Your high-maintenance urology office staffer: Worth the hassle?

September 1, 2012

Every urology practice faces this situation eventually: a difficult employee who demands disproportionate time and attention from management.

Difficult or misunderstood?

"Problem" employees can sometimes be misunderstood thoroughbreds. They have the best interests of the practice in mind, but may need more clarity or more support to do their best. Often, a thoroughbred's complaints can illuminate trouble spots that are brewing with the practice-issues that your team's easygoing workhorses are suffering without complaint, but that really should be fixed. Sometimes the thoroughbred's extra sensitivity to minor workflow issues is a gift to the practice that allows management to head off problems while they're still minor.

Is your complainer a thoroughbred in disguise? The type of complaints you're hearing provides a clue. Recently, we worked with a practice with a "problem" employee who was driving the practice manager crazy with her "issues" and requests. She was frustrated that the office network was frequently down, wanted headsets for her and the other receptionists, and was repeatedly offended by the shoddy work of the practice's cleaning service. Instead of being annoyed with these requests, though, the manager should have been listening. Every one of the employee's complaints involved an issue that would diminish productivity, adversely affect patient service, and could explode into a bigger problem if not addressed.

Clarity of staff roles key

For thoroughbreds and workhorses alike, clarity of roles and a clear path to providing feedback to management are essential to top performance.

A lack of clearly defined staff roles is one of the most common operational problems we see in urology practices. Knowing exactly what is required to do a good job is essential for employee morale, especially for highly motivated or perfectionistic thoroughbreds. Clarity of roles is also essential to creating accountability-to ensure everything that needs to get done gets done. If you've been repeatedly bothered by a squeaky wheel or wheels, be sure your own internal communication and HR systems are up to snuff.