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Describe three roles of the human resources department in a major hospital without including hiring or firing of personnel. Discuss why quality improvement and standard operating procedures are enforced in the human resources group. Provide supporting references for your response.



Management Corner

Companies Typically
Underinvest in Managers
A Dozen Ways to Invest in Yourself

W e all know managers do crucial work. They shape culture, improve employee performance, drive creativity and innovation. And yet, fewer
training dollars are typically earmarked for managers
than for people at other levels. This makes little sense,
but don’t despair, says David Deacon. There’s a lot that
you, the individual manager, can do to improve your
effect on those you lead and on the company.

“I’m not saying you don’t need training in the tech-
nical skills of management,” says Deacon, author of
The Self-Determined Manager: A Manifesto for Exceptional
People Managers. “Of course, you do. But what makes a
great manager has far more to do with your attitude
than anything else.”

“While you may not get to choose the training your
company invests in, you can choose your attitude,” he
adds. “You can choose your intention. In this way, you
invest in yourself.”

“While you may not get to choose the
training your company invests in, you
can choose your attitude,” he adds.

“You can choose your intention. In this
way, you invest in yourself.”

Attitude and intention. Deacon says they are the
cornerstones of becoming what he calls a self-deter-
mined manager—one who constantly and intention-
ally creates environments of over-achievement, where
people thrive and produce great work.

“Bad managers are so focused on their own needs,
or their own fears, or their own performance that
they lose sight of the negative, unproductive, demoti-
vating, or destructive environment they are creating,”
he says. “It’s like they think it happens accidentally.

On the other hand, the best managers intentionally
choose the environment they hope to create.”

Making this deliberate and intentional choice is the
most powerful thing you can do to become an exceptional
manager. Everything else you do will flow from this
decision, and, without question, you’ll be a better
manager regardless of any skills training your com-
pany may or may not offer. That said, here are a
dozen pieces of advice from Deacon.

Get hyper-focused on the power of amplifica-
tion. By virtue of being a manager, your words and
actions are amplified. You cannot stop this, because
it is inherent in the way organizations are shaped.
Every pronouncement you make may be repeated
many times by your direct reports, every action
you take may be emulated many times, and every
expectation you set will be reflected in the work of
your team. Amplification can be good or bad, so
make sure that you remain aware of how anything
you are “putting out there” is being received and

Set your own standards (and make them high!).
Self-determined managers never look outside them-
selves for the standards of their work. So, set your own
very high standards and strive to live up to them as far
as possible. You are the one who defines profession-
alism and sets benchmarks—and when you do this,
you will be recognized as a role model. Remember,
however, that recognition is a by-product, not a goal.
Your intention should be to do a great job because
that is the point.

If you need training in a certain area, ask for it.
There are certain things all managers need to be able
to do: give feedback, coach employees, hold tough
conversations, communicate clearly, manage time
and tasks, and so forth. If you’re lacking in a critical
area—and, yes, you’re most likely aware of this—ask
for training. If your company can’t or won’t provide



it, you must seek it out yourself. Be proactive about
developing the skills that will help you create the best
environment possible for your team.

Start treating employees like adults. Work is not
school. Adults do their best work when they are
treated as adults. Therefore, great managers don’t
bully, shout, patronize, belittle, name-call, behave
aggressively, or condescend. To generate trust and
respect, you must create an environment where adults
can do great things.

Stop playing favorites. Some managers give
certain people time and attention, but offer little
contact or guidance to others, based on personal
preferences rather than business or project rea-
sons. Those in favor can do no wrong regardless of
how much (or little) they do or the quality of their
work. Those out of favor learn to moderate their
efforts and simply do enough to stay out of trou-
ble. The result? People direct their efforts toward
staying in favor; there is no focus on performing
well. Resist any urge to have favorites among your

Be more restless. Each week ask yourself and
your team: What can we do better? The best manag-
ers have impatience (if something is worth doing,
why wait?), an instinct for continuous improvement
(good enough is never good enough), and a linger-
ing sense of constructive dissatisfaction (how can
we do this better next time?). They set themselves
and others very high standards of performance and

“This demanding impatience for ever-greater
impact and ever-higher standards can make self-de-
termined managers very difficult to work for,” admits
Deacon. “Just be sure to always balance the high
expectations with encouragement and a positive

Have a plan in mind for your people. The best
managers have a good sense of where they believe
each of their people should be headed. For each
employee, look forward and ponder three thoughts:
1. Where might they be in a few years’ time: perhaps
a bigger job, a different role, or a larger team? 2. Do
you have a clear view of what they need to learn now
and what they need to learn next that will support
their future growth? 3. Do you have a sense of respon-
sibility and accountability for helping them make that

“With great managers, the plan is mainly in their
heads, and they can tell you instantly what it is,” says
Deacon. “Not in the language of career frameworks
and competency models, but in words that show what
they see and appreciate and hope for and worry about
for each of their people.”

Manage your own energy. Self-determined man-
agers know that maintaining their energy and enthu-
siasm is their own responsibility. Pay attention to
your energy levels and develop habits that help you
sustain them. Focus on fitness, nutrition, and stress
management and be alert to signs of burnout, to
taking on too much (or too little), and to giving
yourself breaks.

“Remember, one of the most powerful outcomes
of maintaining your energy is how it enables you to be
positive,” says Deacon. “If you feel good, you will show
it and transmit it!”

Learn something new. Take a class, master a new
skill, even take up a new hobby outside work. The best
managers are interested, curious, open, and alert.
They are forever seeking knowledge. This extends
far beyond their professional work and reflects their
interests, passions, pastimes, and preoccupations.

“First, thinking ‘widely’ opens possibilities by help-
ing you foster connections, recognize new opportuni-
ties, and find better ways to do things,” says Deacon.
“Secondly, broad knowledge and curiosity make you
adaptable; a key part of career success is about apply-
ing what you have learned in new situations.”

Learn to like the people you work with (even the
unlikeable ones). If you deal with someone who is
unlikeable, find something to appreciate about them.
First, it changes the nature of all interactions and
maximizes the chance that you’ll be successful. You
get a less cooperative, less inventive, and less engaged
relationship with someone you do not like. Secondly,
it furthers the chance that your team members will
overlook your unlikeable qualities and focus on your
best traits as well. Finally, everyone responds well to
being treated well.

Figure out why the work of the team matters and
articulate this to them. Without a sense of purpose,
it’s hard for people to make a greater effort, direct
their energies, and self-correct. Furthermore, they
will struggle to relate their actions to their employer’s
performance, substituting instead other purposes,



such as pleasing their boss or doing only work that
interests them.

Don’t expect perfection but do keep working
toward it. It’s virtually impossible to be self-deter-
mined 24/7, says Deacon, especially when you lose
your focus because other things get in the way. Maybe
your boss makes an unreasonable request or creates a
firestorm you must pay attention to, or the CEO is cre-
ating a negative environment, or you have a problem
in your personal life. These kinds of things happen
to everyone—even self-determined managers. During
these times, it’s important to stay conscious and deter-
mined, catch people doing things right, articulate
clearly, and find meaning and purpose to transmit to
your people.

“Until you believe that you are worth investing
in, you can’t be a self-determined manager,” says

Deacon. “Decide right now that you not only deserve
to become the best manager you can possibly be, but
that you are capable of reaching this achievement on
your own. Once you do this, you’ll be unstoppable.”

Reader’s ResourceReader’s Resource
David Deacon is the author of The Self-Determined
Manager: A Manifesto for Exceptional People
Managers. He has been a human resources pro-
fessional for over thirty years and passionate
about how managers manage for almost as long.
Recognized by the Best Practice Institute as a
“Best Organizational Practitioner” in 2014, he
continues to lead world-class talent management
approaches in the companies where he works.
For more information, please visit www.selfdeter-
minedmanager.com. ■

Front Office Role in
Reimbursement Remains

B    eyond being the positive, helpful public face of   your facility or practice, the front desk or access staff has a big role in the reimbursement process. One of
the important objectives, as noted in the previous article
by HealthWide Solutions, is pursuing co-pays, deductibles,
and noncovered service fees at the time of service.

If your staff understands its role in reimbursement,
it’s far more likely to perform it well. Even though
your billers actually use the information, your desk
staff must understand it enough to know why it’s
important. Your manager or lead biller could lead a
lunch-hour training session on the topic.

Back in the days of the $2 co-pay, you could argue
that it wasn’t financially worth the effort to collect
those small amounts—even though your managed
care contract obligates you to do so. But co-pays
are rising steadily as insurers and employers try to
partially offset rising health insurance costs. There’s

nothing unusual about $20 or higher primary care
co-pays or more for specialists. If a primary care doc-
tor sees two managed care patients per hour, even
a $10 co-pay translates to $25,000 yearly revenue.

Also, once you train your staff to pursue these amounts—
and your patients to expect the effort—they’re fairly easy to
collect. You’ll still hear some of those I-don’t-have-my-wallet-
with-me excuses from some patients, but most will allow
such an embarrassing situation to occur only once.

Instructing your staff to tactfully insist on payment
trains patients to see you only when they really need
care. It sends your staff the message that these dollars
matter too. Also, don’t forget about those “non-covered
services” that aren’t part of your managed care contracts.

Collection Tools
Give your staff the tools to collect. That means your

front desk people may need cash in some settings, and



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