The Top 10 HR Challenges We All Face & How to Handle Them Like a Pro

10/01/2019 | HR Issues


Unlike large corporations or health systems, most OMS offices don’t have access to massive human resources departments staffed with experts and specialists. The burdens can fall on the shoulders of administrators who find themselves ill-equipped in one or more ways to handle these situations. 

There’s no time to feel helpless when faced with yet another HR challenge in your office, whether you’ve got one or multiple practices to oversee. Here are a few simple solutions and suggestions for some of the most common HR challenges for OMS offices. 

1) Hiring/Recruitment

Hiring, recruitment, and retention. Do these sound familiar? When you’re running or working within a small organization, you’ve got to work extra hard to find the right employees and keep them happy. Situations like these are easier to manage when you’ve got a department or even a separate HR director dedicated to handling human resource matters so you can create your dream team. Even if you’re office has an HR director, no matter how skilled or knowledgeable they are, they aren’t an expert in all areas of human resources, and they’ll need help too! 

Every OMS administrator has struggled when it comes to facing everything from:

– Handling day-to-day issues

– Making sure the office is adhering to all regulations and requirements

– Avoiding situations that might be risky for your office or your partners  

2) Fair/Equal Pay

Your office must maintain fair and equal pay policies, but that can mean a lot of work for just one person. In a larger health care organization, there are usually policies in place where pay is mathematically calculated based on your experience and your education. But on a smaller level, it can be left up to OMS administrators to make sure you’re paying attention to every job offer and accompanying pay rates. For example, you don’t want to find yourself with one surgical assistant who makes $3.00 more than another surgical assistant. This is a risky situation that leaves you open for a discrimination or favoritism labor complaint filed against you, and no one wants that. 

3) Comparing Locations (Don’t Do It)

This tip is geared explicitly towards OMS administrators in charge of multiple locations. One important human resource tips you’ll always need is to avoid comparing the locations or their employees to each other. You’ve got to be extremely careful how much attention you give to each location and the people who work there. Pitting them against one another and unfittingly comparing employees could spell a recipe for a big HR disaster.

4) Family Leave

By now, we’re sure you’re all familiar with the Family Medical Leave Act. Have you ever had any issues? If we worked in a hospital or health system setting, having an employee take intermittent family medical leave doesn’t deliver a huge blow to the team. But in a smaller, more intimate clinical setting where you have ten employees with particular roles and duties, you’re going to feel the impact of their absence.

It’s essential to be familiar with the regulations before going over the reason for your FMLA request. Does it meet the requirements of the law? Are you doing everything appropriately in terms of granting or denying their request? Family leave can be tricky; there’s no doubt about that. You end up with an added burden of having an employee who may or may not have a legitimate FMLA claim, plus the need for attorney assistance to avoid being taken advantage of. 

5) Team Drama 

Have you ever thought your “team” drama is more like “teen” drama? Having an employee or team member that’s causing problems isn’t something you can let linger. Do you have someone who likes to talk about how much they make? Is there an employee who likes to spill the tea and gossip? Don’t let it lay and hope it goes away. Face the person, tell them what you’re hearing, and make them aware of the consequences of their negative actions. If you don’t call them out on their bad behavior, it can create even bigger internal issues.

6) Employee Disciplinary Actions

This is a tricky HR subject, especially if you have a practice in one or more states that are particularly litigious. However, when someone is causing issues at your OMS office, you can only go so far before it reaches a point where you have to consider termination. This is where you must be careful with how you terminate someone and the supporting documentation you have to do so. You don’t want to run the risk of ending up in court.

7) Lawsuits 

Making sure you’re following all HR regulations all the time is a big part of an HR director’s job. When you don’t have one, this task can be mind-numbing. Even a seasoned HR director needs guidance when hit with a lawsuit. This is another instance where your practice should have a trusted attorney on standby for honest legal advice. (More about this later.)

8) Grounds for Dismissal

Sure, it’s fun to hire new faces, but the flip side is that sometimes you have to let an employee go. This is where, from an HR standpoint, you need to have clear cut grounds for dismissal. These rules should be strictly enforced and apply to everyone. Your office may handle things differently, but some of the most common grounds for dismissal can be:

Attendance – This should be one of the biggest factors for you. Holding people accountable for showing up to work every day, on time is very important. It’s also the easiest way to let an employee go. If you don’t come to work, you won’t have a job. It’s that simple. 

Failure in Job Responsibilities – Always keep job descriptions updated as responsibilities change with time. When you have an employee who is consistently not performing at the level you expect them to, you can refer back to their job description and how they fit into fulfilling company goals.

Documented History – One of the riskiest things you can do (in any state) is terminate someone without evidence or a documented history of their issues at work. Maybe you have doctors who are fed up with any employee for continually making mistakes. Perhaps patients aren’t showing up for appointments because they didn’t receive a reminder. As an OMS administrator and HR person, you have to document these sorts of issues. Without the proper documentation, you could be setting your practice up for trouble down the road. 

Unemployment – While every state is different, documentation is also vital for unemployment claims. Depending on the reason someone was let go from your office, they can file for unemployment. To make your claim against them, you’ll need to provide your state with evidence showing why the person was terminated, past disciplinary actions, ways you tried to help them, etc.

9) Damage Control

Another not-so-fun HR duty you might be tasked with is damage control. This can occur both internally and externally. If your office is facing a big issue or lawsuit, there’s a chance it’s going to affect your employees and how they see your business. Take some time to reassure your team that they have every reason to take pride in working for your office. No one wants to see their employer being bad-mouthed in the media or by other people. With that being said, you might need to do some damage control when speaking with recruits. Word spreads, and they’re probably going to address situations like this during their interview. It’s up to you to show them there are two sides to every story and redeem your reputation. 

10) Find An Attorney Who Knows HR (Today)

We’ve mentioned having an attorney earlier on, but you must understand just how valuable they can be. There are so many human resources problems that can occur, and your number one priority should always be to protect your practice. And remember this: Even HR directors aren’t experts, they need counsel too. So, don’t feel bad that you need some help. While having an attorney might be an additional financial burden your OMS office needs to bear, it’s 100 percent worth it. 

Is there something we discussed here that you’d like to learn more about? Do you have more HR questions you need help with ASAP? Keep checking our blog and our member forum for more helpful ways you can improve your human resources efforts in your OMS office. Reach out to us if you’re still stuck, and we’ll find someone who can help!