Part Five of Ask Fuel First’s Series on The Great Integration
If we’ve learned anything from the Great Resignation, it is that employees are looking to make meaningful connections and need to see their own value within the organization. If their new job doesn’t align with those expectations, employees will simply move on. Because of this, we believe that employee integration is crucial to retention.
The integration approach differs from traditional onboarding where knowledge is transferred to the new hire, and then management just hopes for the best. Employee integration is about systematically and intentionally helping a new employee create a network of knowledgeable coworkers who can boost the new hire’s performance which in turn enhances 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, on average, 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 really 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 over and over and hope this new person succeeds.
We now know that each transitioning employee affects the productivity of at least five of their peers. What we might not realize is a floundering employee can often create an unseen ripple effect. High-performing employees will be distracted if they must 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 is an effective way to meet individual and team goals and leverage 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 quickly build the connections that will help them thrive.
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 already 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 picking 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 over and over that they must select the appropriate appointment type, but until they understand how that task connects to their colleague’s performance and the position it puts their coworker in when it’s wrong, they won’t understand how their role fits into the big picture.
The Performance Network Interview
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 on a regular basis?
- 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 are three things I can do to ensure success in my role?
Obviously, these are just sample questions—you can come up with a list of questions on your own. Ultimately, the goal is to allow the new employee to learn from their colleagues how they all work together toward one common goal. Additionally, you’ve also created a moment for your new person to build a connection; you’re not leaving it up to chance. It also saves you time in 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 duties of the job and connecting that employee to the performance of their colleagues and the goals of the organization.
Let’s Get Started
Hopefully, you now have some insight into what we mean by employee integration and some actionable ideas for setting up Performance Network Interviews. If you want to learn more about The Great Integration, select the article links below. If you would like us to help you put together an integration program customized for your practice, please contact us via your Regional Manager or email email@example.com. We are here to help!