Honorable Mention, Manager Article Contest

How to Maintain a Positive Approach in a Negative Environment
by Tina Housman

Question yourself, are you one who sees the good in everyone and everything? If so, then you can review and rehabilitate those you work with.  I say rehabilitate because I am positive that given the opportunity, everyone can adjust and refocus their approach to their jobs if given the right tools and example to follow.

Find out how your staff views their job, do they view themselves as helping people or as “just doing their job” for example when a patient comes into the office is the employee looking to help the patient or intentionally “too busy” to notice them? There are only a few people who are devoid of peripheral vision, when I walk up to a counter and the person or people behind the desk cannot or do not make eye contact with me, I know there is a problem. 

In our office, my office is front and center with a clear view of our front office, if someone approaches the counter and no employee responds within seconds, I leave my desk and offer the person assistance.  I am always friendly courteous and genuinely willing to assist.  The next person to come in is greeted in the same manner by any member of our staff. It is a small gesture but we have been complimented on numerous occasions for our positive and friendly office staff and providers. 

No office is perfect and as is human nature so comes the tendency to avoid work.  I was beginning to notice a lot of “empty” appointment times on our schedule.  It was a time for the staff to “relax” throughout the day and it became apparent that it was occurring daily.  I started paying closer attention to why we had so many openings, I got the usual excuses, “the patient was a ‘no show’ or the patient cancelled at the last minute.” There was no incentive to re-fill the appointment slot.  Same work day, less work, same pay mentality.  The solution was simple, for every full schedule the front office staff would earn an hour of comp time.  The results were amazing!  It is a win-win situation. 

There are more details to the incentive program which of course created additional work for me and a demand for other incentives for other staff members but I still believe it is well worth it.  My staff feels even more appreciated and eager to find ways to make our practice more successful.

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