Behind every great physician is a motivated, appreciated and empowered staff. Noted marketing guru and change-agent Seth Godin calls them “Linchpins” (which is also the title of his latest book if you are looking for a good read). Here are a few tips on keeping your team in tip-top shape.
- Hire the right staff. Research and use some of the assessment tools available to help you hire the correct person for the specific job responsibilities.
- Empower your staff to make decisions. And be sure to set up the necessary systems so that they can do so.
- Provide feedback. Praise them, especially when they go above and beyond or when patients share positive experiences. And provide correction privately in a positive and encouraging manner.
- Teach your staff to answer the phone cheerfully and professionally. Write a script that everyone can easily follow.
- Make sure your staff returns patient phone calls promptly and cheerfully. Don’t ever make a patient feel like a nuisance.
- Have written job descriptions, hold meaningful staff meetings, and create an employee handbook.
- Reward long-time employees with incentives.
- Recharge batteries with staff retreats.
- Review all staff policies and procedures regularly.
- Make sure you or your office manager belongs to a national professional organization, and encourage him or her to keep up to date and attend their meetings. Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is just one of many that can be a great resource.
Remember — it only takes one negative employee to tarnish the image of your entire practice. Conversely, “linchpin” employees can be one of your greatest (and most cost effective) marketing assets.