What does it take to be a GREAT office manager?
It is a special combination of many things including strong leadership and management skills and a lot of patience. The great news is that all of these skills can be learned or enhanced. In a recent course at the TSO meeting in Nashville, we spent a few hours exploring and teaching these skill sets. TSO will also soon be offering access to a 30-40 hour digital eyecare management certification course that our mangers, staff and even the doctors of TSO may want to enroll in.
In this course and through the upcoming e-certification we discuss how to juggle the roles and responsibilities of an office or practice manager. This includes effective management planning and more importantly how to implement positive and meaningful change in the practice.
First, we outline how to set the direction of the business and establishing the vision or mission statement so that everyone can be on the proverbial “same page.” This mission statement serves as the guide to everything the business does and thus is a very important part of the planning process. We also discuss how to create operational service standards and methods to communicate these standards to the rest of the business. These standards relate to and are enforced by policy and procedure manuals that will be discussed and available later in the course as well.
We also discuss effective goal setting for the business. This goal setting is guided by both business objectives and statistical benchmarking. During this course we spend time learning the critical benchmarks to monitor daily, monthly and annually that are important to guide and direct the business. We teach how to build an effective budget, as well as exactly what key performance indicators (KPI’s)are necessary to develop and track. We also provide a brief description of how to build an action plan to “fix” or improve these KPI’s, also known as benchmarks.
In the second part of the course we discuss how to improve efficiency through workflow analysis. Then, once we know what our workflow is, we work on streamlining these processes and making your entire business model and consumer experience more efficient and effective. This procedural and protocol analysis is key to building consistency and reducing issues within the practice. As we quote in the course, “Every problem we have in our business exists because someone didn’t do exactly what they were supposed to do, how they were supposed to do it, when they were supposed to and to the right person further upstream in the workflow process.” By analyzing and creating issues within, our business can run more efficiently and provide a better experience for consumers and staff alike. We also address how to effectively schedule our patients based on workflow and real data instead of the “I think this should work” method. We also will cover other operational duties such as facility management, common IT issues, and communications.
In the third part of the course we discuss one of the most challenging facets of being an office manager, human resource management. We explore the “rules” of managing the most important asset of the office, its people. HR management starts with a solid job description. Building these job descriptions is critical to building a happy and productive team of individuals. By creating detailed and positive expectations everyone in the office can have an understanding of their roles and the roles of other team members. We also discuss how to develop an effective staff training program that teaches the knowledge and skills necessary to build our team and transform our business; and how to build an effective policy and procedure manual that will assist in guiding all the staff through the daily processes. This creates both consistency and clear guidelines of expectations. This part of the course also discusses how to recruit and hire the next superstar within the team. Effective recruiting involves a planned recruitment and interview process, as well as a well- organized orientation and onboarding process. The job descriptions discussed earlier and these manuals also serve as the basis for meaningful performance management. This course also has a section that outlines how to create an effective incentive and compensation program to build the business and motivate the staff. All of these processed in turn create an environment that encourages greater staff motivation and ultimately staff retention, not to mention a better consumer experience.
Finally, we discuss the less appealing part of the job and how to deal with difficult situations that may arise in the business setting. We provide tips in conflict resolution and staff disciplinary processes. We also cover how to deal with upset consumers and termination processes for both staff and consumers.
Please stay tuned for more information on this certification course and how to assist your managers how to improve their skills and run a more efficient and effective business.