OCT 2012

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

Issue link: https://digital.eyeworld.org/i/87458

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Page 155 of 168

How to integrate part-time employees into your practice by Bob Teale M edical practices are seeking ways to cut costs and still stay competi- tive during these challenging times, and many are adding part-time employees (PTEs) to their full-time teams. Because PTEs typically do not receive benefits, such as health or unemployment insurance, using them can cut personnel costs by as much as 30%, a key selling point in today's fragile economy. While there are similarities between full-time employees (FTEs) and their part-time counterparts, there are major differences in the roles they play. PTEs often perform a lower level of work, filling minor, day-to-day tasks, such as filing and light data entry, and/or tasks that may seem tedious and repetitious. Generally speaking, PTEs fill jobs that offer little chance for advancement, and job satisfaction is minimal. For the most part, motivating PTEs is a little harder to accomplish than motivating FTEs because they may feel: 1) left out of the communi- cation loop, 2) alienated from the friendships that form between full- timers, and 3) just plain different. Unless you are content to address your part-timers separately from the rest of your office staff, thus dou- bling your work and leaving the practice vulnerable to potential time- consuming problems, you must first put in place a strategy to integrate your PTEs into your practice. Bridge the differences to motivate your PTEs A manager can embrace the chal- lenges that part-time workers repre- sent and turn them into a potent force. To effectively integrate PTEs into the practice culture, you must bridge the differences between them and discover ways to include them as part of the practice team. The following tips can help you discover what motivates your PTEs: • Orient them to the practice. Take 15 minutes to examine the PTE's job description or duties in the practice. Review with him/her the employee policy and procedure manual on basic practice policy. Avoid future confusion for both types of employees by clearly iden- tifying who is authorized to assign work and perform specific tasks. Most people will play within the rules if they know what those rules are before the game begins. • Assign a mentor. Assign each part- timer a full-time mentor. This serves two purposes: 1) the mentor feels valued in the practice, and 2) the PTE has someone to go to with relatively minor problems and feels more like part of the team. When choosing a mentor, pick someone who is patient and has the time and ability to answer questions. • Mix up the workload.While it is common to give PTEs the work assignments no one else wants, be careful not to overload them with tedious tasks; it is demoralizing, and the end result could be nega- tive. Be sure to find out what spe- cialized skills each has and capital- ize on those strengths when assigning work. • Eliminate any hard feelings right from the start. Make sure your full-timers know why you are hir- ing part-time help and assure them that their jobs are not in danger. October 2012 • Ophthalmology Business 23 continued on page 26

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