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INSIGHT

Keep your medical office humming by keeping employees engaged

By Steve M. Cohen  bio

Every organization faces management issues that, if ignored, can be perilous.

A recent story told of a suburban bank that lost a huge chunk of its staff when some 35 employees left within a single week. Without knowing the details, it’s impossible to guess the causes. But it’s very likely this business suffered fundamental organizational issues.

Every organization should try to become a High Performance Organization. An HPO is a place where people don’t “just work,” but instead are engaged in their work. Although they might not put it this way, workers of an HPO are committed and enthusiastic about management’s mission, vision, and values.

It’s doubtful any organization will ever be comprised entirely of engaged employees. But research by the Gallagher Organization suggests that only 25 percent of a typical workforce is engaged. These are the core group who can always be counted on to produce and make things happen. They train the new people, carry the owner’s banner, and support the organization, even through bad times.

The second group, about 15 percent of the typical staff, is disengaged. They are disgruntled, negative, and act to undermine the organization. They will throw cold water on any idea and attempt to take new employees under their wings and corrupt them. They are often technically competent but interpersonally incompetent. If management knew how much undermining and damage this group causes, they would drop them.

The third group of employees is the 60 percent who are neither engaged nor disengaged. They do their jobs then go home. They underachieve, in part, because they are not engaged but also because they may have not been recognized and encouraged to achieve.

People usually live up to or down to the expectations others have for them.

In a high performance organization, you would have zero percent of the work group in the disengaged category, no more than 15 percent in the middle group, and the balance, approximately 85 percent of the work group, engaged. Imagine what it would be like in your work setting, without spending one more nickel on personnel costs, if 85 percent were engaged and nobody worked to undermine you? Imagine an organization where nobody is working against management and most people work at the highest levels.

Organizations that seek to improve their performance should look for ways to expand the number of employees that are engaged. If they cannot be converted, extricate them from the organization. This may sound cold, but in a business climate where you have to do more with less, all employees must be firing on all cylinders at all times.

All of this takes an engaged management, and a management’s engagement often turns on how well they listen to their employees. Simply listening to employees is good for morale, but actually devoting time and attention is even more powerful. Real communications can provide managers with valuable information while helping employees understand their roles. It’s a positive outcome that will benefit most organizations—and help you avoid a nightmare like the suburban bank.


Steve M. Cohen, Ed.D., CMC is President/Partner of Labor Management Advisory Group, Inc. and HR Solutions: On-Call, both based in Kansas City, MO. For more information, visit www.laborgroup.com or call (913) 927-0229.


The above information is shared by a guest contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of Medical Office Manager.

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