One of the most rewarding things PMI does on a regular basis is to visit Pediatric practices around the country to help identify opportunities to improve their practice. This is the second of a 5-part series of emails detailing some of the most common things we recommend to our clients. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the next item we commonly recommend.
Recently we called a client’s office and the person answering the phone did so by abruptly saying “X,Y,Z Pediatrics, will you hold please” followed by a loud click- placing us on hold without the consideration of hearing what we were calling about. Imagine the impression such an interaction would have on a new family in town calling to schedule their first appointment?
Another practice we visited had a receptionist checking people in and out who lacked any semblance of a friendly personality you would expect to find in a Pediatrician's office. We are often amazed why Pediatricians allow such people to be the face of their practice.
Generally speaking, Pediatricians are affable people Along with this trait (generally speaking) is the desire to avoid conflict. Defying many levels of logic, some practices think problems magically disappear if the conflict is avoided. The reality is that unless the practice clearly articulates their expectations and hold employees accountable, the practice will end up with the wrong people on their team. Worse yet, the toxic employees are usually making things miserable for the good employees.
A while back our good friend Dr. George Rogu and PMI founder Paulie Vanchiere were talking about how practices should deal with such issues. The essence of the conversation was that some employees are like cancer- at some point, the practice must decide whether to radiate or excise it. What are you doing to reduce the bad behavior in your practice (radiate)? Or are there employees who simply need to leave (excise)? Have you taken the time to set clear and fair expectations for all employees? Has the practice made the necessary investments in the single largest asset to ensure that everyone is performing as expected?
As with some types of cancer, you need to surgically remove it without delay. Similarly, there are some employees who need to be immediately removed from the practice. As with the usual demeanor of Pediatricians, it is very uncomfortable to pull the trigger of firing an employee. However, if you set clear expectations, help them improve with a tailored "Performance Improvement Plan" and hold them accountable without seeing any improvement, why not let them go?
Want to learn more about such management issues? Be sure to check out PMI's upcoming Pediatric Practice Management Conference coming in January. Check out PMI's founder Paul Vanchiere, MBA as he shares his thoughts on customer service excellence through KIDS- Kindness, Integrity, Dignity & Service: The video can be found at https://vimeo.com/163123056