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May 22, 2014

Combating a Future of Poor Bedside Manner

When you hear the term “bedside manner,” you probably think about the medical profession. The term refers to how doctors and other medical professionals interact and communicate with their patients.  Reflected in the attitude of any doctor is the time crunch they now feel as a result of more patients needed to be seen in the effort to meet financial goals.

Read any article on bedside manner, and you will immediately see connections to other professional services industries.  The public accounting industry is no different. We need to exude patience and empathy while offering exceptional client service in an environment of ever changing regulations and compliance issues. For purposes of this post, the focus will be on the manager-staff relationship.  A manager with a poor bedside manner may actually cause staff to be less engaged and less inclined to develop a solid career.  

It is critical for managers to embrace the personnel development side of their responsibilities. Managers who do not listen, or are abrupt, arrogant or dismissive with their staff will result in staff missing out on critical information and learning opportunities. This type of behavior only leads to a team unresponsive and unwilling to listen to your needs. 

Positive interactions create an environment where engagement is fostered.  Thus, in addition to developing solid technical skills in our young CPAs, we must also focus on displaying and developing strong soft skills. Poor relationship management today will lead to a generation of poor bedside manner in the future. So, where do we begin to end this vicious cycle? 

At CBIZ, we offer two distinct programs (Associate Professional Development and Senior Professional Development) to help smooth the transition of associates from school to the professional world, and from there, we ensure they have an understanding of the expectations of their role. Recognition of the core values and competencies expected and rewarded within a workplace helps the associate gain knowledge of the potential career opportunities available. Employee engagement and career development are arguably more important in the overall production and retention of staff than the understanding of regulations and compliance. Moving forward, technical skills will take a backseat to these soft skills, and management must recognize this distinction in order to thrive in their careers as well as help staff flourish in their own.

Moira House is the Director of Human Resources for the Memphis office of CBIZ MHM. She manages all aspects of HR including strategic planning, compliance, employee relations, performance management, recruiting and day-to-day administration. Contact her by email at mhouse@cbiz.com or by phone at (901) 685-5575.


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