How To Focus Your Staff On Productivity

Your office is more than just a job to you.  You’re personally invested in it and it means a lot for your future.  Unfortunately, all of your staff may not feel the same way.

To many staff, their job in an office is just that: a job.  They are working there to get a paycheck and so don’t have the same drive to expand the practice.  They may not use their time to get the most done.

Is there a way to focus your staff on productivity instead punching a clock?  Is there a way to motivate the staff to take more ownership for the practice?  This is a key issue for any practice owner, and in many cases it can drastically change the bottom line.  To answer that, let’s go over the difference between productivity and “working.”

Every person doing a job will expend the same number of hours in a given day.  But they do different things during those hours.  One staff member adds value to the practice, while the other absorbs a paycheck.  What’s the difference between the two?

Products.

The first staff member actually gets things DONE.  He finishes things that don’t have to be re-done.  He starts on something valuable to the practice, gets it done, goes onto the next thing, gets that done, etc.  He achieves products.

The second staff member sits at the desk and starts on something…keeps working at it.  Hangs out.  Maybe talks to another staff member.  Finally asks a question about it.  He may even appear to be “busy” and working, but at the end of the day not as much was actually accomplished.

The final test of any staff member is always that staff member’s productivity: how much they accomplished for the office.  Therefore, the most efficient staff member will be the one who is most focused on products, not just “working”.  The way you can increase any staff member’s efficiency is to get them to focus on products.  How to do this?

The answer lies in production quotas.  

A lot of times when staff aren’t being productive and are just “working”, they aren’t malicious or even negligent.  They’re just distracted.  They don’t have their attention on achieving real products and so use their time inefficiently–maybe even distracting the other staff who ARE working.  The way to solve the problem is to help them focus their attention on getting products.  This is done by assigning production quotas.

A production quota isn’t just a quota for “Production” in the traditional sense (meaning the dollar value of all services rendered by a practice).  A production quota is a numerical quota of any type of work assigned to a staff member.  This could be the number of new patients scheduled in a day, an amount of money they’re supposed to collect in a week, the dollar value of treatment plans accepted, etc.  Production quotas are simply an amount of work assigned to a staff member to get done in a given period of time.  They’re like little goals for each staff member to hit in a given day or week.

How do you use quotas?

1.  Meet with the staff member and work out what their job is.  Decide with them what product they produce for the practice.  Perhaps it is Appointments Scheduled or Collections or New Patients (by the way, Hanses Management has all of this worked out for each job in an office and can help you if you have questions).

2.  Figure out a way to quantify that product, giving them some sort of way of tracking it.  This needs to be a real and meaningful system which actually results in real work done that adds value to the practice.

3.  Every week sit down with them (or have your office manager sit down with them) and assign them a production quota.  This is best done when you have their full agreement and it is something that they themselves are interested in achieving.  Always try to set it for a little higher than they got last week.

4.  Break down the weekly production quota by each day of the upcoming week.  Help them figure out where they’re going to have to be by Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, etc.  Make sure that they have this written down and can see what figures they’re shooting for each day.

5.  See if they feel like they are going to run into trouble in achieving those those quotas and help them figure out how to overcome any barriers they may run into.

NOTE: Even if you only get this far, you will greatly increase office productivity, so long as every week you stay on top of the production quotas for each staff member.  Simply by gently putting their attention on how many products they’re going to produce, you will make them more efficient and productive.

However, if you really want to see things soar, take it one step further:

6.  Implement a bonus system in your office so that staff are rewarded based on how much they produce.  There is no better way to incentivize your staff than to reward them based on their personal productivity  There are many ways to set up a bonus system, but the keystone is just ensuring that the staff are rewarded for production and so are eager to get more done.  If you also want them to focus on the overall office as a team, you can bonus each staff member on the total office production in addition to their personal productivity.

The bonus system is where the ownership really kicks in.  All of the sudden, they start looking at the office the same way you do.  It isn’t just a job.  They aren’t just “keeping busy.”  Suddenly their attention is on productivity–how they can get more done and how they can be more efficient.  After all, you yourself operate based on a “bonus system” of sorts.  You only get paid if they practice makes money–regardless of how many hours you work.  Focusing your staff in a similar way puts everyone on the same page and gets everyone working toward the same thing: providing high quality and high quantity patient care and growing the practice.

 

Have a question about your practice?  Try our free “Ask a Consultant” service.  Just send us your question in the form below.  We’ll email you back as soon as we can and may even post our answer to your question (but not your name) for others to see in the future.

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