Category: Administrator’s Corner

Administrator’s Corner: Overcoming Staff Shortages & Improving Morale

4 minute read

No one understands the struggles and triumphs that ASC leadership experiences like those who have gone through it themselves. We understand Administrators, Business Office Managers, Chief Nursing Officers, Nurses, and everyone else who makes an ASC run successfully because at one point, we were standing right in your shoes.

Welcome to HST’s Administrator’s Corner 👋 Together, we’ll be addressing current issues that ASC leadership are facing to help solve your most pertinent and difficult problems. The advice below is proven and actionable, and we hope you find it helpful!

 

Question: In these times of extreme staff shortages, what would you do to improve morale and retain staff?

 

Dean Brown
VP of Business Development, HST Pathways
Former ASC Admin for 22 years in Alabama

In these times of extreme staff shortages, it is important to keep good morale for your existing staff. As a former administrator, some of the things that I did to keep morale high during difficult times was to make sure they knew that we could not be successful without them. We would cater lunches or breakfasts on busy days, we would do spot bonuses for those team members that went above and beyond, and we would rotate the staff who had to work late days. As part of our regular compensation plan, we paid quarterly bonuses to the staff based on center profitability, center goal attainment, and individual performance. The staff knew that if they went the extra mile and that if we had a profitable quarter, their bonuses would reflect that. Make your staff feel like they are one of the shareholders.

 

Donna Griggs, RN BSN MPH
Clinical Training Specialist in Learning & Development, HST Pathways
Former ASC Admin and CNO for 16 years and RN for 30 years in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee

Staff must know, believe, and feel that they are vital assets to the center! Work with your shareholders/hospital partners to be able to get their support both financially and emotionally to take care of their personnel. Make rounds, have fun, wear seasonal scrubs for the month. You can have potlucks or have the center provide the meals. You can also have center wide education/competitions, celebrate birthdays with a cake each month, celebrate work anniversaries, and take fun pictures to post on the bulletin board.

 

Dorothy L. Immel
HST Practice Management Consultant, HST Pathways
Former Regional Business Office Manager and CBO Director in Texas & Oklahoma

I found the greatest team building effort in the business office when trying to compensate for staff shortages was not just cross-training, but job sharing. Job sharing helps teammates to understand the challenges and rewards of each position, see the bigger picture in the overall revenue cycle process, and have greater empathy and respect for one another. Here is an example of what I call “Front Desk Tag Team.” When our admitter left during a slow period, we elected not to fill the position until business picked up again. We had five teammates in the business office and were open five days a week, so we decided each teammate would spend one day per week at the front desk. Though admitting may seem to some like the easiest job in the front office, it was an eye-opening experience for them all. Our initial purpose was simply to reduce payroll expenses, but it turned out to be one of the best team-building exercises I have ever employed.

 

Pierre Devaud
Sales & Relationship Manager, Patient Access, HST Pathways
Former ASC admin for 7+ years in New York

The primary driver of workplace satisfaction is feeling connected to the mission associated with your work. This is made easier in the healthcare space by the simple nature of what we do; and even easier working in an ASC, which typically offers the patient an excellent surgical experience and clinical outcome. One of your primary responsibilities as an Administrator is reinforcing that message to your staff (and sometimes your docs). ASCs often attract top clinical talent for the predictability in scheduling not afforded to most employees in the acute care setting. Following that line of thinking, providing a professional setting that enables staff to use their time at work most efficiently is key. Technology (appropriately selected) can contribute very favorably to employee satisfaction and retention. Interoperability of solutions remains a huge challenge in our industry, so do your best to imagine the future state you’re trying to achieve and contract with companies that acknowledge they don’t know what tomorrow holds. If they’re not committed to being flexible with your future technology needs and potential interoperability challenges, consider alternatives.

 

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