Every facility strives to build a group of high-performing professionals. But, the widespread use of technology and a global pandemic have increased the demand for remote work opportunities. In fact, some estimates believe that more than 60% of American employees have the option to work virtually. And, that number is only growing.
But, building a high-performing virtual team presents unique challenges. After all, when managing a virtual team you eliminate your face-to-face interactions, interrupt your culture, and introduce new technology. All bringing new challenges for your team and your managers.
The medical billing field isn’t immune to the changing demands for remote work opportunities. In early 2020, many facilities had to migrate non-patient-facing employees into virtual opportunities. Yet, many facilities continue to use traditional management methods designed for on-site employees. Leaving employees feeling disconnected, creating inefficiencies, and impacting your bottom line.
If you’ve had the opportunity to manage a virtual team or are dipping your toe into managing virtual employees, let’s review 6 tips to help you create a high-performing virtual team.
Tips for Managing A Remote Medical Billing Team
As a manager of a virtual team, you need to ask yourself how you will continue to motivate and inspire your team when you can’t be with them all the time. How will you communicate? How will you measure productivity? How will you stay connected on an individual and team level?
These are great questions that require you to identify and implement new strategies. So, not only are you no longer face-to-face, but now you need to consider changes in employee engagement, communication, and culture.
It can feel like a lot to take on! Let’s start by reviewing 6 tips to help you develop a high-performing virtual team of medical billers.
1. Communication is Key
Communication with your team is everything! You can no longer assume that how you communicated when you were in the office will work. It’s important to enable an open dialog with your team about how they receive communication best. Do they prefer a quick text message or online chat when you need something? Do they like to have an email to refer to later? Or, do they prefer to talk through questions over the phone or in a video chat?
Plus, don’t forget about yourself. What type of communication do you want from your team? Don’t be afraid to let them know your preferred communication method as well.
2. Set Clear Performance Expectations
Having clear performance expectations for your team will help you continue to drive results. Yet, it’s more than their job description. It’s important to think through your business goals and identify the right objectives and deliverables for each member of your virtual team.
Expectations might include how and when productivity will be measured, what their working hours will be, identifying standards, and impacts for poor performance.
The key is to be very clear about your (and the business) needs. And, set actionable, measurable performance indicators.
3. Meet Regularly
Just because you can’t have in-person meetings doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have meetings. In fact, a well-run, regularly occurring meeting can help your team stay on task, align to key objectives, and stay up-to-date on changing business demands.
How often you meet depends on the needs of your team. However, just because your team is virtual doesn’t mean you need more meetings. If you would have handled a topic over email in the past, keep it in email. Instead, consider having regularly scheduled meetings with standing agenda topics. And be sure to encourage employees to ask questions and share best practices during these times together.
4. Keep Remote Employees Engaged
A noticeable downside to working remotely is that employees can feel disconnected from their company, manager, and co-workers. Creating opportunities to interact remotely can resolve this.
- Try creating virtual chat rooms to enhance real-time collaboration.
- Incorporate opportunities for employees to share personal updates during team meetings.
- Recognize birthdays, anniversaries, or other important life events.
- Create an employee recognition program and reward top performers
With a little bit of planning, employees will be able to take advantage of the many benefits of telecommuting and still feel engaged and supported by their team.
5. Utilize Technology Tools and Apps
To set your virtual team up for success they need to have high-quality, reliable technology to do their job. Also, ensure that they have access to the applications and documentation needed. This will likely require some extra support from your IT team.
Work together to develop an IT infrastructure plan that helps ensure the tools your team needs are always available. Additionally, ensure your team knows how to engage with your IT team. They’ll need to work together on troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining any needed technology or applications.
You may also want to consider programs, tools, or platforms that can boost productivity and communication. There are several tools that can help improve communication with virtual teams. If you aren’t using one of these already, consider a few of these options:
- Trello helps you plan, manage, and track projects with a great deal of flexibility.
- Slack brings together multiple communication channels, documents, and more to a single point of reference.
- Skype or Zoom to enable video conferencing
6. Provide Continuing Education
When your team initially becomes virtual some training will likely be required. This can include how to access files, use new applications, or establish updated policies. These initial pieces of training should focus on the changes the employee will face. As well as provide a platform to ask questions.
Ongoing training is also important. Not only to help keep your employees educated on changing job requirements but also to help educate them on new tools, upgraded programs, or business changes.
Continuing education for your medical billing staff is a great opportunity to put your new technologies to use, share knowledge amongst team members, and build team culture.
Get Expert Assistance from MCA
MCA is a market leader for skilled nursing billing services. As a full-service Revenue Cycle Management company, we provide electronic claims submission to Medicare, Medicaid, and all commercial insurers.
MCA is here to help skilled nursing facilities advance their revenue cycle management. Contact us to learn about how MCA can help support your virtual medical billing team.