The Bottom Line
Clearly, the more objective you are with your staff, the more they will understand what is expected of them. For example, if denials are an issue as in many HME organizations, set a goal to work denials for the first two hours of every day. See how long it actually takes to resolve the denials, and track the action taken for the timing and accuracy of the response.
Once standards are established, create a reward program for success. It might be as simple as a gift card to a restaurant or pizza lunch. You will find that success breeds success. The more staff achieves, the more they want to achieve. This positive behavior will show that managers who lead by example achieve desired results. Coaching and leadership combined with the necessary tools and resources will help your staff excel.
As you start to see the desired results, you will find that employees like short-term goals because they feel like winners in achieving them. In addition, your employees will feel pride of ownership if you allow them to engage in establishing goals.
Finally, meeting regularly (provided there is a worthwhile agenda) is critical to keeping the lines of communication open. In fact, permit staff to help lead these meetings. Once your employees see a positive role model leading the meetings, you might just find a hidden gem, another leader who might otherwise remain unrecognized in the background. A quick daily huddle is also helpful as you try to bring staff together toward a common goal; this will, in turn, promote a team-playing approach.
The overarching message is that management behavior is critically important to the success of any HME organization (or any organization, for that matter). If they model positive behavior with a sense of urgency, openness and approachability, managers will show through their leadership that they act as business owners. Their personal integrity will be mimicked by their staff. With this positive behavior, objective measures for accountability will help them gain additional profitability.
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Miriam Lieber is president of Lieber Consulting, Sherman Oaks, Calif., specializing in operations management and reimbursement for the HME industry. You can reach her at 818/789-0670 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.