Peopling with Purpose: Making the Most of Human Capital Optimization
Anyone who’s had the challenge of performing fix-up projects around the house — like replacing your kitchen sink — knows that there’s a perfectly sized wrench that works a lot more effectively than a screwdriver and a hammer every time. It’s quicker, more efficient, and saves a lot of wear and tear on the pipes and your knuckles.
That’s what optimization in the business world is all about: finding the most appropriate and efficient tool for the most clearly defined task at hand, so that offices run more smoothly and products and services are delivered with greater results. Unfortunately, and all too often, the wrong tool is being used on the right job or the right tool on the wrong one.
This desire and need for optimization isn’t only applicable for technology and processes, it can and should be used for optimizing human potential as well. In maximizing one of the greatest assets you’ve got — your staff — your goal should be to align the right people with the right skills using the right technology and right systems.
Let me show you some examples so you can see what I mean, how it works, and why it’s important.
Wrong person. Wrong job.
Alex the System Administrator is great at what he does and he’s been doing it a long time. Maybe too long. Though clearly qualified and equipped with traditional training and experience, he’s not kept up to date on the latest technology options that can keep him literally up to speed and interconnected.
And because he’s a step behind on the tech front, his office and equipment are suffering because of it. Systems are slow, when they’re working at all. Networks aren’t correctly networked, causing communication lapses and issues. The work that is getting done isn’t being accomplished with the greatest possible speed, ease, and effectiveness.
Right person. Wrong job.
Frank the Physician, on the other hand, is positive, always seeing potential for progress and innovation. He is well educated, highly skilled, up to date, and always looking forward to the latest trends, techniques, and technology. And he’s great with people, whether they’re patients, partners, or staff.
But, like Alex, the operations and infrastructure of his workplace make it hard for him to perform at his greatest potential. Scheduling no-shows, overbookings, and vacant time slots make him frequently question where he’s supposed to be and what he’s supposed to be doing. Lack of updated and comprehensive records put patient care at practice reputation at risk. And it seems like someone is always mad about something.
Right job, wrong person.
Pamela the Practice Manager has a great track record of past success, works well with others, and has an exceptional management team and staff. But the practice which she oversees has grown so rapidly that they seem to be offering too much specialization with too many different procedures at too many locations. It’s making her head spin.
Though intelligent and eager to learn, she simply just doesn’t have the skills, the manpower, or the technical capability to keep ahead of their growth. Miscommunication is occurring, scheduling and services are encountering difficulties, and people are getting overwhelmed.
Right person. Right Job.
Sarah the Scheduler is bright, optimistic, knowledgeable, and compassionate. She not only knows everyone and everything about her practice, but she’s aware of the dealings of most of their partners, suppliers, and vendors. She’s the first one at work every day and the last to leave, always offering an encouraging word to a staff member or a patient.
And she works at a practice that provides her with the most up-to-date equipment and systems to make her life manageable, productive, profitable, and enjoyable. Her company has made sure that she spends the bulk of her time doing the tasks for which she’s the most qualified and in which she gets the most pleasure.
Of course, the last scenario is the objective every business is pursuing but probably not achieving. As you’ve seen, you can have the right personnel, but regardless of how motivated and skilled they are, if they aren’t armed with the best resources and equipment, they will underachieve. Or you could have the most sophisticated and updated systems and procedures, but if you don’t have competent, capable, and motivated people to operate them, inefficiency, lack of productivity, and less-than-desired patient care is the unfortunate byproduct.
Human capital optimization: it’s all about getting the right people doing the right things with the right tools.