Gone are the days when employers could decree when and how employees work. Employees control the narrative now. They demand more, they have higher expectations and when their needs aren’t met, they don’t roll over complacently. They change things. How does this dynamic play out in your practice?  

Changes in today’s workforce world are all employee-driven. While plenty of companies are jumping on board and meeting their employees in the arena as part of their team some are choosing to be on the opposing team.

This is not a fight that you want to lose, it will be violent and catastrophic.

Quiet Quitting and Burnout
If you are on any social platform, you’ve probably seen “Quiet Quitting” trending recently.

Suddenly, it seems everyone is talking about it. Quiet quitting isn’t about employees leaving their jobs; it’s about them setting boundaries to prevent burnout or reclaim their lives. This is often done as a response to being expected to work longer hours and take on more work.

Employees are tired. They are fighting back against employers who expect them to do more. Some employers may think this is unfair pressure or underhanded tactics as they face a hiring crisis of epic proportions at a time they are short on staff.

However, loading your current employees up with more work may make your situation worse. You may cause even more employees to leave while gaining a reputation for overworking your staff.

Work-Life Balance, or Life-Work Balance?
Instead of fighting your employees tooth and nail, consider what they are asking for, and how providing them with the balance and the boundaries they crave could boost productivity and be beneficial to your organization.

You may be used to having employees who dedicate themselves to long hours and spend time socially with colleagues outside work hours but that has all changed. And in hindsight, was their work truly better?

The pandemic shifted at a foundational level how people view work as part of their lives, and it isn’t about work-life balance anymore, where ‘work’ takes pride of place. Instead, people are turning to life-work balance, re-imagining and re-engineering how work fits around their lives rather than their lives fitting around their work.

With the state of the labour market right now, with demand far outstripping supply, employees have the power to do this. Across North America right now, there are more than 12 million jobs that need to be filled. It’s a seller’s market and if an employee feels like their boundaries are not respected, they will simply choose to take their talents elsewhere.

Like all of us, they want to spend time with family and friends, improve their physical and mental health, and lead balanced lives where they can very happily work hard in the allotted time, and then move on to other things, guilt-free.

If they cannot do that while working at your company, they’ll be out the door faster than you can say “but…”.

Working With Employees
Those of us who are of a certain age may still hear our fathers’ voice ringing in our ears: “you should damn well be happy to have a job. You don’t have to love it. Suck it up and get on with it”.

That was a common paradigm a generation ago. One that, for better or worse, has gone the way of the dinosaur.

It’s time for a new paradigm to emerge, one where the power is no longer master-servant, but more balanced. When someone feels an affinity with their role because it fits them, where they feel respected and where they can contribute satisfyingly, they will naturally be much happier, more engaged, and more productive during working hours. This results in higher quality work, a better work environment, and overall better engagement among employees.

Engaged employees with set boundaries don’t need to work extra overtime hours to get things done because they can complete their work during working hours.  

By respecting boundaries and allowing your team members to manage life-work balance, you create the kind of environment more people want to work in. Your associates feel respected and satisfied, their quality of work reflects this, and you get the reputation of a great employer. Suddenly something that started as a scary trend doesn’t seem so bad.

This post is sponsored by EyePloyment.com and Fit First Technologies

Learn more.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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“There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.”
– Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

Your employees may be qualified for their jobs, and full of potential, but they can still use encouragement from you, their boss, to take initiative.

Recently, I walked into the exam room and noticed a new paper towel dispenser. Our previous model had a tendency to get jammed, either producing a wad of too many towels or shreds of not enough. But this new contraption was motion sensitive, delivering a perfect single sheet on command. A little thing, sure, but nice. Sure enough, the other exam rooms had new dispensers, and so did the bathrooms. Assuming my husband and partner had ordered them, I thanked him for the upgrade. But he shook his head and said it was our new office manager who had ordered them and installed them. And she did that all…unprompted.

When I thanked her, she shrugged and said that she noticed it was a problem and fixed it. Not to be dramatic, but this display of action made my heart swell. Because doesn’t it seem so hard to find employees who take the initiative on their own? Motivated employees who look for ways to help outside their normal job duties is an attribute that can turn a decent employee into an amazing asset. Do certain people simply possess this personality trait? Or is there a way we can train our employees to take the initiative?

Defining Initiative
“Work behavior characterized by its self-starting nature, its proactive approach and by being persistent in overcoming difficulties that arise in pursuit of a goal,” is how researchers Michael Frese and Doris Fay define initiative. In other words, to show initiative, you do things without being told. You act instead of react. If you want employees who can think on their feet and take unprompted action, here are a few guidelines to help develop initiative.

Foster a Supportive Environment with Open Communication
Employees need to feel comfortable in their work space. They need to feel like they are part of a team. As a leader, the boss may have more experience and knowledge, but employees need to understand that their input is valued. Make an effort to let employees know you’re excited to hear their thoughts. Create a process for employees to submit ideas even if time for a face-to-face meeting is limited. If an employee knows their boss is supportive, they will be more willing to take steps without constant verbal approval.

Encourage Safe Failure
It takes courage to show initiative, especially if the employee fears their superior will disagree with their actions or suggestions. If employees work in a practice where the doctors are always micro-managing them, they will be averse to taking new action without supervision. Motivate employees to take action with continual support and encouragement. Let employees know that after they are fully trained, they have the go-ahead to make decisions within their job description to address problems. Then, once they successfully handle a sticky issue, or take the initiative to fix something on their own, compliment them. Successful endeavors provide a learning experience and will build confidence.

Let your employees know that taking the initiative doesn’t always involve solving problems. Initiative also involves looking for ways to help. For example, if there is a stack of referral letters that need to be scanned, an employee who accomplishes that task without being asked to do so should be praised. Sometimes a simple thank you is enough to teach that initiative is expected and appreciated.

Educate Your Employees How to Spot Opportunities and Potential Improvement
Employees who show initiative do so by identifying opportunities that their colleagues have missed, and then act upon those opportunities. Instruct your team to be on the lookout for areas within your practice that could use improvement. Tell employees to think about the following:

What would our patients want us to improve?
What small problems could grow into bigger ones if left unchecked?
What slows our work flow or makes it more difficult?
What is frustrating or irritating within our office to either the patients or the staff?

Tell your team to look for these things, and once identified, recognize them not as problems, but opportunities to improve and grow.

Employees should be encouraged to take initiative to resolve problems or improve quality of service within your practice.

Some people innately take initiative, but others need to be gently prodded, taught and rewarded for taking risks they may fear. When employees are independently resourceful, even in small ways, take time to recognize and commend the effort, and hopefully that will set forth a path for all employees to take extra steps for the benefit of the entire practice.


How do you empower employees to take the initiative? How do you help employees feel safe enough to follow their instinct in making your practice better?


is a partner with Jabaley Eye Care in Blue Ridge, Ga. Contact: jabaleyjennifer@yahoo.com


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