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Identify and Motivate Underperformers at Your Medical Practice


Here are some ideas to identify, understand, and re-motivate your medical practice staff and turn them back into people who love their work.

If we were to apply the "80/20 Rule" to your staff, you might notice that you have 80 percent of your employees who perform up to your standards and 20 percent who fall below. What's interesting is that over a course of time, your best performer now can certainly land themselves in the 20 percent given the right set of circumstances.

Here are some ideas how you can identify, understand, and re-motivate you whole staff.

Identify the true under performers.

You may think someone is so busy because they run around and move a lot of papers. They may think they are the busiest person in the office! However, if the level of actual performance is not up to par, there needs to be an intervention. Perhaps that employee is overwhelmed with a workload made for two. This could happen for several reasons: they don't know how to delegate, they don't know they are allowed to delegate, they're afraid to delegate thinking they would lose their control, etc. Find out the why they appear so busy, but don't seem to get a lot accomplished.

Similar to the employee above, many people take on too many tasks because they want to impress you, or it seems more interesting than their daily routine. They start something, but never finish it. This is also considered an under performer. These people also give the illusion that they are busy, but if nothing is ever completed, how well of a performer can they be?

Now you have the employee who doesn't even bother to look busy. They're bored, they're tired of the job, perhaps there have been no expectations or accountability placed upon them.

Anyone one of these three scenarios can be vastly improved when you identify and step back to understand why they are performing in this fashion.

Understanding the behaviors of under performers.

Oftentimes, I find that if I can understand why someone is behaving a specific way, it helps me work with that situation in a much more appropriate manner. Is the employee in the first example taking on too much work? Perhaps the workload of a second employee? Is the first employee afraid to say anything? Sit down with them, ask, and take the time to find out. They may end up being a great asset!

Is the second employee looking for a promotion perhaps? Have they asked for special projects, but no guidelines, expectations or deadline provided with those projects? Sometimes people are given work out of their skill set to help them grow, but without example, this could be disastrous.

Has something happened to the third employee that would de-motivate them so much, that they just stopped caring about their work ethic and quality? Did someone, perhaps, chastise them thinking it was more constructive criticism, and it was not well received? Perhaps the employee is ready to just move on, and can't find a way to tell you. Employees that stay in a position they are no longer suited for ask to be fired by their behavior.

Once you understand the motivation behind the behavior, it's time to re-motivate them!

Re-motivation techniques and ideas

Find out what the employees want to get out of their jobs. What are the three most important criteria? You would be surprised at what you hear when you ask this question.

If an employee wants more responsibility, that's great! But you need to set up guidelines for them to operate under, or you will end up with employee number two above.

If an employee wants more money, in lieu of that raise, set up a bonus program that is based upon performance criteria. Does someone make a lot of mistakes? Have that criteria be a low error rate. Do you want a staff member to see more patients? Set a specific monthly goal of patient seen by that employee. If they fall behind, they can get out of the practice on a slow day and help you market your business.

Believe it or not, even employee number three can get back into the mix. Perhaps they have a skill set you were unaware of? Perhaps you can create a new position for that employee?

By looking closely at your staff, you can identify the under performers relatively quickly. Spend a few minutes with those employees to find out the "why" behind the behavior and you should be able to turn just about anyone around.

With your 80 percent, keep a close eye on them. At any given moment one of your super-performers can slide into that 20 percent by circumstances mentioned.

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