Posted by: Knightbird | January 25, 2011

“I Don’t Want To Lose All My Employees”

I wrote recently about a health care organization’s ethical responsibilities to it’s patients. I felt that failure to employ a management system that reduces errors, improves quality and extends the range of services is wrong on so many fronts. Of course, I am referring to Lean Management, specifically healthcare. I also believe that failure to use Lean is mistreatment of employees. So, it is interesting that I have heard the title of this post in response to my Lean advocacy from 2 leaders of different and sizeable health care organizations in Anchorage—a board chair and a President/CEO. One used the excuse that they were going through a difficult transition to an electronic health record and they didn’t want to stress employees any more than they were already stressed. The President/CEO didn’t want his medical staff to leave, essentially a shot at me over my entire mid-level medical staff leaving, which I wrote about earlier.

It’s my guess that the Executive for the first organization selected an EHR and told their employees to make it work. My experience with lean taught me that the employees needed to analyze their workplace and plan the implementation from selection to support. I had no resistance from staff, and although we ran into the typical implementation issues, they were happy during it’s implementation. No politics, no pain. We are starting to realize the benefits. For example, Electronic Prescriptions mean that our patient presents at the Pharmacy to an already packaged prescription, receives their education and is able to leave quickly.

We recently hosted a Dentist candidate at our North Star Clinic in Seward, and although I didn’t have a chance to meet him, his comment to my Division Director was that our staff seemed to be very happy. That is an incredible recruiting tool. Our average tenure for a provider is 5 years. This happiness means our patients don’t have to break in new providers and.

And last week, a former employee just rejoined our staff after being gone for about 3 years. This employee had resigned to take another job and realized very quickly that the new workplace was just so dysfunctional after working here. She wanted to come back within 2 weeks of leaving, but we had no suitable openings until now. Our staff turnover is low for our permanent full time positions, and we work constantly to improve our working relationships with each other.

Mark Graban hosted an interesting question regarding employee resistance at recently and generated some provocative discussion. Although I have seen true resistance, I wholeheartedly agree with his statement that employer’s complain about their employee’s being resistant to change. That is exactly what the argument embodied in the title of this post represents


  1. Thanks for mentioning my post, here is the link:

    and thanks for the comment on my blog, as always.

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