Who is Your Most Valuable Employee? (Hint: It’s Probably Not You)

Many owners like to think that they are the most valuable employee in their business. However, on any given day that probably is not true. Years ago, I ran a large surgery center and learned firsthand the truth. I took great pride in the success of our business. We had 800 patients each month, 50 employees, and a constant sense of urgency. Patients, doctors, staff – the days were always hectic.

I managed critical aspects of the business. I managed profit and looked to control costs, hired and fired staff, and dealt with partnership issues. But, our revenue was driven by patient procedures. Positive patient experiences led to more patients choosing to come to our surgery center. Doctors wanted to come back and word of mouth drove additional patients to these doctors.

Who Do Customers Consider as the Most Valuable Employee?

We had patients complete a survey following their procedure and always asked for patients to identify any staff member that made their experience enjoyable. In more than 5 years running the clinic, I am happy to say that my name was never mentioned once. Management will certainly get mentioned when there are problems, but a valuable employee will receive a customer’s praise.

Survey Says…

Of all of the staff, including our incredible nurses and surgical technicians that cared for our patients, there were three individuals that consistently were named by the patients and led to glowing reviews of our business: the receptionist and the two orderlies. Why?

Nervous patients would walk into our facility. The first person they would meet was our receptionist. She was calm, polite and professional. This put the patients at ease and made them feel much better about the upcoming experience.

As most people have experienced, medications and anesthesia will limit most memories when having a procedure. So, the caring nurses and clinical team were not always remembered by the patients.

However, after some time in recovery, and with a clearer mind, patients would be ready to go home. We had two incredible orderlies that would take the patients from the center to their vehicle. The patients always loved them.

First and Last (Most Recent) Interactions…

The first and last interactions with staff made the most lasting impressions on patients. Everyone on the team played a vital role, but these key individuals made a massive difference in the patient experience. Everyone at the center played a vital role, but to the patient the receptionist and orderlies were the most valuable employees.

Salaries and titles don’t always matter. You have to think like a team and value all of your employees to get the best results. From start to finish – everyone is critical. If you lose a customer the moment they walk in the door, you will never gain their trust. If the patient leaves with a negative experience, you will never see them again.

As an owner or manager, you have to consider the customer’s perspective. In my surgery centers, the most valuable employees from a customer perspective were also the least expensive ones.

Michael Roub

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