What Does Your Staff Want from You?
Kelly H. Buchheit
As a medical professional, you probably have a clear idea of what you want from your staff, but do you know what they want from you? Finding the answers to this question can be highly beneficial for the long-term stability and profitability of your medical practice.
Related Read: How To Strengthen Staff Culture After a Challenging Few Years
Top Ten common wants
What any staff wants tends to vary based on the size and specialty of the practice, as well as other factors. Here are ten common “wants” of many medical staffs:
- Timeliness and Efficiency
Many practices work on what is jokingly referred to as “Doctor Standard Time.” If a physician is constantly late to arrive for work or has difficulties keeping on schedule while at work, then it can negatively impact the staff.
- Open Communication
Everyone has a distinct communication style, but no one is a mind reader. Your staff wants to know specifically what you want done and what changes are coming to how the practice operates. This is not to suggest that you should micromanage your staff. Rather, you should provide an open line of communication so that staff members can interact with you and the other physicians freely, without fear of judgment or reprimand if questions arise.
- Consistent, Honest Feedback
No one likes criticism, but employees want to know whether you are happy with what they are doing. Praise can be effective when warranted, and criticism should be expressed politely and professionally.
- To be Treated with Respect
The members of your staff are not just replaceable cogs in a machine. They are your team. Sadly, many employee surveys find that many, or even most, staff members do not feel like they get enough respect for doing their jobs. There are multiple components to respect, including: Diversity and inclusion; constructive criticism; equal opportunity; and respectful communication.
- To be Trained Appropriately
All too often, medical practices throw new hires into the deep end and expect them to swim on their own. It is vital to have formal onboarding and training programs for new employees and ongoing training for existing employees.
- Clear Expectations
Employees want to clearly understand what is expected of them. One good way to start is by crafting a carefully worded mission statement for your practice. Then, communicate how each team member can help fulfill that mission. They need to grasp the importance of their respective roles and be given the tools to appropriately meet goals and expectations.
- Appreciation for a Job Well Done
Regularly identify and publicly recognize notable achievements by staff members. Doing so can be as simple as saying, “Thank you, great job!” at a meeting.
- Fair and Competitive Wages
When selecting wage ranges for your staff, are you aware of what your competitors are paying? Have you checked wage benchmarks with professional organizations? The Department of Labor, as well as state governments, also offer data on standard pay rates. Ideally, you want to pay enough to attract and retain good employees while leaving room for raises. One key to setting fair wages is to choose job titles and write comprehensive job descriptions that thoroughly list the duties and objectives of each position.
- Lead by Example
You probably won’t get staff to perform at their absolute best unless you do the same. Always bear in mind that everything you do filters down to how the practice operates. As the saying goes: Walk the walk and talk the talk.
- Accountability for Mistakes
Generally speaking, the right way to apologize at work is to acknowledge the mistake without focusing on your initial intentions and take corrective action based on what you learned.
Related Read: Navigating an Understaffed Workforce
The right stuff
Keeping these ten points in mind should help you attract, hire and retain the best people to keep your medical practice thriving. For more specific direction, implement an employee survey and act on the issues raised.
If you would like more information, contact Kelly Buchheit at [email protected] or 312.670.7444. Visit ORBA.com to learn more about our Health Care Group.