We know employee performance management can be challenging, particularly in a medical practice.
Patient satisfaction is one of the top priorities for every medical practice. But how do you ensure your employees are always held accountable to patients? How do you guarantee they’re delivering the highest quality patient experience?
Employee Performance Data
Employee performance data keeps employees honest. It identifies their strengths and areas in need of improvement.
Is an employee failing to meet expectations? For example, you may notice your check-in staff aren’t engaging with patients in a friendly manner.
When you point this out to your staff, they’ll likely become defensive: “What do you mean? Of course I’m being friendly!” This is a completely natural response to feeling confronted, accused, or attacked. Unfortunately, this is often the case even if you approach staff with the best of intentions and in the gentlest, most helpful way possible.
This is why it’s important to have specific data from patients, supporting your observations. Bringing anecdotal evidence to an employee isn’t always enough to drive performance improvement. Numbers, on the other hand, don’t lie. Having data readily available makes a big difference in employee coaching. If patients consistently say that a staff member is being unfriendly, then the staff member has no choice but to improve.
Below are two different approaches. Which is more effective?
- “I noticed you weren’t very friendly to that patient.”
- “Since February, we’ve received 12 different patient complaints regarding your behavior. Here are their detailed comments…”
The first scenario presents one instance of one person’s subjective observation. The second scenario, however, presents data from several sources to support the need for the employee to improve. It’s also highly specific and provides a timeframe.
Below are actual comments from patients, collected via rater8 patient satisfaction surveys, regarding a rater8 client’s front desk staff member.
If this employee, after undergoing coaching and mentoring from their manager, does not change their demeanor toward patients, then you have a full audit trail supporting termination of their employment.
Outline Values and Expectations
It’s important to outline your values and expectations for your employees so that performance feedback does not come as a surprise. These need to be explicitly communicated to the staff, ideally upon hire.
For example, for front desk staff, values and behavioral expectations might look like this:
- Value: Warmth and friendliness
- Behaviors: Greets patients with a smile and friendly hello; makes eye contact with patient while talking to them
- Value: Patient communication
- Behaviors: Provides patients with information about their visit, e.g., who they will be seeing, unusual wait times, billing/insurance requirements, future visit scheduling
- Value: Efficiency
- Behaviors: Promptly addresses patients without delay; processes patient check-in/out quickly
- Value: Professionalism
- Behaviors: Keeps communication with other staff members focused on work when in front of patients; acts as a practice ambassador and communicates with patients as valued customers
Outlining values and expected behaviors will allow you to then measure staff performance against specific, pre-determined criteria.
rater8’s performance management module is unique in that it asks patients to rate and provide feedback for specific staff members. This process is fully automated via an interface with your practice management system.
Additionally, within the rater8 ecosystem, we offer benchmarking that allows you to easily compare the performance of one employee to another.
Employee performance management, particularly in healthcare, can be a slippery slope. Leveraging performance data is the most effective way to improve operations and help ensure you’re always delivering the highest level of patient care possible.