A lot of the topics covered in the class are things I wish I knew or learned before I became a manager. Most of the topics that we cover were things I had to learn through experience or the hard way. Although majority of the things we discussed were similar there were a few things that were different due to the nature of being a nurse leader. Some of the things that were different than what I experienced as a manager are staffing, and budgeting. Staffing for round the clock care has a lot of things to be concerned about. Making sure that there is adequate staff to fulfill not only the workload but also remain in the budgeting parameters made it a little more difficult to accomplish. In my experience the clients gave us a budget and I was in charge of making sure we earned as much of that budget as we could through the amount of agents we had including their performance and hours they worked.
Some of the group discussions we worked on was also interesting. The way I pictured or saw things were not the same as what other people in the group saw. This helped in creating a different perspective than how I usually view things so I enjoyed the discussions we had. the interviews we also had to do gave me a different perspective on companies and the way the operate. It showed that not all companies operate the same which isn’t a bad thing, and it also shows that there are many ways to operate but still be able to achieve company goals. The way things operate just needs to be able to work for the company.
Leadership is a tough responsibility but is necessary. Successful leaders are able to inspire those that they lead and they are also able to help the company achieve company goals. Understanding employees and being able to think outside of the box will aide in being successful as a manager.
In this week’s topic of risk management and legal responsibilities or the nurse leader put into perspective how important it is as a nurse leader to follow up on employees and make sure things are being done right and on time. If not it can bring on a lot of issues including legal repercussions. Something that can be done to minimize the risk is to be a responsible leader. This includes always looking for ways to improve processes, training employees and checking their understanding, and following up on employees to see if they need help with anything. Failure to do so could lead to negligence on your part as a nurse leader and could result in legal action against. In the article that I read, having open lines of communication with staff is one of the best ways to avoid potential liability. Having this open open line of communication with staff, patients, and their families fosters trust and respect. When trust is achieved any tough decisions that need to be made by the staff will be brought up to the leader or care that isn’t satisfactory will also be brought up to the leader allowing for lower risk. Another aspect to think about is to know the strength and weaknesses of the nursing staff so that the assignments and delegations are appropriate and meets the patient’s needed care. This week’s discussion showed that despite what processes are in place if staff do not carry out those processes effectively or on time there could be repercussions. It made me realize that if there are tasks that I may not be able to complete on time I need to make sure I reach out to someone that can help with that task.
In this week’s lesson about motivation helped me realize that there isn’t just one thing that you can do as a manager to motivate your employees. Employees think and respond to things differently so being able to recognize early on what motivates each individual employee will help in managing them. The method of asking them what motivates them and documenting it for future reference will aide in getting that employee to give their maximum effort when the time calls for it. Something that I have noticed during my time as a manager is that although something may motivate a person now may not be the case a few weeks or a couple of months from that time. This could be due to boredom or other factors that may be affecting the person at the time. That’s why it is always a good idea to change things up and use a mixture of motivating factors. Having a manager that is liked always influences an employee to work harder because of the loyalty that the employee has for their manager. This loyalty is due to the manager’s caring personality. Employees can tell when a manager is really caring or if they are faking it. By helping employees when they need help it allows the manager to see what they employee is experiencing and allows the manager to be a better advocate for their employees and helps bridge the gap between upper management and what happens on the front lines.
I enjoyed the bargaining assignment this week. It made me think and realize that there is a lot to trying to reach an agreement for raises. Just a slight increase in pay, something that I thought wouldn’t be much of a problem, ended up impacting the company in many ways. The loss that the company experienced due to a lock out was more than I thought it would be. Seeing my teammates thoughts surrounding what increases to make and how to approach getting those raises brought more insight to me in helping employees get raises. Not asking for too much was helpful in employees not being locked out which would affect them from not having any income for a couple of months. But I also thought about employees not reaching the amount that would make them happy because I sold them short. It made me wonder why those in management couldn’t just sit down and work together to find some way to make it all work so that employees wouldn’t be affected by inflation and so that the employer wouldn’t take a hit either. I guess that is when having good assertive communication would help in finding a way to solve that conflict. Watching the movie “The Guardian”, was helpful in seeing the different conflicts and realizing what worked and what didn’t. I could also see what happens when effective conflict resolution was used and the result vs ineffective communication and how that affected the relationship. But the lessons in this week’s assignments helped me in realizing the importance of having effective conflict resolution skills. Assertive communication is a skill that I will have to work on and implement at work so that the things that I feel are important can be taken into consideration and those that have a different perspective can be viewed also. This will allow conflicts and concerns to be resolved allowing work to progress.
Strategic planning is an exciting component in progression or the future of a company. As exciting as it is there are so many things that need to be considered and implemented so that everything can go smoothly. The new style of strategic planning is interesting in that the focus is geared more towards shorter time lines of 6, 18, 12, and 24 months opposed to the old style of 5 years. In the discussion post we did, thinking about implementing a new program at UVU, made me realize how much there is to consider when planning it out. Initially my thoughts were more on what the state has to offer and what we can implement that is different than other schools, however, it is not that simple. As I began contemplating I started to think about whether or not it would be successful based on clinical opportunities, trend or job outlook for that profession, whether or not the state is moving in the direction of that profession, and if that program will need additional schooling because of what employers are looking for in applicant credentials. These are some of the things that are just on the surface of strategic planning. Other things to consider is the values and beliefs of those that are currently employed with the company and if the new plans will align with them. When a plan is being carried out some of the things that the company needs to be careful with is employees releasing information of those plans that could affect the outcome of the strategic planning. So there are many things that need to be considered when planning for the future. When planning these things all aspects need to be considered so that the plan can be implemented effectively.
Change can sometimes be difficult to adapt to. Many times people become comfortable with the way things are going and that is what makes it hard for change to happen. The story of who moved my cheese was a good story about 4 individuals and the way they dealt with change. I can relate to all those different individuals and the way they dealt with change. For me I have been mostly like Haw in the way that I have approached change up until recently. Lately I have been more like Sniff in that life lessons have taught me that change will happen and to be prepared one needs to monitor for change so that adjustments can be made accordingly. What I like about the story is that it was relatable plus it makes one think about who they are and who they would like to be. It made me think that to keep up I need to be constantly looking for ways to improve or change if not I will be forced to change and I will not be prepared for it.
Budgeting is not fun to monitor or talk about but it is very important so that finances are in order. What I have learned in the interview is that it needs to monitored daily so that the company can make sure it is within its limits. If there are any additional spending or if someone is doing something wrong then daily monitoring will be able to identify it quickly before it gets out of hand. Although seeking approval before any spending occurs seems like it is too much, it is an effective way to make sure spending is within the budget and if that spending is appropriate or needed.
To manage and make sure budgeting is within its range a company needs to look at it as often as everyday. Not only is it important to know that it is within the ranges that it needs to be but also to catch anything out of the ordinary before it becomes a large issue that could cause financial problems. Having to get things approved before the money is spent is controlling but it is a good strategy to make sure people are not overspending and to be sure the the items are really a need.
In my experience I remember my superiors would meet daily to review company budgets which included daily over heads costs and profits. This also helped determine any additional costs that the company would be able to give to the different programs for incentives or recognitions.
- Do you use a computer system to keep the budget organized? If so, what type? Since we are a global company we have an in house finance team and Finance Controller. They determine the budget but I am not sure what type of software they use if any.
- Who is responsible for coming up with the budget- meaning the actual amount of money your company is allowed to spend? Our Finance Controller. They break it down pretty far as to what can be spent on what (ex. Supplies, recognition, people etc.)
- Which team members do you work with to create the company budget? I work with our finance team in the UK office. We discuss what costs are like over here in states and from there set a budget.
- Does everyone in your company know the entire budget? No, in our office it is the general manager and the HR team that are aware of the budget.
- Does each department have the same budget? Or does it depend on the department? All departments are on the same budget. The only time we break up the budget by “department” is when a new hire comes on. Each team has a certain amount they can use for new hires. Otherwise the teams all share out the US office budget.
- What do you do when you go over budget? Does it depend how many times you overspend? We are a pretty small office. Our finance team is very controlled and it is very hard to break budget. Everything must be approved prior to being spent. Office supplies purchases under $100 are fine but anything above that requires an approval.
- How often does your company look at budgets? Everyday.
- How often does your company meet/reach budget goals? What does your company do to reach success or what do you believe is missing/lacking to reach budget goals? Everything must be approved before the money is spent. If it is not approved our finance team will typically come back with a better solution. This is what helps us to reach out budgeting goals and not over spend.
- What is the budget process in your company and what is your responsibility in that process? (For instance, senior managers and company owners create a plan first.) Each year spending is looked at. Every office must report every time they have made a purchase including hiring of someone. We look over those numbers and from their determine what the new budget for the new year should be. If there are issues we address them then. This is then communicated to all of HR on how the spending should be done.
- Does your company offer managers any incentives for reaching budget targets? What are the incentives or rewards? We do not offer these as the budget lies mainly with HR in our office. Managers only look to spend when hiring a new person but those are first approved. It makes it pretty difficult to go over budget.
- How many people are in charge of/have a say in setting a budget? Our Financial Controller, CFO, and our board.
- How do you prevent embezzlement? Limit the amount of people who have access to the budget/money. We also track everything and require a receipt for everything. We are looking at the bank accounts everyday. We would notice money missing.
- How often do you create a new budget? Do you adjust the current one or scrap it and start fresh each time? It varies year to year. It depends on what the company brought in and what was spent the previous year.
The staffing group assignment made me realize that it is easier to calculate to know what the staffing requirements are and allow everyone to self schedule. This is what my unit does when scheduling out our weeks. Having to schedule everyone’s schedule would be too difficult and time consuming. But opening up so many slots for certain nights based on trends allows the scheduler to have an easier time when putting shifts together. It also made me realize that meeting all criteria that is set for staffing (example: so many LPN’s per shift) may sometimes not work out the you would want it to and may need to staff more LPN’s or nurses based on the situation. But this would also depend on the number of LPN’s and nurses that are staffed for the unit. It may mean that hiring people to fill those gaps need to be done.
The career discussion posts brought a lot of insight on how to get to the ultimate career goals. It opened up new ideas like careers in nursing that I didn’t think about. It made me look in to ways to pay for education or explore other nursing careers. The one thing that I do know and realized is that to really know what it is that I want to do for a career is to look for opportunities to shadow someone in the career goal that I am considering. This will give me a better understanding if I would enjoy that profession or not. So this is something that I need to start doing soon.
Budgeting is not the funnest thing to do. Especially when budget cuts need to be done and tough decision need to be made like reducing staffing. If there is a way to cut cost through reducing the cost of supplies then that would be ideal as it won’t affect the livelihood of the employees. However, if the numbers show that an organization is overstaffed based on nurse to patient ratios or because of a reduction in budget then it has to be done. In the discussion posts activity, other team members wanted to keep just about everyone especially nurses and distribute the amount of hours that are budgeted evenly to everyone. Their reasoning behind it is to be loyal to them because of the hard work that they put in. This is understandable and I can see their point of view because no one likes to be laid off. However, if I was an employee that has been there for a long time and put in a position to have my hours reduced to share the budgeted hours with someone that has been working there for a month I would not feel that the company was being loyal to me. I think that it would be better to let people go, some my qualify for unemployment and they’ll have time to apply and go to job interviews.
Disciplining and firing employees is tough. Before the process is done having documentation, someone from HR, and if need be having security present will protect the employer from any harm, accusations, or potential law suit.
Firing or discipling an employee is never easy. The important things to do when firing or disciplining an employee is to make sure documentation is done and someone from HR is there to be a witness about the things that are said and done during the meeting. Having someone there as a witness makes it hard for a disgruntled employee to make accusations about what you said during the meeting or seek legal action. It is also important to know your employee and how they may react to being disciplined or fired. Having an idea about how they may react allows you the chance to get security if the situation calls for it.
Gabriela – BChannels
- How do you begin a meeting where you have to discipline an employee? We start off by explaining why the employee is in the meeting and why we need to take a disciplinary action.
- Do you usually conduct these interviews alone or with another staff member, like someone from HR? HR is always present as well the person’s line manager.
- Have you ever had to terminate someone without an initial write up or warning? No, for each person I’ve had to let go so far there was always at least 1 write up for something.
- What is your first step in discipline? A verbal warning, a write up, or does it depend on the action? It depends on the action. We have some actions that are immediate termination. Otherwise we try to start with a verbal warning but as I said it depends on the action so we could skip verbal and go to written.
- How do you prepare before disciplining an employee? The managers and HR will discuss the situation in a meeting prior to the one we have with the employee. HR usually looks up any additional information needed such as laws, etc.
- How do you prepare before terminating an employee? We prepare pretty much the same way as the above except we have their last paycheck ready. Depending on the employee it is possible we might have security on stand by. Thankfully we have never had to use this but its possible. We also give them a choice to come back and clean out their desk or if they are not a threat to the safety of the rest of the office we allow them to clean out their desk immediately.
- After disciplining an employee, how do you follow up with that employee? It depends on why they are being disciplined. If its for performance reasons we have a very thorough schedule as what they should be doing and when they need to do it by. They will meet with their managers to discuss this often. If it is behavioral, they will still meet with their managers often but we also watch what goes on in the office. We are a pretty small office so it is easy to keep an eye on everyone.
- Do you keep a written record of things that employees do during their employment that may build a case for termination? Yes, always. Anytime action needs to be taken we keep those documents in a file. It makes it easier if someone ever decides to file for wrongful termination
- In the meeting for termination, have you ever asked the employee being terminated to train their replacement or is that completely taboo? We have never asked that. I doubt anyone being let go would want to anyway. It is better to just let them that day anyway. As innocent as they may seem you just never know and we work with a lot of sensitive information. Taking that chance wouldn’t be wise.
- Have you ever made a mistake in the firing process and has it caused any trouble for you? No, firings are usually well thought out and talked about at least a week in advanced. Obviously if its for something that requires immediate termination we don’t have that much time. However, our process is pretty simple and we have lawyers that have looked over our documents so for now we have done well every time.
- Has anyone acted out in aggression when they were terminated? Yes, we once had to let a guy go who had been disciplined prior for behavioral reasons but we were terminating him for performance issues. He was civil in the meeting so we decided to allow him to collect his things. While he was collecting he started telling everyone around him how he had just been fired. His manager who only had worked for us for about a week or so started to escort him out. The employee then turned around and pointed his finger at several people and cursed at them loudly before we got him out the door.
- What do you do if you suspect someone might act out after being terminated? (Have security present; collect their belongings for them) We would have security present. We would then collect their belongings and mail it to them. We always take key cards immediately so they can’t reenter the office.
- Are you ever concerned about having to cover unemployment costs after firing an individual? This hasn’t happened very often. We are a smaller company and haven’t had to terminate often. Most employees leave on their own terms and have jobs lined up. It is not really a big concern.
- For what reasons would you/ have you terminated an employee? Usually it is due to behavioral issues or non-performance issues. Sometimes it is because of redundancies or budget cuts.
- How do you maintain an open and positive relationship with your employee when you need to discipline them? These are tough conversations but they have to happen. We do leave it open for them to ask questions about the procedures, etc. We try to be as positive as possible in the meeting but sometimes that’s a little difficult. No matter how you look at it, the news is not positive.