Business Management

Inspirational Leadership as a Key to Success

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Business Management | April 2015 Hearing Review

How you can implement Employee Lifecycle Management in your practice

Inspirational leadership results from practicing the art of leading daily, solving small problems early, and being a performance coach to one person at a time. It involves sharing your vision and core beliefs, making expectations clear, evaluating performance regularly, making accountability real, rewarding good performance, as well as developing a “bench.”

It is no surprise that the success of any organization depends upon effective leaders who motivate their staffs to achieve desired goals. In order to be an effective leader and to be in a position to motivate effectively, you need to inspire your team.

American Hearing Aid Associates (AHAA) has developed a program, Employee Lifecycle Management (ELM), which is designed to inspire leaders to deliver inspiring performance management.

Ernie Paolini

Ernie Paolini, American Hearing Aid Associates (AHAA)

The program provides tools for managing staff through four areas that are the keys to the success of any hearing healthcare practice:

1) Staffing (Hire)

2) On-boarding (Inspire)

3) Performance management (Admire)

4) Development/transition (Retire)

ELM traces the steps an employee takes in their entire employment lifecycle, which helps focus on:

  • Results vs behaviors and activities;
  • Aligning processes to owner/practice goals;
  • Cultivating a sustainable view of the practice; and
  • Providing meaningful performance measurements.

Staffing (Hire)

Jodi Bryan, PHR

Jodi Bryan, PHR, American Hearing Aid Associates (AHAA)

In order to get the right person for each position in the practice, owners and managers should invest more time in and concern for the hiring process. Hiring well is important to the overall health of an organization because retention is the most challenging issue facing businesses today.

Employees who fail will cost the practice real dollars for the time and expense spent hiring and training them and mistakes or lost revenue they caused—as well as further time and expense to replace them. Moreover, you may also experience decreased productivity if job responsibilities are shifted to other staff, including yourself.

Sudden terminations can adversely affect employee morale, unsettling remaining staff members, and you may face lawsuits if you do not terminate with sufficient warning and documentation.

Every hiring process starts with creating a complete job description, then the job posting, followed by the interview. Interview questions should be well thought out, and interviewers should also know which questions not to ask! The prospective employee should leave with a clear understanding of what the job will entail and the performance expectations.

In interviewing prospective employees, knowledge, skills, competencies, and experience are certainly important, but their personal attributes, character, and desires should also be noted and weighed.

Once the person is hired, he or she should have a 30-day orientation period. As the person settles in, there should be quarterly performance evaluations with any necessary performance improvement plans.

Here is an example of hiring the “right” AuD at an annual salary of $80,000 (Jasper vs Jill):

  • Jasper has a clinical superstar reputation. He has 90-minute hearing assessment evaluations (HAEs), does two HAEs per day, and has a help rate of 35%. He averages 14 aids per month at an average sales price of $2,000, or $336,000 per year.
  • Jill is the champion of helping patients. She has 60-minute HAEs, does three HAEs per day, and has a help rate of 65%. She averages 39 aids per month at a $2,000 average sales price, or $936,000 in a year.

Which employee do you hope to hire and retain?

On-boarding (Inspire)

The truth is that the practice’s staff members work for you, the leader, not for the practice. Staff members excel for you, not the practice, and staff members leave you, not the practice. As such, you need to foster loyalty and inspire!

Inspiration for employees comes from a leader’s ability to create a work environment based on trust, empathy, and a feeling of safety/security that will allow them to speak up and perform well. The inspirational leader motivates them to be engaged and committed to sharing their beliefs, vision, and goals.

An inspirational leader is a visionary who grows, develops, and builds a quality staff. This leader is an effective communicator and of impeccable character.

A good leader creates an enjoyable work environment for employees. When employees are content, they tend to provide a higher quality of work and stay with the practice longer. Content employees make a leader’s role easier and help more individuals hear better, which is the ultimate goal.

Creating an engaged and committed employee is stimulated by a clear set of company values and intentionally building a desire-to-succeed culture. Employees also take cues from managers who:

  • Are ethical and who do the right thing;
  • Provide platforms for positive attitudes;
  • Make their staff feel like they have an important role in serving patients, helping them hear better, and contributing to the practice’s financial success; and
  • Reward employees for their efforts.

Performance Management (Admire)

Inspirational management, as stated earlier, includes setting expectations and goals, evaluating, coaxing, and eliciting feedback, and regular formal performance appraisals.

When leaders fail, they most often neglect to develop their staffs and foster collaboration/teamwork. A truly cohesive and productive team trusts one another, engages in unfiltered conflict around ideas, and commits to decisions and plans. A good team holds one another accountable and focuses on achieving collective results. As the saying goes, “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”

The effective, inspirational leader:

  • Leads by example and communicates vision and expectations;
  • Challenges staff to think and to speak up safely;
  • Asks questions and seeks counsel, avoiding problems and procrastination;
  • Properly allocates and deploys resources and talent;
  • Provides continuous feedback;
  • Measures and rewards good performance;
  • Displays positive energy and attitude;
  • Is a great teacher;
  • Invests in relationships; and
  • Genuinely enjoys responsibility.

Development/Transition (Retire)

Nothing is forever. You may create a great model employee, but he/she may leave at some point. There are many reasons for the decision—changes in personal life, the prospect of a bigger job elsewhere, or simply retirement.

It can happen, and if you have been the right leader, you will have developed a path for your employees to move on, as well as a “bench” from which to draw quality replacements. This is the final, critical component of good management.

Summary

Inspirational leadership results from practicing the art of leading daily, solving small problems early, and being a performance coach to one person at a time. It involves sharing your vision and core beliefs, making expectations clear, evaluating performance regularly, making accountability real, rewarding good performance, and developing a bench.

As an inspirational leader, you will help make your staff productive and happy to help your patients hear better. At the end of it all, you will have ensured the success of your practice!

Acknowledgement

This article is based on a presentation the authors gave at American Hearing Aid Associates’ 2014 annual convention. More information about the organization is available on the AHAA website.

Ernie Paolini joined American Hearing Aid Associates (AHAA) in 2012 and is responsible for HR and recruiting services. A graduate of Rutgers University, he has more than 20 years’ experience in building and managing technology-driven HR. His areas of expertise include behavioral interviewing, employee relations, compliance, and on-boarding. Jodi Bryan, PHR, joined AHAA in 2013 as human resources manager. She previously worked in HR management with several companies after graduating from Penn State University.

Correspondence can be addressed to Ernie Paolini at epaolini@nullahaanet.com

Citation for this article: Paolini, E; Bryan, J. Inspirational Leadership as a Key to Success. Hearing Review. 2015;21(1):16.