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Maintaining a happy, competent and confident work
team will involve continued feedback and education as your practice
grows and changes. Set up a system for feedback and review on a
regular basis. Note, however, that performance assessment is an
ongoing process and at the annual review the staff members should
not get any surprises.
Performance review meetings need to answer these important
Performance management may be required when staff are not
performing as well as they should. This can be caused by personal
issues such as relationship problems, difficulties with personal
finances, issues with personalities at work, or other work-related
issues. Performance problems need to be managed well to ensure that
you don't lose a good employee and that your practice maintains its
financial and commercial viability.
Performance issues should be discussed as soon as they become
apparent. Most problems can be resolved by having a quiet and
confidential chat with the person in question. However, there may
be times when a more formal approach is required. Where an employee
fails to respond to one-on-one discussion, it may be necessary to
counsel the employee. Maintaining documentation of any formal
counselling is advisable as it will be of particular assistance if
the situation deteriorates.
Above all, talk to your staff on a regular basis about their
work. This, more than anything, will stop issues coming to a
All medical and administrative staff need ongoing access to
education and training to allow them to do their job in a
professional and efficient manner. Work demands are changing as
technology grows in importance, and compliance and accreditation
become integral parts of health care practice management.
For medical and administrative staff alike, continuing
development and training can make the difference between confident
and competent staff members and an efficient practice, or something
less desirable. Access to professional development courses can also
be seen as a reward for effort and application.
Remember, there are vicarious liability issues if staff are
inadequately trained (see Induction and training section).
Development can sometimes be completed on site under the
guidance of an experienced staff member. At other times, you may
find it preferable to use the services of an outside provider who
is an expert in a particular field. You may also access seminars,
conferences or formal education courses provided by others.
There must be a clear audit trail of all education provided. For
some positions such as practice managers who are fellows of the
Australian Association of Practice Managers and nurses, there is a
requirement to document professional development including annual
mandatory training (e.g. first aid training). In legal proceedings,
it is often vital to have documents which demonstrate the training
and education undertaken by the staff member.
Workplace assessments can be performed to identify gaps in staff
competencies and the processes to meet these gaps must be
Download the Staff Performance & Development Checklist
It is important to provide a formal performance management and
review program for the practice based on the relevant position
descriptions and competency standards, to ensure regular feedback
is provided to all staff members on an ongoing basis.
The process of performance appraisals should aim to identify,
evaluate and develop each individual staff member's work
performance and productivity to more effectively achieve
organisational goals and objectives and to provide reward,
recognition, feedback, support and career guidance to staff
members, where necessary.
There are a number of benefits for both the practice and staff
members in the implementation of an effective performance appraisal
system that may include:
Both the practice and staff members should be aware that when
either good or bad issues arise, they should be addressed
immediately, and not left to the scheduled performance appraisal to
Above all, performance management is an ongoing process. This
means that there should be no major surprises at an annual
Decide how frequently performance should be reviewed. It usually
occurs on an annual basis.
Design a performance management system to facilitate discussion
Provide development opportunities for those who need new skills
or knowledge, or who need help to reach the desired level of
Set new objectives for the following period at each performance
Be sure to follow a few simple rules:
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