Behind every great doctor is an incredible staff. This is a requirement for an efficient, productive, profitable practice. This is because you, doc, cannot do it all. It doesn’t matter how talented or intelligent you are. You can’t check a patient in, complete the exam, perform tests and ancillary services, check the patient out, and go through the billing process all on your own. You don’t have the time—not if you want to see more than a handful of patients a day. You need help, which is exactly why you have quality staff members.
Don’t Put Just Anyone on Your Team
The key here, however, is hiring quality, motivated staff. You can’t hire just anyone off the street and expect them to be able to do the job. He or she needs to be able to learn your procedures and protocols, as well as get along with you and any other staff members you have. There is absolutely no room for someone who is lazy, can’t learn, or stirs up trouble in the office. There’s an old saying about one bad apple ruining the bunch, and that holds true for staff, too. That’s why “quality” and “motivated” are your key words:
Quality staff are smart, hardworking people who will benefit your practice and help you reach your goals for the office. They are trainable and learn your system and protocols so your office runs smoothly. They don’t complain or waste time; rather, they are happy to come in to work for you and alongside their coworkers.
Motivated staff are employees who go above and beyond the “limits” of their job. They share your goals to succeed in practice, and actively work toward it in their individual roles. They’re willing to learn additional tasks to help the office run smoothly. They contribute to your marketing in whatever way they can. They are, in short, dedicated to improving the practice every week, month, and year.
Lay the Foundation in the Hiring Process
Not every person applying for a job will be a great fit for your practice. Not everyone can meet the quality and motivated standards. That’s why the foundation for every great employee must be laid in the hiring process. You can’t just pick the first person whose resume looks nice and expect them to be the model staff member you need. That’s gambling with your practice—and the stakes are too high.
Doctors typically choose the wrong person because the resume looked clean and the prospective employee seemed so enthusiastic in the interview process. Then that person’s enthusiasm evaporates after a few weeks on the job. That’s when you know, for sure, if he or she is that quality, motivated person you were looking for. There are better ways to handle hiring, though. We recommend tools like DPM Hiring or our own Top Practices Practice Management program.
How to Keep Them Motivated
Once you have great staff, you have to work to inspire them and keep them motivated. You might think your employees should be happy just to have a job, but so often that isn’t the case. People want more than just a paycheck. Understanding this is critical: money is NOT your best motivator. It is a motivator, yes—people need to be able to pay bills. You need to pay people enough to take concerns about money off the table. But a paycheck or a bonus is not the primary motivator that will spur your staff to be the best they can be and meet your office’s goals.
The two big motivators are actually purpose and mastery. Purpose means your staff feels like they are contributing to the success of your practice and making the world a better place. People want to know they have an impact and that they’re doing something worthwhile. Mastery means people want to be more than just competent at what they do. No one wants to feel like an average cog in a big machine that’s easily replaced—or worse, that no one would miss if it were gone.
So motivating your staff revolves around giving your employees a sense of purpose and of mastering their work. You achieve this through regular, well-constructed training opportunities. Teach your staff more skills so they can take greater responsibility for your practice. Provide them with systems and protocols they can master. Trusting your staff with these things can be one of the greatest motivations that there is.
You don’t have to approach building up your staff blindly. We are here to help. The Top Practices Practice Management program often covers staff questions and other management issues. Our Mastermind group also discusses ways to motivate your staff and make your office more efficient. We’d love to have you join us. Just contact us for more information by calling 717-626-2025 x 1 or by e-mailing [email protected].