In the history of the world, no one has washed a rented car. You may have heard this witticism before. It’s been used a lot, but it effectively makes the age-old claim that people don’t invest in things they don’t own. In the business world ownership automatically implies you have possession of the title or deed of the practice — a legal document that declares you are the owner. But if you do some digging on the origin of that venerable expression, you’ll find it really originated in the American military. An organization where none of the employees own it.
It’s obvious that ownership allows people to invest more time and energy in maintaining and improving things. However, if a formal legal document proclaiming you are the owner of the practice is not possible, there are still plenty of ways a sense of ownership can be created. Here are three areas where an employee doesn’t have to literally own the practice, but where maintaining a sense of ownership among staff is critical to long-term success of the practice.
1. Own the Hiring & Training Process
A sense of ownership means that you have thought about and implemented a systematic approach to hiring and on-boarding staff. You have updated job descriptions, carefully defined the roles for each member of your team and you conduct job interviews in an organized manner. Moreover, the people on your staff receive guidance from their managers on ways to improve skills and narrow gaps in performance.
2. Own the KPI Management Process
Owning the KPI management process means that you have involved your team in the identification and execution of a business strategy. In audiology practices, strategy usually involves one of three possibilities: growth, maintenance or preparing to sell/retire.
After a business strategy and its accompanying KPI reports have been created and staff have bought into them, ownership of this process entails all stakeholders communicate openly and honestly about performance and how any gaps can be incrementally improved. Key performance indicators, such as conversion rates, communication partner attendance rates and gross profit per unit sold, along with the reports used to review them, are essentially useless without thoughtful and consistent oversight from staff. This comes from a sense of ownership.
3. Own the Clinical Workflow Process
More than the quality of hearing devices you dispense, the way in which you take care of patients during a face-to-face encounter often has a bigger impact on patients’ perceptions of the outcomes they receive. If the patient’s experience within the practice is so critical to their results from treatment it stands to reason that your workflow or clinical process needs to be carefully mapped.
Specific to audiology, this means taking the time to engineer your own 5-step or 10-step clinical process geared to optimizing patient outcomes. It really doesn’t matter all that much the exact tools and tests you decide to use, as long as they are validated and relevant. The point is to create a clinical process that all the clinicians believe in, support and use.
Explain the Why, Let Everyone Figure Out the How
There is no secret sauce to instilling a sense of ownership among your staff. However, in my experience one simple thing that helps foster a sense of ownership is getting employees involved in the three processes listed above. This starts with genuine back and forth communication about day-to-day performance and workflow.
If you carry the title of manager or director, it’s essential for you to get the ball rolling by talking to the staff about the “why.” Why are we measuring these KPIs? Why do we need to get on the same page with respect to a clinical process? Why do we need a job description and a formalized interviewing process? Once you’ve explained the “why,” give the staff enough latitude to figure out the “how.”
Like the basketball coach who is talking about the nuances of strategy and performance before, during and after the game, the clinic manager needs to be discussing and deliberating all aspects of running the practice with the staff during the workday. Looking for ways to improve, finding opportunities to be more efficient, and getting feedback from others about these things are all part of inclusive management. Assuming you’ve already garnered some trust among the staff, taking the time to brainstorm with staff in the fact-finding or problem-solving process goes a long way toward developing a keen sense of ownership. People may not ever wash a rented car, but they will go the extra mile for you when you’ve cultivated a sense of ownership. If it can work for the military, it can work in your practice.
Fuel Medical can help you develop and implement tools for any of the three areas listed above. Contact your regional manager for details.