Associates in Hearing HealthCare - CQ Partners (formerly Consult)
Stanwood Hearing
October 7, 2020
Hearing Unlimited
December 7, 2020

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Associates in Hearing HealthCare:
Creating a culture of growth and engagement

A successful company culture requires meaningful work, high levels of engagement, and strong leadership. Jon Ayes, owner of Associates in Hearing HealthCare, and his team are the perfect example of how commitment, consistency, and accountability across the organization creates a company everyone is excited and proud to work for. Jon leads by example, setting the tone for a positive workplace culture defined by fairness, respect, and engagement. He prioritizes professional development and continuously boosts employee productivity through new and all-inclusive challenges and incentives. Jon shared with us the most effective strategies that have increased team morale, the importance of the Daily Huddle, and his goals for 2021. We also discussed CounselEAR’s new marketing automation program and something known as “The Fish! Philosophy.”

“When you lead by example, you create a picture of what's possible and you make it easy for others to follow you.”
Jon Ayes, Owner

Q&A with Jon Ayes, Owner:

1You’ve been doing the Daily Huddle for a long time. Tell us about how it works in your practice.
We do it first thing in the morning at 8:50 a.m., and we have a video chat with our second location, so everyone can see what we're looking at and talking about. We discuss the number of units sold each day, where we are for the month and the quarter, the number of units each provider has on trial, and the number of units they have on order. We also talk about the number of opportunities we have available and how many we have scheduled as well as our Third Party numbers for the month.
2What would you say are the greatest benefits of the Daily Huddle? What impact has it had on the practice?
The Huddle keeps the team focused and moving in the same direction. We've seen a daily success from our telemarketing and our FOP [Front Office Professional] in filling the opportunity blocks. They're aware of the number of units we have on order from the prior day as well as the number of units that have gone out on trial. So, it gives them a blueprint of where we're going to be until the end of the month. If you don't know where you're going on a daily basis, how can you get there in the end?
3Some practice owners struggle to get buy-in from their staff when it comes to the Huddle. What advice would you give them?
Be persistent. Initially, it was difficult for the staff to buy into it. They were very resistant because they didn't want to discuss numbers. Now that we’ve been doing the Huddle for about five years, everyone is open to it; it's embraced by the team. I give a little insight into where we are month-to-date, year-to-date, and quarter-to-date, so the team knows exactly where we are and where we're going. I don't share my revenue numbers, but I do share my percent of collections to goal. In addition, we have team members give a quote and the word of the day. So, they are vested in the running of the Huddle. I make everyone accountable. I think that's how we got more buy-in. When we first started doing the Huddle, it was just me speaking for five or seven minutes with no interaction from the rest of the team. But when you hold them accountable for their information, they must come prepared.
4What are some other methods you’ve used to increase employee engagement?
In addition to the weekly calls and quarterly trainings the providers and front office staff have with our Consult Account Manager, we do monthly, quarterly, and annual staff meetings. I also incentivize the team with quarterly bonuses to push for the best quarter and reach our monthly goal. The FOPs have a Third Party bonus. I just started my Telemarketer with a bonus based upon the number of direct mail screenings she can fill. When we had a great quarter last year, I took the team out on a dinner cruise. If we fit a predetermined number of hearing aids one month and exceed that, then it's dinner at the restaurant of their choice. They seem to really enjoy it. I don't limit where we go—it’s up to them. We have a good time and it's definitely a good morale builder. I also do a summer barbecue at my home for the team and their family members.
5You’re also a believer in another employee engagement technique. Tell us about that.
About a year ago, we incorporated the “Fish! Philosophy” into the practice and we do a quote of the day as well as a word of the day, defining the attitude that we want to choose to work with that day. Every Friday, keeping with the fish philosophy, we give a plush fish to the staff member that has gone above and beyond for the week. The person who nominated that employee will talk about why they chose that person and, at the end of the quarter, the staff member with the most fishes receives a crown and a gift card. We have the fishbowls in our lunchroom and on a weekly basis, we'll see who's where, and there's a little contest at the end. It keeps everyone moving in the right direction and helps morale.
6What impact has creating a total office opportunity mindset had on the practice?
It keeps everyone on the same page. Everyone matters and is a vital part of the team—there’s no “I” in team. It makes everyone better together. And the office has grown over the last two years. I’m looking forward to keeping the growth up as we build the team and make it stronger. Every team has its ups and downs, but we have a good one here and they all have the same goals in mind.
7Tell us about your decision to move your Front Office Professional (FOP) to a Practice Development Representative (PDR) role and how it’s helped bring in more qualified opportunities.
My PDR has been in her role for about two years now and she's doing a fantastic job. It was a great decision on my part. I think it was beneficial that she was a front office person for about two years before we made the move, from the standpoint that she understood how we do things. She's very passionate about helping people hear better and she exudes that passion when she's speaking to the physicians she calls. She has a great rapport with a lot of our referring physicians. That’s building our qualified referral base. She also holds my providers accountable for the patients that are referred from the physician's offices, questioning the outcomes, then making sure they're scheduled and that the follow-up calls are being done. So, it's a win-win.
8You recently adopted CounselEAR’s new marketing automation program. How has it been going?
It's great. The patient responses have been terrific. The setup was pretty easy and it’s another great way to stay in touch with our database.
9What three qualities are most important when it comes to effectively leading a team?
I would say, number one, the most important would be communication. Everyone needs to be present at all times. They need to know exactly what's going on and how we want to proceed. Number two, consistency is key. All my providers and front office staff know that. Number three would be: lead by example. When you lead by example, you create a picture of what's possible and you make it easy for others to follow you.
10Would you say that one of the ways you lead by example is by helping your staff call Tested Not Sold (TNS) patients?
That’s correct. I make two or three a week and then deal with any of the other patient-related issues that come up. So, I'm in constant touch with the patients in the database and my providers. They know where to find me.
11What’s one accomplishment from this year that you’re especially proud of and something you’re hoping to accomplish in 2021?
Wow, tough question! Looking back at the beginning of 2020, I was able to cut my expenses early on during the shutdown and have been able to maintain that. This has been a very challenging year, as we all know, so I take that as a win. In 2021, I will continue to keep our expenses tight. Right before COVID hit, we were also starting a ‘home visit’ program which we’ll be getting back to.