Do You Have an Org Board?
You need one…and it’s easy to get started.
We recently read a blog post on a veterinary management site where the poster was trying to make a decision about how to utilize a staff member’s talents and assigning him into a leadership or management position. This got me thinking about how many people in the veterinary community don’t really know how to fully utilize staff talents. It can be tricky to try and identify and then utilize one’s own talents and it adds a whole different challenge to do this with co-worker.
We are huge believers that as managers, our job is to pay attention to staff and to help them identify their strengths, if they don’t know them already, and help this capitalize on those strengths. As we mentioned above, it can be difficult to identify your own talents. In identifying staff member’s strengths and the helping them use these strengths, it benefits the staff member as well as the hospital. On the other hand, it’s my job to notice where staff are struggling and taking responsibilities away as well, or even re-assigning them. Of course, it must be done in a way as to not create tension within the hospital or in such a way that discourages this employee and sets them on a path that leads them to another hospital, or even worse, a competing hospital.
It is good to hear how you can do this, but it is even better to hear about how it was used successfully.
A few years ago, we noticed that not only was just about all the staff not leaving work at the end of the day when it was expected they would leave, but they were staying longer and longer each day. In addition to the obvious cost of staff in regards to overtime, the stress level of the staff was increasing by the day. It was palpable! Staff were getting agitated with each other and starting to blame each other for things that were really a result of time.
We decided to create a position where a young person around the age of 17-18 would come in each afternoon (Monday through Friday), beginning about three hours before closing time and simply clean and prepare the hospital for the next day’s work. Our thought being, if we pay one person, even the same rate as our technicians, and they work for three hours to get things clean, and four staff members get out on average 30-45 minutes early (often at time and a half), we all win. The staff is no longer stressed (at least about this) about getting out on time, and the hospital is about to cut cost in the biggest expense area.
Finding the Right Person for Your Organization
We found that with this young person, who was dedicated to learning, did a fantastic job because we took the time to write our every task for which they were responsible. They clean all the front windows; clean and pack all surgical packs. Additionally, they autoclave all instruments and basically get the hospital ready for the next day’s business, just to name a few. We have gone through a few of these employees due to them leaving for college and other reasons. What we found that was interesting is that those not interested in the veterinary industry, such as wanting to be a veterinarian, a technician or other, did better at this job because they weren’t focused on trying to learn other things they had a strong interest in, such as catheter placement, surgery and lab-work. You may find it works differently for you, but if you make the effort to help them be successful, you’ll find success.
We also realized that as they cleaned and prepared the hospital for the next day’s work, they actually noticed small things that staff didn’t notice when they were performing the same tasks. Their focus was just in a different place. As a result, we made public our Organization Chart (we call it an Org Board) so they know exactly who to go to for what issue or suggestions. For example, the recommendation was to get a small coat rack for the break room and they were able to go to the Org Board to see who the person that makes this time of decision was. As a company gets larger, it sometimes gets more and more staff, including of course, management. The Org Board is a fantastic tool for all staff and it helps to stream-line questions and staff going to the correct person for help.
So, How Do You Get Started?
Start by writing out the seven major areas, or Divisions of responsibility, which include:
Next, you’ll want to list out all the areas of responsibilities that fall under each division or area. We’ve included a sample here for you to view. You’ll notice we started with Division Seven. This is because each division is equally important. Think about it as a cylinder, where each division is just as important as the next; where seven is next to one.
As you list out each area of responsibility within your hospital, think about who is responsible for that task and put their name next to it. While the Division Director is ultimately responsible for each division and the Hospital Owner is ultimately responsible for everything, this is a means of listing out who is the go-to person when something comes up with that particular area. For example, when you list who is responsible for the technician staff, you’ll probably list your Lead Technician. Although, it may very well be your Office Manager or Practice Manager who leads the division, this is a great way for the staff to know who to go to for problems or issues without spending a lot of time trying to explain all the differences. We have included a sample Org Board in PDF form you can download to the right. Inform staff of the Org Board and let them figure it out from there. You will likely need to remind people of where to go when they have questions so they know who to go to. We’ve included a sample Org Board for you to get started.
We’ll go into more details about Organization Boards in a future post.