Motivating and Engaging Your Medical Practice Staff

February 18, 2012

Providing autonomy and support will motivate your staff in helping you reach your medical practice goals.

Any change you make at your practice can create tension, frustration, uncertainty, and a staff that may not perform up to their normally high standards. How do you recognize this for what it is, and not just burnout or discontent?

Employee burnout symptoms include: Depleted physical energy, emotional exhaustion, increased absenteeism, lowered immunity to illness, etc.

Discontent with the job looks like: Habitually late showing up for work, poor work quality, low company morale, disobedience, etc.

Moderate change behavioral indicators are: Shock, confusion, denial, anxiety/fear, hostility, resistance, sadness, stress, etc.

Any of these situations can and should immediately be remedied by motivating and re-engaging your staff.

Sit down and do a “strengths and opportunities” list for each of your staff members. (I prefer the word opportunities to weaknesses, as it provides immediate solutions rather than point out a character flaw)

Really think about why you hired your staff. Realize there is one of you, and you have a specific skill set; so does each of your staff. Once you have done this, take some time and casually have a re-interview-type conversation with each of your staff members. Let them know what you are doing so there is no anxiety or nervousness.

At this point, you are engaging your staff to become a bigger part of your practice. They need to feel needed in order to give up another part of themselves to you. Tap into their talents before you lose them to boredom or burnout! They may already be doing something a little extra that you are not aware of that is setting your practice apart and above.

Ask them what they want to do. I know that sounds simple, but sometimes you'll find that you have someone performing some very basic and repetitive tasks, and are much better at organizing and planning. Moving staff laterally because of a skill is a smart way to manage.

You have engaged your staff and they are listening now. It's time to motivate and challenge them forward! Looking at that list of strengths - Are they are serving in the appropriate positions? Can you offer special projects to people? Planning a holiday party or summer picnic might be something fun for three to five social staff members. Do you have someone strong in data analysis? Ask them to start tallying up some basic practice statistics. They may amaze you. Are you planning on redecorating or updating your practice’s lobby, reception area, or back office? Find the creative one in the group.

Now let's review your staff’s list of opportunities. When you step back, do you see some area of your practice needing these same opportunities? Maybe it is time to color outside of the lines with job descriptions. Mix up those tasks, and fill in those opportunities!

There are gems hidden in all of us. Your staff needs you to be a treasure hunter for their skills. By getting them involved, you are motivating them, and they will gladly put forth more effort, will be happier overall and your practice will thrive. You can put your Superman or Wonder Woman cape in the closet now. You have a great staff to step in and help!

Next week, we will be talking about investing administrative time with your patients and how this will help get your claims paid.

Find out more about P.J. Cloud-Moulds and our other Practice Notes bloggers.