After receiving my Advanced Front Office Training, I have begun modernizing filing systems, purging the paper files and making necessary additions to the computer software systems to better manage data. I am tightening up the AR and it has improved significantly. My problem is Marsha, the receptionist, who was here when I started. She was told that I am the manager and that she is to follow my direction. However, she has a negative attitude about learning any of the new systems that I have learned during my training with you and wants to keep doing things “her way”. The doctors say I have free choice in this matter and it is up to me. What do you think?
Perhaps Marsha feels “left out” since she did not attend the training. Coming from you it may not have the same influence as coming from me. I would be happy to have a conference with her on the phone and explain the systems and the goals of productivity and eliminating stress. It is important that you have a firm understanding of each other’s job duties and have separate areas of accountability. Marsha will feel like she plays an important role in the practice and that she is not your “assistant.” Marsha needs to understand there is a better way and in order to take the practice to a higher level, she needs to cooperate. Write out the new systems and train Marsha to do them as instructed. If she continues to undermine your efforts, you may give her a written warning with a timeline to show improvement. If she still continues the negative behavior, you may put her on probation with a timeline to improve. If it continues, then termination is the unfortunate answer. Please check with your state employment separation rules before establishing a disciplinary process.
Marsha did feel left out when not included in the training. She admitted to having a “chip” on her shoulder and to being resistant to change. After being told that she could have one-on-one time with me, her attitude changed and she wanted to be a part of the new goals. A definitive job description with areas that were Marsha’s responsibility gave her direction and a feeling of “ownership.”
As you know, Dr. Toths hired me because I have a Business Degree and have worked as an account manager in an upscale financial institution for five years. I am accustomed to acquiring financing for people and am used to dealing with larger accounts than we have here in our office. Dr. Toths wants to do more high-end cosmetic cases and thought that I would be an asset. So why am I not doing what I was hired to do? I have no desk area or a definite designated space. I carry my briefcase from place to place in the office like a nomad. I was supposed to replace a woman that is retiring but she is still here and she is not being “phased out” of the practice like I was told she would be. She has made a mess of the AR. I get it when it is 90 days old and she has given up. I have a written job description but I am not accountable for it because she is still in charge. I like this job and I have added some great systems, thanks to your help, but I can’t operate without a desk. Help!!!!!!
During the training with you, I recall that you have excellent verbal skills and when we did some role-playing you were very smooth with your presentation. You are “chomping at the bit” and nowhere to run at this point. Your CEO doctor knows that you are an asset, however, he is suffering from a common fear of change. He feels loyalty to the woman who is supposed to be retiring, Minga, but he knows that she does not have the formal training to take the practice where he wants it to go. He is also aware that Minga, is “friendly” with the patients to the point of letting their account balances get beyond their ability to pay back. I will be happy to assist you in having a meeting to establish your role in the office and to further cement this role by insisting that you have a designated work area. If Minga is to remain, she needs a written job description with areas of accountability clearly defined. You will be in charge of Financial Arrangements for all patients and follow-up on AR. Minga’s position will be that of Scheduling Coordinator. This will eliminate Minga from making “emotional” financial arrangements.
Katarina, Minga and I had a meeting with her employer and he liked the idea of the new job description for Minga and taking her out of the treatment financing. At first Minga was put off by the change but actually liked not having to deal with the finances anymore and agreed to take direction in this area from Katarina. Katarina was given a special corner of the business office and was able to unpack her briefcase.
Is your office an “emotional” battleground? Successful systems and professionally trained Front Office Employees are the answer.Forward this article to a friend.
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Dr. Brian Carter - Case Study #225
Why do some offices excel and others continue to struggle?
With Dr. Carter’s permission, we share his experience after McKenzie because we feel that it is applicable to all doctors and their team members.
Let me set the stage for his comments:
Dr. Carter, his team and McKenzie Management worked together in 2004. He had purchased his practice from his father where he had been working as an Associate. He was in need of assistance implementing business systems and developing a strong and successful team to work with.
Dr. Carter sent the following e-mail in September of this year after inquiring on his progress. He was so positive and proud that he took a minute to reflect on what he felt was the most important factor in his achievements. Here is his response:
I think regarding my involvement with the employees, that the biggest thing we did was not having "secrets". Exposing the practice numbers helped them to see that I wasn't hoarding.
I really began to empower them by giving them the freedom to do their job but expecting 35% etc, and Expecting goals met. We have only missed our collection goal 4 months since McKenzie in September of 2004. Wow…that is two years. I think that is amazing!
Fortunately, I have been able to trust employees to just do their job, and have accountability. Having reviews really builds a rapport with the staff, and lets them know how I feel. I think we made some staff changes right before McKenzie and after that people were worried about their job and that creates employee stress wondering if they are next. Holding the reviews takes some of that worry away and allows them to focus on what I want them to focus on.
I try not to micromanage them, and they appreciate that. I have also tried to show appreciation for them by little things, but have never done so in a lavish way, mostly small ways.
I try to be really accommodating for family situations and emergencies. They know that I feel that their jobs are not as important as their family. But when they are here, I expect their best.
My relationship I have today with the team wasn't something that I said and BAM! there was trust. It was a process, and we had bumps along the way. But being open and trying to solve their concerns as if they had ownership in the practice has really helped.
I truly believe that the employees now have a feeling that this is partially their practice as well.
You don’t know when you have arrived until you know where you are going. Otherwise, you are just making good time going nowhere! Contact us so we can help you determine where you need to go and how to get there.
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