As reimbursements continue to shrink, urgent care operators are constantly looking for ways to engage staff towards increased productivity and profits. One tool that companies are turning to with great success is the company wide teaching of financial literacy, which has consistently proven an excellent method for boosting engagement and thus the bottom line. Simply put, financial literacy works, and it’s a method that urgent care would do well to pay heed.
Financial literacy can be loosely defined as the basic understanding of how a business makes money and turns a profit. Rather than just performing a job function, a financially literate urgent care staffer understands how what they do everyday ties into company profits. You don’t need to be an accountant, or understand every line item on the balance sheet, but financial literacy does require staff to be familiar with the numbers that most closely impact their job function or department. Thus, when the veil is lifted and staff begin to see a direct correlation between their work and the bottom line, both engagement and the numbers began to rise. To that end, here are a few tried and true methods recommended by engagement experts for boosting employee engagement through financial literacy.
Open the books
Many companies make the mistake of hammering employees with the key financials before they provide a meaningful context from which they can be properly interpreted. In other words, employees see and hear the numbers, but don’t really understand them. Hence, employers should offer regular courses in basic company financial literacy, and make them mandatory for the entire staff. Keep in mind that the goal is to inform and elucidate, not overwhelm. So, stick to the basics wherever possible.
Narrow down the KPI’s
A key performance indicator is a metric that shows how well (or poorly) a company is doing in regards to a specific business objective or industry benchmark. Armed with the knowledge that financial literacy is beneficial, well-intentioned but overzealous managers, in an attempt highlight every KPI, can often overwhelm staff with so many KPI’s that they can’t follow them all. A better strategy is to narrow the focus to two or three KPI’s that really drive the business, and have staff member pay attention to just those. For urgent care, those might be front desk collection averages, days to bill, or door-to-door time, for example.
Nothing gets employees’ attention like monetary rewards or their equivalent, so be sure to dangle a juicy carrot to motivate staff to learn financial literacy. Some companies achieve this via managerial profit sharing on a quarterly or yearly basis. Other companies implement bonus programs that target specific KPI’s, and reward staff members who improve upon the baseline numbers. In either case, the promise of a financial payoff for diligently monitoring and improving KPI’s serves to instill a level ownership and accountability among staff that might not exist otherwise.
People loves games. Hence, managers should follow Great Game of Business principles and incorporate the basic elements of a game – teams, scores, and rules – into their financial literacy initiatives. Make it a weekly/monthly contest to see which department can meet or exceed their target KPI’s, and reward the winners. Use scorecards, electronic charts, and whiteboards to track daily progress. Metrics such as days in accounts receivable, or ancillary revenue per visit, for example, should all be in play.
The results are indisputable: No matter the industry, companies see tangible benefits to their bottom line when they teach and promote company wide financial literacy. One proven way for urgent care to instill financial literacy is by teaching employees the basic line items of the Income Statement and linking them with their relevant KPI’s. Then, by diligent tracking, monitoring, and incentivizing, both employee engagement and thus the bottom line should see a significant boost.