People are central to the success of any business. This is especially true for midwifery practice groups, where midwives depend on one another in intimate, emotional and sometimes trying situations. Effective teams have trust, communication, effective conflict management and shared philosophical and cultural approaches to care. Ineffective teams often have conflict and high worker turnover, which significantly affects workload, client care, revenue, and reputation.
Practice group owners (i.e., the sole proprietor, partners, or corporate directors) are responsible for managing or delegating the management of the practice group’s human resources to ensure that: the right people join; workers are provided with the resources and feedback they need; the team works together effectively; and departures are managed well.
Practices can use the AOM checklist to assess the way they manage human resources and identify areas for improvement. To effectively manage human resources, practices need to:
- Understand their legal relationships with each worker:
- Be clear about what legal category each workers falls into (partner, independent contractor, dependent contractor, or employee.
- Develop a partnership agreement with the advice of a lawyer that describes each of the critical elements of a partnership.
- Use non-expired agreements with independent contractors (e.g. associates, new registrants and second attendants) and employees (e.g. administrators).
- Be aware of legal obligations to these different kinds of workers as they relate to:
- Planning for human resource needs and how the practice will meet them, including skills assessment and succession planning.
- Implement recruitment practices that ensure the best possible fit between the practice and new workers, including:
- Accurate job descriptions
- Interesting advertisements
- Effective interviewing
- Reference and background checks
- Planning for compensation and benefits
- Contracting with successful applicants
- Develop strategies to keep quality workers engaged and prepared for their work through:
- Initial orientation when someone joins the practice
- Positive workplace environment and culture
- Continuous learning and professional development
- Feedback processes to support continuous improvement
- Maintaining the highest level of transparency in pay related matters
- Implement best practices when the working relationship inevitably comes to an end by:
- Planning for succession and continuity
- Complying with the practice’s legal obligations around involuntary termination (i.e.,firing) and fixed-term contracts
- Conducting exit interviews to learn from departures and make improvements for the future.