South Florida Hospital News
Monday August 19, 2019

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April 2008 - Volume 4 - Issue 10



Flying without a Net: Workforce without HR Guidance

When the morning alarm clock goes off most doctors take stock of their day whether it includes delivering a new baby, caring for a cancer patient, or checking on pediatric immunizations. Whatever your specialty, you probably prefer not to get mired in the minutia of hiring employees, creating an employee handbook, writing a job description, or mediating an employee dispute. For those reasons, many medical practices have become medium-sized enterprises, complete with corporate structures, including different departments for human resources, accounting, billing, office support, operations, and medical practitioners. Unfortunately for the small to mid-sized practice, the detailed operational responsibility can be daunting and most physicians delegate duties, often to ill prepared subordinates. One of these areas of concern is managing valuable office staff resources.

Medium and large medical enterprises hire human resource professionals for a sound business reason – to provide the support and guidance required in managing their workforce. The complexity of employment law and hiring practice today dictates that the person in charge of hiring and employee relations had best be well-versed.

"There are many facets to consider when hiring the ideal new employee that practitioners may not have the time to do or may not be aware of, such as customer service personality, long term employment viability, checking background and verifying the resume details," according to David B. Demyan, Owner, Express Employment Professionals.

While smaller enterprises may not be able to afford a dedicated full-time human resources (HR) professional, they still experience some of the same workforce issues and are bound by the same workplace regulations requiring professional knowledge and direction. So, lacking a dedicated HR department, where does a medical practice turn for sound HR advice? The marketplace has provided several options, including full service employment agencies, one of the most cost-effective overall solutions for small- to mid-sized practices.

A professional agency can provide more than just temporary and permanent staffing but also many services that otherwise go unmanaged, including:

  • Consultation on human resources issues such as family leave, termination, workers compensation, harassment complaints and the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Targeted training and development seminars
  • Employee handbooks
  • Job descriptions
  • Organizational Effectiveness Survey (OES)
  • Payroll service
  • Affirmative Action Plans
  • Outplacement counseling
For example, a reliable, convenient web-based payroll service increases efficiency and can save a lot of time and money. Instead of paying an office administrator a full day of wages to prepare payroll, an online service can accomplish the same results in a few minutes. Better yet, when payroll is handled by your staffing service you benefit from further efficiency, reduced overhead and decreased paperwork, and can increase your focus on quality patient care.

Another often overlooked aid is the employee handbook, crucial to successfully hiring and retaining great employees, and then maintaining good relations with those employees. As a resource, the handbook can be invaluable in resolving employee concerns over office policy. For example, rather than discretionary granting of vacation time, a written policy outlines vacation eligibility for all employees according to length of service.

Demyan also points out that written job descriptions benefit both the employer and employee. An initial compilation of necessary employee qualifications matched with appropriate job duties that are spelled out clearly in a comprehensive job description helps avoid many ‘that’s not my job’ issues later.

"A comprehensive job description is an insurance policy against future disputes because employees sign on knowing exactly what the job entails," he said. "That type of clarification provides everyone involved with the information to make a knowledgeable decision about employment."

The best advice for medical practitioners who find themselves bogged down in the minutia of hiring is to enlist a trusted professional agency who can provide a wide variety of services – not just temporary staff.

"Keep in mind, no physician would expect an HR professional to practice medicine, and likewise, he/she should not place expectations on themselves to expertly handle HR issues," Demyan advises.

Look for a provider who can assist in the many HR functions your office is likely to encounter in the running of the business and be prepared to practice medicine like you envisioned in medical school.

David B. Demyan is owner of Express Employment Professionals in Boca Raton. He has over 20 years experience in staffing. David can be reached at (561) 393-3100 or
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