Rebecca JohnsonRebecca Johnson: Smart Parting Published 3 years agoon October 23, 2015By Rebecca Johnson Share Tweet It’s never easy to release an employee. Here are a few ways to soften the blow.This article originally appeared in the November 2015 edition of INVISION. In 1978, Kenny Rogers shared these wise words with us in his hit song, The Gambler: “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away and know when to run.” Advertisement Hiring a new employee is a gamble. No matter how nicely written the resume, or how glowing the references, you are rolling the dice. So what do you do when you realize that the employee is not a match for the job? While the decision to let an employee go should be a last-resort measure, many managers wait far too long. Letting go is obviously toughest when employees have been with you for a long time. Veteran employees should have a chance to work through performance issues, with guidance from the management team. But if an employee shows poor work habits, has unsatisfactory skill levels, or displays attitude problems during the first 90 days on the job, keeping him around makes as much sense as putting sour milk back into the refrigerator with hopes that it will taste better the next time you take it out. Whether with a new hire or a veteran, once you have taken the preliminary steps, considered all potential legal ramifications, and have finally made the difficult decision to discharge the employee, don’t torture yourself and the employee by prolonging the inevitable. Strive to let the person go with his dignity intact. Termination should rarely come as a surprise. Telling someone you’re letting him go should not be the first time that the employee has been made aware his work or behavior is unsatisfactory. Legally, it’s crucial that the employee has previously received a written notice that his termination is a possibility. And because many employees who are terminated legitimately fear what people will say behind their back, it’s a good policy to reassure workers that, except for the management team involved in the termination (or others on a need-to-know basis), the issue will not be discussed with other employees. Keep your word to the employee on this, and your remaining employees will have greater respect for your leadership. Advertisement While providing the employee with a letter of recommendation seems like the right thing to do (and may make you feel better), be aware that this letter can be used against you if it contradicts the reasons for termination. Timing is important. Firing an employee on Friday does not allow the employee the opportunity to immediately begin searching for another job. Early in the week and early in the day are the most logical times to have this tough talk with an employee. And despite what I wrote earlier about not prolonging the inevitable, you don’t want to deliver a pink slip just before Thanksgiving or Christmas. Any time you’ve had to let someone go, think about what happened and what you might do differently in the future. Look for trends in hiring and training. Do a retention study: List everyone who has left your employment in the past five years, whether by his own accord or not. (Remember: Sometimes you’re not the one ending the relationship.) Note the reasons that the employee is no longer with you and determine how you can improve employee retention. No one enjoys the task of terminating an employee. But knowing “when to hold and when to fold” can increase productivity, boost profits and improve office morale. REBECCA JOHNSON is a 30-year veteran in the eyecare business. She is the executive director of Business Consultative Services for GPN and owner of EyeTrain4You, an ophthalmic staff training and development company. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Advertisement Related Topics:practice managementstaff Up NextRebecca Johnson: Dancing Into 2016 Don't MissRebecca Johnson: The Art of Smart Hiring Advertisement SPONSORED VIDEO SPONSORED BY WALMAN OPTICALProfitability with Managed Care: It’s RealIn the first of this three-part series, Dr. Eric White, Complete Family Vision Care, talks about managed care, and how to put your practice on the path to profitability. Promoted Headlines Profitability with Managed Care: It’s RealWalman Optical Overheard at The E+A Lounge at VEWEssilor Nominate a Difference MakerEssilor You may like Start Stretching! Flex Spending Season is Almost Upon Us and More Manager’s To-Dos for November Is It Already Time to Get Ready for the Holidays? Yup! And More Manager’s To-Dos for October Talk Up Your Staff and More Tips for September Want more INVISION? Subscribe to our newsletter. CommentRebecca JohnsonHere’s Proof That Knowledge Does Not Equal Understanding Published 2 years agoon January 24, 2017By Rebecca Johnson There is a Youtube video called “The Backwards Brain Bicycle” (invmag.us/01173) that demonstrates what happens when you mechanically change one thing on a bicycle — on this bike when you turn the handlebars left, the wheel turns right and vice versa. It sounds like a simple change. Knowing that the wheel turns the opposite way means all you need to do is turn the wheel the opposite direction from the way that you want to go, right? Wrong! As you will see, once your brain is wired one way, it is very hard to change it. Knowledge does not equal understanding.What can a business owner or manager learn from this? Just because you tell your staff to do something differently (knowledge) does not mean that they will easily make the change (understanding). For example, you decide to go “all in” with sunwear sales. You order product and create a Sun Center. You hold a staff meeting to discuss the role of each person in supporting sunwear sales. The receptionist will ask every patient to bring in all of their eyewear, including sunglasses. The technician will discuss the importance of protecting against UV rays during pretesting. The contact lens tech will put sunglasses on every patient and walk them to a window to demonstrate the need for them with contact lenses. The optician will show the patient a polarized lenses demo and pick at least two sunglass options for them to try. At the end of this meeting, you assume, after sharing this knowledge with your team, they’ll immediately adapt and you’ll see a great return on your investment. The next month, you see a slight increase in sales, only to return to square one in month two. Does this sound familiar?Think about the bicycle experiment. It took eight months of daily practice to rewire an engineer’s brain. Even once he’d adapted to it, any disturbance, like a cell phone ringing, threw his brain off track again. Knowing this phenomenon, a smart business owner would create a complete, long-term strategy around the change that includes multiple sessions of role-playing, discussion and rewards. He’d bring in outside training, like frame reps, on a regular basis as a confidence builder for staff. He’d also be sure to place total focus on the change before moving onto something else. For instance, implementing new software at the same time he’s trying to build sunwear sales would be counterproductive.I also found it interesting how quickly his son learned to ride the backward bicycle. I believe this shows that the longer someone has been doing something one way, the more difficult it is for the brain to rewire to an alternative method. This is particularly important for ECPs to remember when presenting change to a long-term employee.Rebecca Johnson is a motivational ophthalmic staff trainer, a nationally recognized speaker and author, and director of training for Eyefinity. Her honors include the AOA Paraoptometric Special Service Award and VisionMonday’s “Most Influential Women.” Contact her at email@example.com Continue ReadingColumnsNip Staff Negativity in the Bud With These Positive Solutions Published 2 years agoon October 27, 2016By Rebecca Johnson Nothing kills staff morale more quickly than unaddressed problems. Interpersonal quarrels, performance issues and hostilities between departments will have a negative impact on employee motivation and enthusiasm. Thinking that the problem will go away on its own is as counterproductive as putting spoiled milk back into the refrigerator. Negativity is contagious, and the only way to keep it from spreading is to deal with it immediately. Additionally, ignoring a problem quickly leads to lost respect for the leader, resulting in ineffective leadership.The best way to control negativity is to keep it from rearing its ugly head in the first place. Below are a few tips that will preserve positivity in the workplace.Be fair.Be consistent.Meet with each staff member on a regular basis.Act quickly to nip negativity at the bud.Recognize accomplishments.Provide strategic framework, i.e. team vision and mission.Let’s take a look at a three examples of situations that can quickly become toxic to staff morale:The biller told the optician that she is tired of fixing his mistakes and that he needs to do a better job getting the right information in the computer. The optician is very offended as he believes that he rarely makes a mistake and the biller is making too much of an issue of it when he does. One technician is convinced that she does the majority of pretesting because the other technician spends too much time chatting with the patient.The front desk staff feels that the technicians should help more with answering the phone. The technicians complain that the front desk staff takes too long to get the chart ready, which creates bottlenecks in the back office patient flow.Now, let’s discuss solutions:Schedule a sit-down meeting with the optician, biller and yourself, stating the purpose of the meeting is to determine what each person can do to assist the other in making their job easier. During the meeting, allow the two individuals to come to an agreement with as little involvement from you as possible. Get the facts first. If the chatty technician is creating extra workload, have a discussion with her. Compliment her on wanting to be friendly with the patients, but explain that lengthy conversations keep patients waiting longer than they should. Show her that you value her ability to be friendly and sociable by asking her greet patients at the door during the next trunk show or other event.Give each group a chance to view the other job from a different perspective. Make time for each front desk member to spend the day following a technician and let each technician spend a day at the front desk.REBECCA JOHNSON is a motivational ophthalmic staff trainer, a nationally recognized speaker and author, and director of training for Eyefinity. Her honors include the AOA Paraoptometric Special Service Award and VisionMonday’s “Most Influential Women.” Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis article originally appeared in the November 2016 edition of INVISION. Continue ReadingRebecca JohnsonIs Your Practice Moving Forward … Or Stuck in the Status Quo? Published 2 years agoon October 1, 2016By Rebecca Johnson I love the story about the little boy who fell out of bed in the the night. Hearing his screams, the mother ran in and asked, “What happened?” Through tears the little guy replied, “I guess I stayed too close to where I got in.”I liken the little’s boy’s answer to something that many optometrists tend to do: stay too close to where they got in. In other words, status quo and business as usual becomes a safe spot to hang out in. Yes, change is difficult; however, change must happen for a practice to keep from becoming irrelevant.Let’s try a quiz to determine if you are staying too close to where you got in.1. When was the last time you remodeled all or a part of your practice?a. Within the last year (3 points)b. Between two and four years (2 points)c. Over four years (1 point)d. I love my mauve and blue décor and silk flowers from the ’90s! (0 points)2. How often do you move your frame collections?a. Monthly (3 points)b. Quarterly (2 points)c. Yearly (1 point)d. How would I find anything if I moved my frame collections? (0 points)3. How often do you post on social media?a. Regularly on Facebook and Instagram (3 points)b. Regularly on Facebook (2 points)c. Monthly on Facebook (1 point)d. My patients don’t use social media. (0 points)4. What’s up with your dispensary technology?a. We use digital measuring technology with every patient and promote it as a wow factor. (3 points)b. We use digital measuring technology with every patient, but do not discuss it as a wow factor. (2 points)c. We have access to digital measuring technology, but the opticians complain that it takes too long to use, so it is not used much. (1 point)d. We take measurements by hand and a Sharpie. (0 points)5. How often do you hold staff meetings?a. Weekly, plus stand up meetings every morning (3 points)b. Weekly (2 points)c. Monthly (1 point)d. We don’t have time for staff meetings. (0 points)How’d you do?15 points: You have got it going on and your bank account shows it!10-14 points: You are average, and who wants to be average?5-9 points: You are opening a wide door for your competition.0-4 points: You might as well get back into bed.So how’d you do? If you scored less than 14 points, then review the quiz. It is full of simple ideas to refresh your practice. Here’s a hint: If it has a value of three points, you should probably be doing it. Staying in the status quo may feel safe and easy, but you are at risk of your competition pulling the sheets out from under you.REBECCA JOHNSON is a motivational ophthalmic staff trainer, a nationally recognized speaker and author, and Director of Training for Eyefinity. Her honors include the AOA Paraoptometric Special Service Award and VisionMonday’s “Most Influential Women.” Contact her at email@example.com.This article originally appeared in the October 2016 edition of INVISION. Continue ReadingAdvertisementLatestTrendingVideos Sponsored Content7 hours agoProfitability with Managed Care: It’s Real Headlines2 days agoUK Gets Nationwide Contact Lens Recycling Program Buzz Session2 days agoFrom Travel to Exercise to Alcohol, ECPs Recharge in Diverse Ways True Tales2 days agoLuckily Surrogacy is Not a Job Requirement Columns2 days agoCelebrity Clients Are Cool, but Never Forget Who the Real Stars Are Headlines2 weeks agoDiet Soda May Contribute to This Vision Problem, Study Finds Real Deal4 weeks agoA Patient Pushes an Optician to Bend the Rules. Is This A Gray Area Or Are They Committing Fraud? Headlines3 weeks agoRemote Eye Exam Company Plans National Expansion Headlines3 weeks agoWarby Parker Warns of Data Breach America's Finest3 weeks ago6 of the Best Out-of-the-Box Ideas Dreamed Up by Optical Retailers INVISION Podcast2 weeks agoPodcast: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? Videos3 weeks agoTeen Sees Color for the First Time — Watch Her Reaction Try Not to Blink1 month agoPodcast: Try Not to Blink Talks About the Business of Cannabis, and Its Role in Modern Healthcare Try Not to Blink1 month agoPodcast: 10 Reasons Eyecare Doctors Get Sued, and How to Avoid Being One of Them Videos1 month agoVideo Shows Just How Fabulous Eyeglasses Were in the ’50s — Take a Look AdvertisementAdvertisement Most Popular Headlines1 week agoCooperVision Makes an Acquisition Headlines1 week agoEyecare Group Receives ‘Substantial’ Investment, Acquires 2 Practice Groups Headlines1 week agoBausch & Lomb to Pay $135K in Settlement Over Packaging of Eye Drops, Contact Lens Solution Headlines4 days agoMan Who Threatened to Drive Into Optometrist’s Office Is Sentenced to Probation Headlines7 days agoFounder of Natural Eye Health Company Dies Columns3 days agoHow to Handle Negative Reviews Products3 days agoNew Licenses Galore and More of What You Need to Know for January America's Finest4 days agoCool Ideas and Clever Lighting Create the Ideal Frame-Selection Setting at This LA-Area Practice.