The Bottom Line
Essentials for Success
According to personal development trainer and author Brian Tracy (he wrote the best-selling Psychology of Achievement), “only 3 percent of adults have clear, written, specific, measurable, time-bounded goals, and by every statistic, they accomplish 10 times as much as people with no goals at all.”
As I travel around the country, I can't help but notice that many HME companies are among the other 97 percent and do not set goals for their employees. This translates to staff not knowing what is expected of them. Consequently, employees often waste time on unimportant tasks, and they regularly engage other staff in minor matters.
The fact is, staff needs to know what they are expected to do in a quantifiable, measurable manner. There is a strong relationship between a successful company and meaningful and collaborative goal-setting.
One way to begin the goal-setting process is to interview your staff. I recommend that you first ask employees to jot down their daily accomplishments for one or two weeks, then once complete, meet with each employee to review their diaries. Drill down their logs/diaries to determine how long, on average, it takes to perform each task. Discuss how much more each employee could accomplish if he or she were given the time and resources to complete each function. Many will say they can't really pinpoint how long it takes to perform each task because of interruptions or their varied work flow.
Do not let this get in your way. Prod and probe (ask how long it would take if they didn't have to answer phones, for example) until you establish a realistic and educated gauge of what it takes to accomplish their tasks. Establish goals together and seek percentage and/or other quantifiable means of improvement, e.g. a 10 or 20 percent reduction in DSO or CMNs in three months, five or 10 more deliveries or 12 to 15 complete and accurate orders taken daily.
Once you establish what each employee actually does each day, look for better, more efficient ways of handling their duties. For example, how long does it take to complete an insurance verification? If staff is constantly calling the insurance company, it will take exponentially longer than if they are able to obtain most of the needed information on-line. Further, if you create a metric of your most common insurance plans and their general requirements, you will have something on which to rely for common guidelines.