Employee satisfaction is key to the success of any business, and especially businesses such as medical offices where the entire customer/patient experience is person to person. Happy employees are essential not only to long-term retention of the employee but also to their quality of work, which includes how they treat each other and your customers. Here, we take a medical approach to recognizing symptoms of dissatisfaction, diagnosing the problem, and prescribing a solution.
When employees aren’t interested in the work they are doing or are dissatisfied in their situations, you may notice they are not putting forth their best effort at work. Some symptoms of a dissatisfied employee are:
2. Low company morale
3. Poor work quality
5. Increased patient complaints, issues, and/or conflicts
Utilizing an anonymous employee satisfaction poll is a good way to diagnose a suspected problem. Be sure to include questions about suspected concerns; don’t simply ask “are you satisfied?” Instead ask specific questions such as, “do you feel you have the technology available to do your job well?” If you don’t have any suspected concerns, start with a general survey and look for areas where they give elaborate concerns or compliments.
Another option is to have department head/manager meetings to review problems in the departments. Employees are generally more comfortable speaking up among the people they work closely with. Have the department head ask questions during a meeting and have the staff give live responses. Be sure to inform them that as long as they deliver their concerns or compliments in a respectful way, and as long as it is constructive, they will not be penalized. If you are a smaller clinic without “departments” you could hold a group employee meeting over the results of the survey.
With your survey results in hand, it is time to get to the root of the problem. The root of the disatisfaction could be lack of recognition, feeling overwhelmed, not feeling challenged, or feeling isolated by peers. The good news is many of these things are fairly quick fixes. Oftentimes employee dissatisfaction is remedied by:
• Increased recognition: Develop a recognition program, such as an “employee of the month” or “employee of the week” program with some sort of plaque or certificate, maybe an up-close parking space or a gift card to a favorite coffee shop (or maybe a “Shining Star Award” so you can give out star lapel pins to add to name badges). The money spent on the recognition is far less important than the recognition itself.
• Re-evaluating job duties: Ensure that each employee is challenged but not overwhelmed, even if it means re-evaluating what a particular job titles’ matching job duties are. Develop skills: No matter how big or small your staff, make sure your employees are receiving training in their job duty areas. These could be online classes on customer service, coding and reimbursement classes, continuing education sessions, or a mentoring program. Learning new things and new ways to do old things is exciting!
• A positive work environment: Make sure the leadership positions in your clinic are demonstrating a genuine positivity; a positive energy in the clinic will work miracles for morale. Encourage social connections: Have a group lunch picnic or a Friday afternoon happy hour or other team-building activities to encourage social connections in your clinic. People who feel they belong to group or a team are more satisfied and more productive.
Be in touch with your employees, understand what is causing their discomfort or irritation, and determine what steps you can take to diagnose and cure the dissatisfaction. Happy employees yield happy patients/customers, which in turn increases your bottom line.