone is taking advantage of them and the situation and they become unhappy.
When managers fail to identify negative issues and address them, they steal the joy from their department, their staff, and their own joy. How often do you walk around dreading a conversation with someone who is not measuring up? How many really good employees have left your department because they had to work alongside a low-performing employee who was difficult to work with or gave up because no one noticed how hard they worked and the contributions they made to the team? A QA system will reveal the truth regarding performance! When you have a healthy QA system in place that allows you to determine who is hitting the marks and who is not, half your battle is won.
The other half is to be honest, speak the truth and have conversations with those who are failing to meet expectations but also at the same time reward and recognize those who are performing well. Often we focus on the negative results of QA and forget about the “work horses” in our department who win the races for us. Let your Human Resources department help you to improve or remove low- and non-performers. But you have in your power to reward and recognize your high performers.
In these tight budgetary times, most departments have little if any money for reward and recognition. And most managers are not able to fund much in the way of rewards. But that’s where your imagination kicks in.
Find an old trophy in someone’s trophy case and get a new plate engraved with your department name or just take the plate off and put your own label on it. Call it the Patient Access Traveling Trophy. Choose whichever metric you want to improve on or recognize and then acknowledge a winner in that category. Present them with the trophy to keep until you choose another metric and another winner. Be sure to take their picture and post it online in an e-mail to the department or place it on a departmental bulletin board. And don’t throw those pictures away after that month! Keep those pictures up there month-in and month-out. Many employees really have a hidden motivation to have their picture on that bulletin board or better yet to have that trophy on their desk. They’ll work hard for that recognition!
Patients will inquire about the trophy on their desk and every time they explain how it came to land there, they will again feel the glow of being recognized! And you as a manager will reap the benefits of improved employee satisfaction and improved revenue cycle KPI’s with little or no investment.