Best practices: ‘Surprise and delight’ your employees
ATLANTA – Despite the challenges in the HME industry, now is not the time to overlook best practices related to staffing, said a panel of top providers at Medtrade in November.
Mike Bailey said a key to his company’s success is spending time not only on external customers but also internal customers.
“We’re always asking ourselves, ‘What do we do to surprise and delight (our employees)?’” said Bailey, CEO of Handi Medical Supply in St. Paul, Minn., one of four panelists for a session titled “Hear From Your Peers…Best Practices That Make an Impact.”
Bailey says he has been known to send letters to the family members of his employees as a way to thank them for their support, creating what he likes to call “advocates” for employees and the company in their homes.
Get them in early
With a low unemployment rate, providers have had to get creative to draw talent. Patty Mastandrea said her company holds job fairs and has found them to be a great way to attract good candidates for entry-level positions like customer service reps and drivers.
“It’s like speed dating,” said Mastandrea, COO of MedCare Equipment Co. in Greensburg, Pa. “We screen them for 15 minutes, put their information in a folder, and ask them to apply online.”
Doug Coleman said his company uses “working interviews,” asking potential hires to come in and work for a day.
“If they get in the environment and they’re horrified, we know it’s time to move on,” he said.
David Baxter said his company identifies what it expects from each position, top to bottom. If you’re a driver in a metro area, for example, you have to make 13 stops per day; if you’re in a rural area, it’s 15.
“You have to be transparent,” said Baxter, president of Medical Necessities in Columbia, Tenn.
What happens when employees don’t meet expectations?
“We hold team members accountable to the metrics we create for each position and those that don’t meet those metrics are asked to leave,” Bailey said. “I don’t know how to make that warm and fuzzy.
Communicate with them, often
While money is a great motivator, providers said open communication goes a long way toward engaging employees. Baxter said his company regularly publishes a newsletter that answers questions that employees have.
“The simplest thing is communication,” he said. “What is going on in the organization? You want them to feel empowered.”