The way you treat your staff can be the determining factor in how they feel about their jobs.
WHAT DO YOUR STAFF MEMBERS SAY TO THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES about the management of your practice and what it’s like to work there?
Is the experience they describe positive, negative, or something in between? Is it just a job for them or something they really love? Such distinctions can impact staff morale, motivation, and productivity — and even your practice’s image.
One particular seminar survey is designed to answer these questions. It asks staff members in attendance to write on index cards what they love and/or hate about their place of employment. No signatures are required. This helps to encourage forthright answers without concern for repercussions of any kind.
The following comments are a representative sampling of typical replies, both favorable and unfavorable. Taken together, they will provide you some insight about achieving a happier, more productive workplace.
- “The doctor respects my judgment as an LMT and frequently asks my opinion. It’s the highest form of praise — and very gratifying.”
- “For the most part, my reasons for staying on this job are the quality of my relationship with the doctor, and a situation where I am not taken advantage of, either on the basis of workload, salary, or lack of respect.”
- “She [the doctor] is easy going and always ready to try new ideas.”
- “He [the doctor] makes us feel important and lets patients know we [the staff] are important. He never calls us ‘the girls’ and always uses our names.”
- “When my father died, the doctor told me, ‘Take as much time as you need. We’ll cover for you.’ It was a very stressful time for me and I will never forget his kindness.”
- “What’s great about this job is the willingness of this doctor (unlike the one for whom I previously worked) to delegate tasks for which I’m qualified. It’s an expression of confidence that I greatly appreciate.”
- “I love the continuing education courses that we attend — and the opportunity it gives us to network, learn new skills, and make our work more interesting and satisfying. And (unlike the previous practice at which I worked) our salaries and all travel-related expenses are paid.”
- “She [the doctor] has a great sense of humor, which makes it pleasant for everyone — patients included.”
- “He [the doctor] has been very understanding of my childcare responsibilities and adjusted my hours to accommodate my hectic schedule.”
- “My boss preaches a lot, but doesn’t walk his talk — about anything.”
- “The doctors reprimand us in front of patients and co- workers. It’s humiliating.”
- “Staff members who shouldn’t be in the practice, who aren’t pulling their weight, are allowed to stay.”
- “The office manager micromanages every little detail of what I do. It sends a message that she doesn’t trust me — and it’s very demoralizing.”
- “The doctor never says ‘Thank you’ for anything — ever!”
- “A new employee was hired — with far less experience than I have — and is being paid more than me. I’ve been here four years. And who do you think they asked to train this new employee? Me!”
- “The young associate in our practice treats us like we’re his slaves. ‘Get this! Do that!’ He’s arrogant and full of himself.”
- “The office manager shows favoritism by allowing some employees to bend rules that others must follow.”
- “I’m often asked to stay late, which is a terrible imposition. To make matters worse, it’s not appreciated.”
The importance of good staff morale should not be underestimated. Unhappy employees don’t perform as well as those who truly like their jobs and the people for whom they work.
Unhappy staff are not as interested in what they do or how well they do it. They tend to be careless and they’re not as pleasant to patients.
These shortcomings can take a heavy toll on patient satisfaction, referrals, and practice growth. Motivated employees are an asset worth developing.