This is a continuation of a previous blog where I outlined four key department goals that I feel are important to the success of any biomedical engineering program. They focus on customers, employees, the biomedical community, and vendors. You can view the first blog here. This week’s blog discusses the second of the four goals is below:
Every aspect of your departmental operations depends upon your employees. They are the most important asset of your department. Studies have shown that although employees may go to work for an organization because of its reputation or its benefit plans, whether or not they stay depends on how their immediate manager or supervisor treats them. As a manager, you have a great deal of influence on whether your employees look forward to coming to work every day or whether they cannot wait to find a better job. In most organizations, there are many things concerning your employees that you are not at liberty to change; like vacation and sick day policies. Rather than wasting time worrying or making excuses for those things you cannot change, you should focus on the things you can change.
Some of the simple things you can change are to allow employees to work as a team to develop their own call and vacation schedules. Employees appreciate the freedom to make their own schedules and they appreciate the trust that you place in them. As a practical matter, as long as you know that the hospital is covered and the work is distributed evenly there is no reason for a manager to be involved in developing these schedules. Along with allowing employees to develop their own vacation and call schedules, you can also allow each of them to schedule their own work hours. This allows you to accommodate each employee’s special needs because some of them might prefer to avoid traffic by coming in early, while others may have to get children off to school and would prefer starting later.
Good managers understand that their success is due to the hard work and dedication of each department member. When employees grow, the department grows and as each employee acquires more knowledge about their profession, the overall skill level of the department improves. Give them every opportunity to learn and improve. Fight for increased budget money so that they can attend manufacturer’s training schools and professional meetings. Do not restrict your educational assistance to technical studies only, but also encourage them to grow by learning writing, speaking and financial and management skills. You can also help them grow by allowing them to represent the department by serving on committees, let them interview candidates and participate in all new employee-hiring decisions.
Always be willing to listen to employee’s issues and allow any member of your department to call for a meeting where you can collectively discuss the issue and find a solution. Also, be certain to take the time to listen to any personal problems that employees may have. People with growing families are likely to have personal difficulties that may interfere with their ability to do their best work. Be willing to listen and understand their problems and make them aware of any personal or family services that your Human Resources Department may offer. Most importantly, you must always be discreet and never discuss your employees’ personal issues with others unless you have their permission.
Be sure to say thank you. You can do this in many ways. You can celebrate birthdays with a cake and candles or take the staff to lunch of dinner at Christmas. Getting together for an occasional Happy Hour at a local restaurant is a good way to improve communication in a non-business environment or to celebrate special achievement.
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