Thursday, December 14, 2006

Going Solo?: 5 things I've learned about human resources.

I personally know doctors who have had employees that caused havoc on the doctors' practices and careers. Here are 5 things I've learned.

  • If you suspect, eject! If you suspect that an employee is dishonest trust your intincts and act quickly. It is human nature, bacause you are a good and honest person, to look the otherway, turn a blind eye, or give the benefit of the doubt. But resist this temptation. IF YOU SUSPECT, EJECT! Whether or not you wish to catch them in the act or simply terminate them is your personal choice. Employess think that showing up late or leaving early when you are not there, or stealing a copay, or downloading an illegal music file on the computer will go unnoticed. They are wrong! They always get caught, eventually. At the earliest signs of dishonsesty, you must act, either by setting up a sting, firing the employee, calling the authorities, or any of the above. Certainly theft of a large sum of money warrants involving the police. If you suspect, eject.
  • Good behavior is often short lived. Most people put their best foot forward at the interview. However, it has been my personal experience with employees that bad habits which become noticable within the first few weeks of working will never go away and you must act accordingly. Employees who show up late in their first 1-2 weeks, especially more than once, will never be punctual despite their agologies, protestations, and sob-stories. If you value punctuality, you must act accordingly. Similarly, employees that behave in non-professional manners early on will not change EVER. Get rid of them before they hurt you.
  • Effort and intentions are everything. Every body learns at different rates and has different skill sets coming into a new job or environment. But I have found that almost anyone can learn almost anything if they apply the effort and approach the task with the best intentions. I'll take the former high school drop out with desire and amibition over the IVY league college student who just wants to coast for a while until they move on to something else. I'd take the former person any day of the week and twice on Sundays. But there is a corrolary (see below)
  • Some people just can't learn. In my experience, this applys most to the aquisition of new computer skills. Of course everyone writes on the resume that they are proficient in computers; Windows and Office Suite, medical manager, databases, etc. But on the job, well, they don't know right click from double click from a whole in the wall. I actually have started to make prospective new hires open and close documents, fax things, open emails use IM, etc during the interview process. Of course it applys to other skills as well. If an employee just can't learn a very simple skill, such as doing a urinalysis, either they lack the intelligence for the job or are not making the effort. Either way, show them the door.
  • Keep the good ones happy! Good employees can be very hard to find and when you get lucky enough to find a person that shows up on time, takes pride in her/his work, and can learn new things, you best keep them happy. This does not necessarily mean that you must keep giving them raises or bonuses. But a simple "thank you" or "good job" or "strong work" goes a long way. Keeping them happy means repecting them and their personal time and their requests for personal time. Keeping them happy means showing them that there work is important and meaningful and helpful to you.