Are you executing your systems for success?

Are you executing your systems for success?

Have you ever worked for a small business? Have you worked for a large corporation? Have you held roles with both?

If you’ve answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you have most likely been involved in a lack of processes or have been tied down with too many procedures or protocols. Many small businesses suffer from a lack of systems for success that could help their efficiency and savings, while larger corporations sometimes have too many processes, protocols and policies in place that suffocate creativity.

Walking the fine line between not enough and too many systems is important. As somewhat of a process “geek”, I tend to favor having systems for success in place for the majority of business operations. But I will say that I have worked for both small businesses and large corporations, and I have witnessed the troubles that come along with both scenarios.

In smaller businesses, I have held roles in, the problems have been the direct result of lack of systems. At one company, the owner had a different “deal” with everyone. There were little to no policies around HR practices, organizational structure, or job responsibilities. This resulted in staff not knowing what is expected of them or what role their co-workers played in day to day operations.

At another small business, there were no systems in place for on-boarding, training, or backup coverage. This creates employee engagement and turnover issues, compliance concerns, unhappy clients, efficiency problems and ultimately loss of revenue.

Conversely, many larger companies overload staff with policies, but do not follow through with processes and procedures to ensure these policies work. Larger companies also fall into the trap of trying too many new policies at once or not educating staff on the “why” behind policy to help them understand and comply.

A common problem businesses make is not understanding what policies, processes and procedures actually are and how they work together. Policies are generally high level guidelines that initiative processes and procedures. The process is then the major tasks involved in accomplishing the policy, and the procedures are the detailed steps involved in the process.

Effectively planning, implementing and following through on all three steps of a system can result in compliance, higher efficiency, savings, continuous improvement, employee engagement and so much more. If these small businesses put simple Systems for success into use, then they wouldn’t run into any of these issues so easily. Larger companies need to make sure they pull the systems together will all three components in order to be successful.

About Tantam Health

Tantam Health specializes in onsite clinics, worksite clinics and nearsite clinics. Their innovative programs, advanced reporting capabilities, and unique structure of their team allows them to deliver customized solutions that exceed their client’s expectations. The company takes a team-based approach to their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by the NCQA. Learn more at www.tantamhealth.com

The Pygmalion and The Golem, Who’s Running Your Company?

The Pygmalion and The Golem, Who’s Running Your Company?

In the 1960’s researchers set out to study what most of us know as the self-fulfilling prophecy. The results of this study, and many since then, is called the Pygmalion Effect and it states, in the most simple terms, that because you expect someone to excel, they will excel. The assumed reverse of this is the Golem Effect. The Golem Effect has never been actively tested because of ethics and morality issues, but it is assumed to be true because of nature’s tendency towards opposites balancing each other out.

What does this have to do with anything in your company? The surprising answer is, probably everything, and it might be time to shake up teams and management to use the results of these effects to benefit your company, instead of throttling your potential.

A huge part of what makes the Pygmalion or Golem Effects work is the fact that those in charge don’t know they are causing it to happen. Human beings, like most animals, have innumerable sub-conscious signals they send to the people around them. It’s what makes you feel like someone doesn’t think you can do your job, even though they have always been very professional towards you in every way, you just FEEL it. That feeling eventually causes the majority of people to stop trying and leads to lower and lower morale and even worse productivity.

There are several methods to use the Pygmalion Effect to your benefit, and your comfort level is often the deciding factor of which you should use. The two most prevalent in testing currently have so far offered the best results, though the second is fairly new and still being refined for the most efficient use.

The first is the easiest, but often makes many people uncomfortable, as it literally requires the telling of a few lies. The very first studies on the Pygmalion Effect involved testing the subjects, and then lying to the supervisor (or teacher as the case may be) about who’s test said they would be superior in a year’s time. The lie created a completely sub-conscious effort on behalf of the supervisor to see the subject excel. They smiled more when the subject talked, leaned forward and really listened, and offered meaningful responses more often when interacting with the “superior” subjects as opposed to the rest of the group.

More recent efforts to remove the dishonesty have shown that giving those same supervisors review forms to fill about their team/group, then video taping supervisors as they interact with the group, and finally showing them how they react to others based on how they feel about them can sometimes achieve the same results, once the supervisor understands and believes in the Pygmalion and Golem Effects. It takes a little longer and sometimes repeated efforts, but it also introduces a new level of both honesty and intimacy to the team that may create greater and more efficient teamwork in all efforts.

As the consummate lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.” Creating an environment that expects greatness from everyone can literally create the greatness you want your company to achieve.

About Tantam Health

Tantam Health specializes in onsite clinics, worksite clinics and nearsite clinics. Their innovative programs, advanced reporting capabilities, and unique structure of their team allows them to deliver customized solutions that exceed their client’s expectations. The company takes a team-based approach to their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by the NCQA. Learn more at www.tantamhealth.com

Three Ways to Stop Managing and Start Leading

Three Ways to Stop Managing and Start Leading

No one really wants to be seen as “the man” when being referenced by their direct reports. Being “the man” symbolizes a position of power that doesn’t relate to the general team. As many companies are starting to move toward a team based approach to management, here are a few examples of how to stop being seen as a boss and start leading.

Provide Honest Feedback

Managers have the responsibility to be honest with their team’s performance. If a direct report is not meeting expectations, it is important to give them that feedback before their end of year evaluation. It is also unfair to continually dangle a promotion if the person is just not a fit for the desired position. An associate will continue to work for promotion once the opportunity is discussed- and will also grow disgruntled when they have completed all of the “items” that held them back from obtaining the sought after position.

A manager will have issues with one or two people being tardy (or frequent call ins or some other common issue in management). Instead of the manager addressing the issue with the tardy individuals, they instead hold a team meeting. The issue of tardiness is brought up and everyone else knows exactly whom the manager is talking to- except for the one or two punctuality offenders. It is always best to just have the conversation with those that are not meeting expectations.

If your team sees that you are honest with them, they will trust you and your intentions. Does your team trust you?

Never Publically Reprimand

It may seem obvious that the quickest way to disengage a team member is to call them out on something in front of others. Then why do so many managers make this mistake? Recently, a Field Director shared about his frustration with his boss, a partial owner of the company. An hourly employee called the owner to discuss new policy changes implemented by the Field Director. Instead of the owner referring her back to the Field Director, he stated, “I am the boss and that’s not going to happen”. The hourly employee, full of glee, went back to her entire team and gloated that she spoke to the owner and no one had to listen to the Field Director (in so many words). Though the owner believed he was addressing the hourly associate with her concerns, he was actually publicly invalidating the Field Directors position.

It is easy to publicly belittle a member of the team through non-verbal’s as well as spoken word. Are you careful with what you both say and don’t say?

Learn The Roles and Start Leading

No one likes it when their boss tells them what to do, but has no idea what they actually do. In order to be a great leader, it is important to know about each role that you supervise. Though it is unrealistic to know every detail about every role in the organization, it is reasonable to take an interest in each person’s work. This is especially important when you, as the manager, have never worked in your particular industry before. Take an interest in the various roles, learn how they all work together, and people will be happy to tell you about what they do and how it contributes to the greater good of the organization.

Before you delegate the next task, ask yourself this question- Do you know what your team members actually do?

About Tantam Health

Tantam Health specializes in onsite clinics, worksite clinics and nearsite clinics. Their innovative programs, advanced reporting capabilities, and unique structure of their team allows them to deliver customized solutions that exceed their client’s expectations. The company takes a team-based approach to their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by the NCQA. Learn more at http://www.tantamhealth.com

Training – An Expense or an Investment?

Training – An Expense or an Investment?

Imagine, you’ve been searching for months for the “right” job opportunity. You finally find something that seems to fit your wants and needs. The company sounds amazing, it seems they take care of their employees, the hours are great, there’s a comprehensive benefits package, they will provide training and the list goes on. You get an interview, you progress through the hiring process, you are chosen! ….and then you start.

On your first day of the job you think, “They are just throwing me to the wolves!” Your manager appointed someone to train you, but there is no plan, there is no structure, there is little meaningful check-in and follow-up.

Is this a situation your new hires are experiencing? If you don’t have a clear and structured training program, that your hiring managers follow, then the answer is yes.

Putting a training/onboarding process in place doesn’t have to be complicated, but many companies see it as an expense rather than an investment. This is absolutely the wrong way to think about it, and there is research to prove it.

Proper onboarding and training programs can set companies up for:

Higher productivity and profit. “Companies that invest $1,500 in training per employee can see an average of 24% more profit than companies who invest less”. See article here.

Happier workforce. “35% of Millennials consider comprehensive training and development programs as the top benefit they would want from a company.” Read more here.

Lower turnover. “According to Canadian tourism and hospitality HR association Go2HR, around 40% of employees who do not receive adequate training end up leaving their post within a year.” The full article and stat can be seen here.

These onboarding and training programs should include:

  1. The basics of how to do their job – create job specific manuals for each role. Make sure to lay out each day, week, month, etc.
  2. Setting of expectations going forward – let workers know what their expectations are immediately, learn what their expectations are for their direct manager, figure out how each individual learns and receives feedback best, set performance goals with the associate.
  3. Regular check-ins with trainer/hiring manager. Hourly, daily, weekly. Figure out what works for the associate and for your program. The hiring manager should always know where their new hires are in their training process.
  4. Follow up, follow up, follow up, and follow up! How is the employee feeling about training? What do they need? It’s not enough to set them up and let them go. Checking back on progress and adjusting as necessary is just as important.
  5. Continued development and training. Training shouldn’t end with the onboarding process. Employees should receive continued education and development. According to Comptia, “58% of employees (62% of Millennials and GenX) say that professional development contributes to their job satisfaction” (CompTia).

As Simon Sinek once said, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” Keep that in mind if you ever start considering training and employee development an expense rather than an investment. When your people have a clear understanding of what they are doing, feel supported in their role, and appreciated with further development, they will do more for your company than you could have ever imagined.

Written By: Jamie Ozga, CPO at Tantam Health, Inc.

About Tantam Health

Tantam Health specializes in onsite clinics, worksite clinics and nearsite clinics. Their innovative programs, advanced reporting capabilities, and unique structure of their team allows them to deliver customized solutions that exceed their client’s expectations. The company takes a team-based approach to their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by the NCQA. Learn more at www.tantamhealth.com

I didn’t mean to offend, but I was

I didn’t mean to offend, but I was

When I was a teenager, I had a pretty tight knit circle of friends. They would probably describe me as bold, self-assured, and confident with a dash of defiant thrown into that mix. We were good teens (for the most part) and I was their leader. No, there wasn’t an election that took place- its just how it was. Seeing that I felt a sense of responsibility to the group, I saw my role as their protector. Of all the friends, Aminah was my favorite.

Felipe, another group member, once pointed out that Aminah was also very strong- but in a completely different way. The group became intrigued by this notion. Different, how? He started “Aminah is strong. She could kill you with her fists.” Silence became agreement. “But Kristina, she could kill you with her tongue.” Giggles scattered across the group. Apparently, this was common knowledge that everyone knew, except me.

I was really bothered. How could this group that I loved so dearly find me verbally ruthless? That was never my intention. I wanted to protect them from hurt but I was the hurt. It took me a couple years to understand what the word “tact” meant. The moment I understood the definition of tact, (basically the ability to be sensitive when delivering difficult conversations) I was taken right back to that conversation with my friends.

Though my intention was to always be truthful and honest, there was a way to still deliver that message with the recipient’s feelings in mind. I spent years learning how to deliver my message while still validating the other person’s opinion, feelings or point of view. It was not an easy journey! I learned that though my intentions were not to hurt anyone, hurt was still the result.

Fast forwarding into adulthood, it is difficult to watch managers that have not learned how to deliver a message with tact. In management, it is important to develop trust with your team. If your intentions are good but your feedback conversations leave the associate hurt- they may not even receive the intended message.

A few tips to delivering a more effective message are:

  1. Don’t say a word if you are feeling emotional- you have not thought through your words or how your words might make someone feel. Take a walk, call your friend, vent on paper, cry in the bathroom- anything but address what is upsetting you in that moment. Sometimes things that are not even work-related just boil over into our professional life. Take a moment to really figure out why you are upset and how you can approach the conversation.
  2. Everyone is entitled to a different opinion- the thing that makes this world so amazing is that everyone is different. Maybe a colleague has a different way of wanting to work on a project and you don’t think their method would work. How can both of you still value the differing opinions of one another and still accomplish the task?
  3. Agree to Disagree- When both parties have said all they have needed to say, there is no trophy for the one person who convinces the other. You can say, “I respect that you think my idea will not work but I think I am still going to try.”
  4. Enjoy the partnership- If you say things how they are, you can easily turn colleagues or direct reports off from wanting to share ideas or opinions that differ from yours. Listening to points of views that are different causes you to challenge some of your own reasoning. Additionally, you might find yourself more open to learning and you just might find a more efficient way of completing tasks.

About Tantam Health

Tantam Health specializes in onsite clinics, worksite clinics and nearsite clinics. Their innovative programs, advanced reporting capabilities, and unique structure of their team allows them to deliver customized solutions that exceed their client’s expectations. The company takes a team-based approach to their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by the NCQA. Learn more at www.tantamhealth.com

Do you hire Employees or Associates?

Do you hire Employees or Associates?

I remember working for a company and moving up the ranks pretty quickly. My input was requested in making hiring decisions not only for our company, but also for the clients we served. How exciting was that?! As I referred to the client’s employees as “associates” I was quickly corrected. They were employees, not associates. I took the feedback and nodded my head with understanding. In reality, I didn’t understand. Are they employees or associates, I couldn’t yet articulate what it was. I also started to question which one I was, which one I wanted to be, and what I would accept.

An employee is generally referred to as someone who provides labor to another person or a company. That’s it. So basically, an employee is an individual contributor that seeks a wage in exchange for labor.

An associate, in contrast to an employee, is a person united with another or others in the business. The key work being ‘unity’. When you are working towards a common goal (to complete business) in a unified group there is equality despite the title of each person in the organization.

The difference between being an employee or associate is really about working individually for a wage or working in unison towards a common purpose.

This revelation got me thinking about turnover rates. Do some company’s struggle year over year with retention because they don’t understand their culture? Are they hiring collaborative individuals and sticking them on an assembly line? Are really focused/introverted people being forced into uncomfortable group projects?

Through a lot of my own soul searching, I discovered that I am an associate. I need purpose and want to work with a team that is all striving toward one common goal. As referenced earlier, not everyone needs collaboration to feel engaged. Some people prefer to be an employee- they prefer to work in peace, within their cubby providing quality work to their manager. There is a need for both employees and associates, but there is also a greater need to hire the right one for your organization.

As an organization, it is important to ask yourself this one question before you make your next hire- do you hire employees or associates?

About Tantam Health

Tantam Health specializes in onsite clinics, worksite clinics and nearsite clinics. Their innovative programs, advanced reporting capabilities, and unique structure of their team allows them to deliver customized solutions that exceed their client’s expectations. The company takes a team-based approach to their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by the NCQA. Learn more at www.tantamhealth.com

Breaking Down the Barriers in Worksite Clinic

Breaking Down the Barriers in Worksite Clinic

I’ve been in countless worksite clinic meetings, presentations, trade shows and webinars over the years and one of the common themes that discussed is how complicated our healthcare system is. The question almost always comes to us, what is being done to break the communication barrier between all of the healthcare groups that exists?

Within the scope of the worksite clinic industry, we’ve seen a lot of positive traction with more and more vendors adopting a team based approach through the patient centered medical home model. Other support factors such as the influence of technology within the scope of the practices. This has lead to a switch in the industry with the focus now being on the patients. All parties working together as a team to provide much higher quality of care in addition to increased coordination of care across the healthcare spectrum.

Although barriers are coming down through this team based approach, there still is room for improvement as worksite clinic providers. We must avoid putting up our own barriers between the clinics. Implementing a clinic and not properly supporting the clinical staff over a relatively short period of time, significantly reduces the effectiveness if the clinicians are operating on an island by themselves.

The clinic management company must take careful consideration to all aspects of their practice to prevent these barriers from going up. These items include, but are not limited to:

  • Hiring a Strong Team
  • Create a Culture of Collaboration & Engagement
  • Supply Initial & On-Going Training
  • Provide Resources for Support
  • Back Office Support Resources (Account Manager, Case Management, Data Analytics Team, Etc.)
  • Encourage the Clinical Staff to Have a Voice
  • Financial Incentives – Clinical Team

Preventing these barriers from going up will lead to amongst others a high quality, efficient, effective and ever evolving worksite clinic.

About Tantam Health

Tantam Health specializes in onsite clinics, worksite clinics and nearsite clinics. Their innovative programs, advanced reporting capabilities, and unique structure of their team allows them to deliver customized solutions that exceed their client’s expectations. The company takes a team-based approach to their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by the NCQA. Learn more at www.tantamhealth.com

Does Culture Run Through Your Business?

Does Culture Run Through Your Business?

Have you ever heard of “A River Runs Through It”? It is a novel about two brothers that then became a movie. It was one of my Grandmother’s favorite movies, probably because it starred Brad Pitt, but that’s a story for another day. It’s also probably why I always think of it and oddly relate it to business and specifically business culture.

A river running through “it”; that could mean so many different things. When a business is “it”, the river is the culture. The culture of a business has the ability to, much like a river, be divisive or be connected.

A river often runs through towns, which divides those towns into two sides. This can easily happen to your business if the culture is divisive. I’ve seen this in multiple companies, especially where the corporate offices and operations team run from a separate location than the service teams. The corporate office is meant to be a support for those service teams, but with a lack of cultural leadership this easily becomes an “Us vs. Them” mentality.

So how do you prevent that from happening? It begins with the leadership team and should really begin with the formation of the company, but it’s never too late. The culture of a company should be embedded into every aspect of what that company does and every person that is part of the team. The metaphorical, cultural river should run through the team and bring a common cause and togetherness to the way the company operates. Have you seen those shirts, “I Bleed Blue” (or red or maroon or whatever your favorite team’s color is)? Your whole team should FEEL the spirit and “bleed” your business. Your company’s culture should quench your employees’ thirst for direction and feed them food for thought.

It sounds obvious, right? But according to an article published by PeopleSpark, “64% of all employees do not feel they have a strong work culture” and “turnover at companies with a poor culture is 48%” (PeopleSpark on LinkedIn). With a connection like that, it’s certainly a topic to take notice of and more importantly take action. So here are 4 ways to make sure your culture is strong and your river unites.

  1. Don’t just create the culture, LIVE the culture. As they say, lead by example. If you create a culture you don’t believe in and don’t speak and do business by EVERY day, then why would your employees even bother?
  2. Engage your employees by asking for feedback and making real changes based on the feedback. Annual Gallup surveys have also shown staggeringly high percentages of employees who are not engaged. In February 2017, Gallup’s State of the American Workplace was released and showed that, “70% of U.S. Workers are not engaged at work” (Gallup.com). Keep a pulse on the engagement of employees at all levels and take action where necessary.
  3. Hire people that fit the culture and coach those people to do the same. The wrong hire and/or an actively disengaged employee can completely dismantle the culture of your business.
  4. Consider a flatter organizational hierarchy and step away from the top-down mentality. There are many different approaches to organizational structure and finding what will work best for your company is the key. According to an article, The 5 Types of Organizational Structure, by Jacob Morgan for Forbes, “A ’flatter’ structure seeks to open up the lines of communication and collaboration, while removing layers within the organization” (check out the article at Forbes.com).

These steps are just the beginning and your culture should be unique to your business. Whether it be diversity, collaboration, commitment, something else or all of the above, be certain it’s known and lived by. Culture can be defined as to “maintain in conditions suitable for growth”. Make sure your culture does just that for your business.

About Tantam Health

Tantam Health specializes in onsite clinics, worksite clinics and nearsite clinics. Their innovative programs, advanced reporting capabilities, and unique structure of their team allows them to deliver customized solutions that exceed their client’s expectations. The company takes a team-based approach to their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by the NCQA. Learn more at www.tantamhealth.com