Thursday, July 31, 2008

Employee Engagement

There is no dismissing the effect of positive feedback on employees both in the performance of a business and happiness of its' workers. Yet, of all the challenges I face in managing a practice, engaging our employees is my single greatest personal challenge. Our office has worked to provide a decent benefit package, cost-of-living increases, yearly reviews and pay raises a pleasant work environment. That is the good part; now the bad.

I recently, dove into a book by Gallup (The Best of the Gallup Management Journal 2001-2007) and read an article called Feedback for Real. Please take the time to read the article (or look at the Q12) before going on.

I consider myself a decent surgeon and a good person, but after reading that article I realize I am a crappy manager. The essence of the article, is that Gallup has proved that employee engagement is not derived by work type, reimbursement or work intensity. Rather, Gallup has found 12 elements that predict employee engagement which in turn predicts turnover, profitability and efficiency in the workplace. Many of the elements relate to management support, setting expectations and feedback.

This is where I fail personally. Although I can be a good organizer, my fuse is too short, my expectations to high and my feedback to focused on change and negativity. Luckily, I do not think I'm alone since I hear a lot of my colleagues say that human resources is the worst part of managing a clinic. Also, life is all about introspection and change; so there's hope for me yet. Each day, supervisors in a clinic need to work to provide clear direction to employees, reinforce the mission of the clinic, find good in the job that each employee is doing and provide positive feedback. It only takes a minute but it can change the work experience for everyone.

The Gallup Q12 seems like a fantastic tool for change in small clinics. It could open discussion and find paths to not only increase efficiency but employee engagement and satisfaction.


Ben Simonton said...


I like the Gallup 12, but my experience indicates you need more.

I would suggest that you read Douglas McGregor's "The Human Side of Enterprise" since it is obvious to me that you need to change your mindset, your negative attitude toward employees borne of an incorrect set of beliefs. McGregor will help you to change those beliefs. This is a short book and an easy read.

You might also read my short article "Leadership, Good or Bad" in order to truly understand leadership.

Also, take a look at Linda Zdanowicz's blog She is in charge of a dental office and probably has pretty much the same situation as you although she is a tech not a dentist. But she has her head on straight and knows how to do it in my opinion. I managed people for over 30 years and after doing it poorly for about 12 years, resurrected myself and eventually effected four successful turnarounds of management disasters.

Best regards, Ben
Author "Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed"

Ian Furst said...

thanks Ben, I'm a regular at Linda's blog. thank you for pointing me to the book. Ian.