Create a Winning Employee Culture

Keeping your staff engaged is critical to the success of your practice, whether you have just a handful of employees or dozens. You want your employees to be happy at work, productive, and provide nothing but the best experience for your patients.

Between heightened patient expectations, a competitive job market, and the rise of the millennial workforce, creating a culture that fosters employee satisfaction and engagement is important. Doing so will require a continuous effort and strategic direction on your part.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of employee engagement and how to do it effectively. 

Why you should care about employee engagement

Why is employee engagement so relevant today? With patients advocating for their own healthcare more than ever and expectations at an all-time high, it’s critical to consider what contributes to those expectations, starting with the interactions patients have with your staff – whether they are in your office for an appointment or talking with a staff member via phone call or email. One negative experience can be enough to cause that patient to abandon your practice and seek help elsewhere.

Engaged employees are proven to be more satisfied with their jobs, more productive, and ultimately better serve your patients. They are also more likely to be loyal to your practice and stay in the long term, saving you money in the hiring process. The cost of employee turnover is estimated to be 1.5-2 times an employee’s salary.

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What does today’s workforce look like?

The current workplace looks much different than in decades previous, with baby boomers, millennials, and Generations X and Z all working together. Each generation comes with different desires and goals for their work. While older generations are more accustomed to traditional work environments, younger, more entry-level employees are driven by having a strong sense of purpose.

The rise of the millennial workforce is compelling businesses to make cultural changes. This group, like no other before them, want to enjoy their job and be passionate about what they do. Generally speaking, they’re motivated by idealism and seek meaning in their work – and will choose a job that proves them this over one with a higher salary.  

Don’t view the shift in personnel as an obstacle; instead, use it as an opportunity for everyone to collaborate and learn from one another. Every person on your team has a unique background and a unique point of view to bring to the table. Millennials and Generation Z are digitally engaged and follow current trends, which you can leverage to your benefit for promoting your practice. 

How to effectively engage employees

Considering the significance of office culture and the diversity of your staff, how do you effectively engage, empower, and support employees to provide exceptional patient experiences? 

1. Establish core values

What does your business stand for? Organize a formal mission statement and subsequent goals that inform the work you and your staff do every day. This statement should include who you are serving, how you are serving them, and why. Every person involved in your business should know and live by that mission, and as a result will feel more invested – creating an all-around more positively-charged environment.

2. Map patient experience

Understanding the care continuum allows your team to work toward your mission, keep patients at the center of everything they do, and take ownership in how they contribute to the patient experience. If your practice is broken into different specialties, educate employees about the relevance of each and encourage them to continue educating one another. A better grasp and appreciation of the patient journey will only strengthen the relationship between staff and patients. 

3. Document processes

Let’s pose a common scenario: person A and person B both work at the front desk of your practice. Person A has been there longer and knows all the tricks and workarounds of the job, while person B was recently hired. Without notice, person A falls ill and is out of the office for a full week, leaving person B to take on full front desk responsibilities. Are the aforementioned workarounds and processes written down somewhere for person B’s reference? Or is person B left to sink or swim? Without documentation, new employees have to play a guessing game, causing stress, anxiety, and corner cutting. On the other hand, employees feel supported and confident when they are well-trained on how to perform their daily tasks and know where to find answers if they are unsure. 

4. Hold regular staff meetings

Gathering the entire staff consistently promotes internal discussion and bolsters the community within your practice. In these meetings, set an agenda that includes sharing business updates and recent wins, answering common questions, and leaving time for open conversation between employees. This provides the opportunity for people to ask questions, express concerns, or offer solutions they may not otherwise be able to share. Building relationships with their colleagues and feeling their voices are heard will only make your employees more devoted to contributing to the success of your business. 

5. Invest in your people

Part of human nature is the pride that goes along with being recognized for hard work and achievements. At the end of the day, your employees are working for you and want to perform well for you – acknowledge that whenever you can. Positive reinforcement encourages repeated behaviors and motivates other employees to perform at their best. Companies that practice employee recognition see a 90% impact on employee engagement. Offering opportunities for professional development, including networking events or training courses, also inspires your staff to work harder and better for you while contributing to their growth.

6. Have some fun

You should be taking steps to improve engagement and overall culture on a daily basis, but there are other fun ways to boost morale and rally your team. Seasonal events, like holiday or summer parties, and regular office happy hours are a fun way to get people out and encourage them to develop relationships outside of the office. Including patients for patient appreciation events are another great way for staff to get to know them personally. You can download our “Checklist for Your Patient Appreciation Event in the Era of COVID-19” here.

7. Give back

Finally, assemble your team around a cause. Whether it’s volunteering at a food shelter once a quarter, holding a toy drive during the holidays, or starting a GoFundMe for a local initiative – encourage the entire staff to participate. Practicing teamwork and working together toward a positive change will leave everyone feeling proud and invigorated.

Create a meaningful employee culture, little by little

A more engaged workforce is happier, more productive, and therefore better suited to serve your patients’ needs any time they call or visit your office.

There are endless ways – both big and small – to engage your employees beyond the demands of their job and help them be their best every day. Put a realistic plan together, stay committed to that plan, and get to work. Include members of your staff if you need help getting started!

Patient appreciation event checklist

Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need to host an unforgettable patient event.

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