How to Integrate Performance Network Interviews to Increase Staff Engagement 

The Employee Experience Starts with You

None of us work in a vacuum. The work we do affects others, including new employees. At Fuel Medical, we believe that Performance Network Interviews can be a catalyst for building valuable working relationships among employees. Ask Fuel First answers a question that examines these interviews in more detail: How do Performance Network Interviews change employee dialogue, so each employee knows their value and feels connected to the organization? 

If we’ve learned anything from the Great Resignation, it is that employees are looking to make meaningful connections and need to see their value within the organization. If their new job doesn’t align with those expectations, employees will move on. Because of this, we believe that employee integration is crucial.  

The integration approach differs from traditional onboarding where knowledge is transferred to the new hire, and then management hopes for the best. Employee integration is systematically and intentionally helping a new employee create a network of knowledgeable coworkers who can boost the new hire’s performance, enhancing the organization’s overall performance. This process helps develop the employee’s “networking performance.” According to Gartner Inc., networking performance is “an employee’s effectiveness at enhancing and capitalizing on others’ performance and expertise—to improve their own.” In this changing environment, companies now view this skill as equally important as the ability to handle tasks individually. Another way of saying this is: 

“When one rises, we all rise; but when one falls, we all fall.”

— Unknown

Why Networking Performance Matters 

According to the Harvard Business Review, most employees are relied upon by five to 12 of their colleagues. That means when people underperform or leave, it hurts their coworkers’ productivity. Let’s translate that to a transitioning employee—for example, a new front office staff member may perform poorly or, worse yet, fail in their transition into the organization. Here’s our typical thought process: “The transition might take a little longer because they didn’t come with experience,” “We can’t afford to lose another person,” “If we give them more time, they will eventually ‘catch on’”—and the list goes on. So, we keep them. However, we don’t change our onboarding approach of teaching them about expected duties, so they can quickly jump into the role. We might change our methods, but we keep providing the same instruction repeatedly and hope this new person succeeds.  

We now know that each transitioning employee affects the productivity of at least five of their peers. We might not realize that a floundering employee can often create an unseen ripple effect. High-performing employees will be distracted if they rely on an underperforming transitioning employee. If their performance is impacted enough, they will seek greener pastures elsewhere. This turnover ripple effect has changed our thinking about what’s most valuable in employee contributions and the success of their integration.

Collaboration across roles and departments effectively meets individual and team goals and leverages expertise throughout the organization. It improves employees’ experiences, enhances individual performance and strengthens essential work relationships. However, we typically leave connecting people and networking for transitioning employees as a do-it-yourself exercise. We’ve learned this past year that it’s our job to be intentional and lead the way in showing people how to build the connections that will help them thrive quickly.

Why Doesn’t “Plug and Play” Work Anymore? 

We are no longer hiring people who are “plug and play.” That means there may be gaps in our training, and we will have to spend more time establishing the basics. For example, an experienced scheduler knows the importance of picking the correct appointment type in the system. This is because they’ve seen and experienced the consequence of doing it wrong. A new person who’s never done scheduling before sees the appointment type as a simple data entry task—they don’t understand their role in setting the tone or the pace for the entire visit. 

You can tell them repeatedly that they must select the appropriate appointment type. Still, they won’t understand how that task connects to their colleague’s performance and the position it puts their coworker in when it’s wrong, so they won’t understand how their role fits into the big picture. 

What Kind of Questions are We Talking About? 

This is where the value of a Performance Network Interview can help. Rather than telling the employee, let them discover it on their own. Not by doing and failing (although that is one method), but by having the employee interview a medical assistant, a provider or the biller. During the interview, the new employee asks a series of pre-written questions. Questions like: 

  • Describe your typical workday. 
  • How will we interact regularly? 
  • What are some of the most common challenges you deal with? 
  • How does my job impact your success? 
  • If I have a question, what’s the best way to approach you? 
  • What can I do three things to ensure success in my role? 

These are just sample questions—you can develop a list of questions independently. Ultimately, the goal is to allow the new employee to learn from their colleagues how they all work together toward one common goal. You’ve also created a moment for your unique person to build a connection; you’re not leaving it up to chance. It also saves you time not having to do all the teaching yourself.  

A Performance Network Interview is one way to be intentional about assimilating a person into your culture, teaching them the job’s duties, and connecting that employee to the performance of their colleagues and the organization’s goals.  

If you want to put the ideas in this article into practice, think of one position in your organization that can benefit from conducting a performance network interview. Design four questions that will help the interviewer gain a better understanding of how their role intersects with the performance of the person being interviewed. Then check out more Ask Fuel First articles and videos to learn more about the employee experience. 

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