Staff Management

Enrich Staff Positions for Greater Performance


By Gary L. Moss, OD, MBA, CPC, FAAO

The most productive offices–those which function efficiently as a team–rely on collaboration to accomplish goals and attain desired outcomes.

This begins with the optometrist as “team leader.” The OD’s beliefs and expectations greatly influence the staff’s performance and the ability to deliver higher levels of service quality that result in increased profit. You can influence employee behavior by the way that you define success and how you establish standards of achievement.

How theTeam GoesWrong

There are several reasons why staff members fail to work successfullytogether as a team. Again, this begins with the optometrists as team leaders. They can:

  1. Place unreasonable demands on staff

  2. Have an overly dominating management style

  3. Be unable or unwilling to meet the needs of staff

How to Set the Team Right

One traditional technique used to enrich jobs for increased productivity is “job enlargement.” This is an expansion of duties achieved by adding a greater number and variety of tasks to an employee’s daily routine. The value of this technique is questionable at best, especially if staff members are already overworked.

Resources

Griffin, R., Task Design: An Integrative Approach,
(Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1982), pp. 31-34

Herzberg, F., Mausner, B. And Snyderman, B.,
The Motivation to Work
, (New York, Wiley, 1959)

Poulos, N., “12 Database Marketing Principles-Part 1”,
Target Marketing, Sept 1997, v20 n9 pp. 46-49

A better method of motivating staff productivity is by designing jobs that fulfill employees’ needs for growth, recognition and personal achievement. This satisfies their needs by offering them the opportunity for more responsibility, according to Ricky W.Griffin’s Task Design: An Integrative Approach. This concept is the basis of Frederick Herzberg’s “two-factor theory” (in his book The Motivation to Work) of employee motivation that draws the conclusion that employees will be motivated by jobs that enhance their feeling of self-worth. Therefore, the optometrist would benefit by designing positions with this in mind.

Fulfill the Need for Growth

There are many ways to fulfill a staff member’s need for growth including certification of optometric assistants through the AOA and licensing of opticians. Recognition is enhanced when all staff members are given business cards with their name on them. These are to be given to a patient with a statement: If you need to change this appointment time, call me and I will take care of it for you. An enhanced level of service quality. Encouraging the staff to be creative and go out of their way to meet patients’ needs, such as delivering eyewear to their homes if they are leaving on vacation. This gives a feeling of empowerment and service.

Acknowledging Excellence

What should you do to recognize excellent performance and fulfill the need for personal growth and achievement?

Many theories attempt to explain how to enhance work motivation, all with different assumptions about the importance of employee attitude affecting behavior. However, no single theory has emerged with overwhelming support. Your effectiveness as a manager is increased by your ability to determine what motivates your staff!

A study by Nick Poulos, an organizational design specialist from Harvard Business School researching more than 750 companies found no direct correlation between leadership style and either consumer loyalty or profits.However, there was a strong connection between consumer loyalty and employee satisfaction. The conclusion was that satisfied employees are critical to achieving the service levels that create consumer loyalty, and working with loyal consumers strengthens employee satisfaction and loyalty. It is an accepted belief that employee satisfaction is greatest when employees are empowered to make decisions.

To achieve the highest possible levels of office operating efficiency and productivity, begin by asking yourself, “what have I done to increase the motivation of my employees?” If you, the optometrist as manager, concentrate on assessing the needs of each member of your staff, the result will be to create a more motivated staff that should translate into higher levels of patient service.

Motivating Employees

Since each staff member will be motivated by different methods, the first step is to ask your employees how they wish to be rewarded. Ask:

  1. What type of incentive do you prefer?

    • Personal, such as a gift card to your favorite store or restaurant?

    • Collective, the entire staff will be sent to continuing education, to a spa for the day, a movie theatre party, a baseball game or a day for all families at an amusement park?

    • Charitable contributions to your favorite religious or nonprofit organization, a local family in need, or perhaps a patient who has lost their job?

    • Sponsoring your loved one’s baseball team?

Properly rewarding the staff for a job well done will lead not only to a satisfied staff but also to satisfied patients and an overall more productive office.


Gary L. Moss, OD, MBA, CPC, FAAO is the founder and Director of Appraisals for Practice Appraisal & Mediation, a national ophthalmic consulting collaborative endorsed by the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees. In addition, he is a consultant for The PowerPractice. Presently, he is an adjunct assistant professor teaching epidemiology in the health services administration program at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla.He can be reached at garymoss@earthlink.net

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