Human Resource Development and Your Medical Practice

January 18, 2015

Don't underestimate the value of employee satisfaction. Here are four methods to plan and start developing your medical practice staff.

The healthcare landscape is changing so fast that the leadership and management style from the past is becoming antique. The U.S. healthcare delivery system is geared toward being connected, patient-centric, patient-empowered, and risk-managed. The reimbursement model is shifting from fee-for-service to fee-for-value.

New leadership challenges have one more crucial task ahead: human resource development. Managing human resources effectively and efficiently plays a critical role in ensuring that a satisfied, motivated workforce delivers quality health services at your medical practice.

It also plays an important role in increasing staff performance and productivity, enhancing an organization's competitive advantage, and contributing directly to organizational goals.

We have seen top healthcare dollars spent towards technology upgrades, policy upgrades, and workflow reengineering for patient satisfaction ("the external customer"). We don't see many dollars spent towards employee satisfaction and development ("the internal customer").

It is essential to introduce an element of "customer service" in human resource development and management as well. Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during, and after a purchase; or in the case of a medical practice, before, during, and after a visit. Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction - that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.

With introduction of customer service elements in human resource management, we can focus on need analysis, skill analysis, and gap analysis.

Once we identify these three areas, we can plan for employee development programs that benefit both the organization and its employees. Well-developed employees with proper training and professional goals often perform better than employees who receive little development or training through their employer. Better performing employees will help an organization succeed, and employees may enjoy their work more when they work toward a goal.

Here are four methods to develop medical practice employees:

Core Training

• Core training includes teaching new employees the basics of their job, such as job duties, expectations, and how to work on your EHR and related software. It may be recommended to have a "shadowing" timeframe wherein new hires follow existing employees for several days. Core training helps get a new employee off on the right foot, by giving him the training he needs to do his job.

Personal Development Plans

• Personal development plans are a development method that focuses on the employee's professional life. With this method, the organization works with the employee to set individual professional goals. The organization and employee create a list of goals such as rising to a higher level within the organization, and a plan for achieving them. Personal development plans help keep employees on track within the organization, and encourage an employee to work harder.

Leadership Training

• Leadership training is a development method used to help well-performing employees rise to a leadership level. With leadership training, the best employees are placed in a specialized training program that helps them develop the skills they need to become team leaders or supervisors. These programs also often involve creating individual goals. Leadership programs help organizations promote from within, and encourage employees to reach for higher levels.

Mentor Development Program

• A mentor development program is a method of pairing a member of management with an employee to help the employee achieve more in her professional life. For example, a supervisor may become a mentor to a team leader. The supervisor will meet with the team leader on a regular basis, help the team leader develop professional goals, and create check points for making sure she meets those goals. Using the mentor program helps a healthcare entity develop stronger employees, and helps the employees develop better relationships with management.