Ask Fuel First: The Great Integration, Part 2
A shortage of experienced talent and poor onboarding contribute to an erosion of productivity, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Ask Fuel First helps members recognize the signs of decline by answering the question: What symptoms of decline should I watch out for?
Fuel Medical provides business solutions for ENT practices, medically-based audiology practices and universities across the country. As part of those resources, our HR team supports practices with all their recruiting and hiring needs, and our professional development team helps with training and culture development.
As you can imagine, these resources often overlap. Over the past 18 months, these two teams have been busier than ever before. Although employee retention and turnover are contributing factors, it’s not the driving force for the increased demand. When we boil it down, it’s really caused by a Cascade Effect that starts with a shortage of experienced talent continues with static onboarding processes and then filters through a fluctuant culture.
- Shortage of Experienced Talent: It’s hard to find experienced people to fill some positions that have been left open as a result of The Great Resignation. Our team has changed its recruiting process to look beyond the requirements in job descriptions. When identifying the strongest candidates, we now look beyond relevant experience and consider candidates with strong cognitive abilities, a willingness to learn and effective communication styles. This means transitioning a “different” type of employee into our organization. This employee may not have relevant experience; instead, they possess tremendous aptitude. Now it’s our job to integrate them into their new role.
- Static Onboarding: The onboarding process has transformed into a comprehensive integration into the business as a whole—not just the position the new employee was hired for. We found that when employees understand their work’s impact on the bigger picture, they are more engaged, motivated and less likely to leave.
Why Did Our New Employee Just Quit?
In truth, we rarely see comprehensive integration happening in workplaces. We’ve heard of new hires lasting a month or two—or, in some cases, one day—before they realize they will not get the support they need to be successful and quit. Employers then have to go back to the hiring drawing board, which, as we all know, takes time and effort.
Suppose organizations don’t compensate for the shortage of experienced talent and veer away from a static onboarding process. In that case, things will likely end up in a downward spiral, eroding productivity and negatively influencing your patients’ experience. You’ll be faced with increased turnover, flaws in your culture will be exposed and patients will become less satisfied with their experience.
- Increased Turnover: This is where the turnover ripple effect comes into play. Current employees are carrying an increased workload and are distracted from doing their assigned jobs because losing a capable colleague has impacted their performance. As a result, your high performers become disgruntled and start to leave.
- Flaws in Your Culture Are Exposed: Morale dips, burnout increases and staff begin to disengage from their work, which, in turn, hurts the organization’s culture. You’ll know there are flaws in your culture when infighting and finger-pointing replace teamwork and collaboration. Insubordination replaces initiative, and apathy replaces motivation. Your culture no longer aligns with your brand or your strategy for growth and success.
- The Patient Experience Declines: The true key to obtaining patient loyalty and satisfaction is through our employees. They are the ones delivering the patient experience. Research shows that a key differentiator from one practice to the next is not so much the services they provide—but the actions of the people providing those services. And that is a product of your culture. The patient experience starts to decline as a reflection of poor employee experience.
How Can I Break Out of the Cascade Effect?
The feeling of being in a downward spiral is not only uncomfortable, but it also makes you feel like there is no way to break the cycle. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this happen in many practices over the past two years. Don’t worry—there is an upward spiral as well. We’ve found that the Cascade Effect can be less paralyzing once organizations commit to employee integration. A starting point is to recognize the difference between onboarding and integration. After that, Fuel Medical can assist you in planning actionable steps to combat each downward spiral.