First things first. Evaluate your strategy.
Whether you’re building your brand-new practice from the ground up or looking to revitalize your long-established practice, the first thing you need to evaluate is your strategy for managing your chiropractic staff.
Often, those in charge of any business or practice ― no matter the industry or health care branch ― tend to focus entirely on patient experience. Of course, this is a crucial part of any practice. But in the hustle and bustle aimed at elevating a patient’s experience, often, a well-thought-out, comprehensive strategy for managing staff is left behind.
The staff who make up your practice are the backbone of everything you’re trying to accomplish, and your workplace culture speaks volumes about how you support them. You don’t exist on an island, something you surely understand, and the team you build around you is just as important to accomplishing your goals as your own hands-on skills.
Studies show employees who feel valued, heard and supported are likely to be more productive, more satisfied with their jobs and more inclined to go above and beyond to help the practice or office succeed. But supporting your staff isn’t about throwing a weekly party in the breakroom to appreciate their work ― it’s about implementing a strategy you can stick to, a routine structure that consistently shows your staff you’re showing up for them. Here are seven tips for supporting your chiropractic staff:
1. Establish clear boundaries and rules.
Don’t make your staff guess what’s appropriate and what isn’t. Establish clear rules in a staff handbook that draws clear lines and sets your employees up for success. Leaving them to wonder what’s OK, what’s allowed and what’s not acceptable leaves ambiguity in their conduct. Ambiguity then leads to miscommunications, and miscommunications lead to staff feeling undersupported and underprepared to do their jobs well.
The best thing you can do for your staff is clearly communicate your code of conduct via a well-defined handbook of guidelines and rules you abide by in your practice. Having something in writing they can reference will help your staff feel protected and safe should something arise they know isn’t part of that code of conduct. They’ll feel more comfortable coming to you, addressing the issue head-on, confidently knowing you’ll support them in these scenarios.
2. Hire well; train better.
The hiring process can be tricky, but if you establish clear guidelines for the caliber of staff you’re seeking and refuse to compromise, you’ll be in a better position to support your staff in the long run.
But supporting your staff with other highly qualified, cooperative staff members isn’t the only way to support the staff as a whole ― you also need to ensure you’re offering comprehensive, continual training to help them do their jobs better.
Invest in your employees’ personal development as well as their professional development. Provide continuous training and encourage them to progress in their role to ensure their continued professional success.
3. Delegate, and don’t try to do it all.
You hired a top-notch staff to help you run your practice ― so let them help. It can be tempting to be hands-on in every little facet of your practice, but it’s ultimately not conducive to a positive work environment if you’re getting in the way of the staff you expertly hired. When you hire well, train consistently and put faith in your staff, you’ll be able to delegate the daily needs of the practice to those who are capable of handling it.
4. Reward and praise your staff often.
Your team works hard to help you run your practice smoothly ― give them appropriate praise and rewards for their dedicated efforts.
5. Avoid staff who bring down morale.
This is just as much part of the hiring process as it is part of the maintenance process of your staff. You’ve heard the phrase, “One bad apple can ruin the whole bunch,” right? Well, in terms of work environments, this is often true.
A negative influence on your team can dramatically impact your staff as a whole. A negative individual can bring down morale, make other staff members uncomfortable and set a precedent that inappropriate behavior is acceptable in your practice. Further, a drain on morale can dramatically impact employee turnover in your practice, whereas a positive environment can help with staff retention.
The best way to spot staff who negatively impact your team is to have an open-door policy and foster honest communication. It’s not enough to just hear your team’s feedback; you need to implement solutions in response to that feedback, too.
6. Organize regular meetings to set practical goals.
Running your practice seamlessly might be the overall goal ― but how do you (and your staff) make that happen on a day-to-day basis? Setting expectations, creating goals and designing steps to achieve goals makes the ultimate ambition much more attainable.
Your staff needs the full picture of what goals you’re chasing and why you’re chasing them. They also need guidance and input from you to strategize the best ways to achieve those goals. Setting up regular goal meetings, as well as including time throughout your week for meetings with your staff to discuss their work environment, can ensure your staff feels you’re supporting them consistently and on several different levels.
7. Be present and solve problems quickly.
Hiring a top-notch team to help you run your practice isn’t about setting them up for successful roles and then disappearing. You have plenty of daily tasks to accomplish, but one of them should be ensuring you’re a constant presence in your employees’ day. The more your employees see you, interact with you and communicate with you, the more likely they will feel comfortable sharing issues and providing feedback.
For example, if your staff is coming to you with complaints of overwhelm, consider new solutions for relieving time-consuming and tedious jobs by automating some of their tasks.
It’s your responsibility to set your staff up for success and manage them. If they do bring you feedback, address it. If they bring you a work-related problem, solve it. Being a present, communicative force in your practice makes one of the biggest differences in how your staff trusts you to handle their management.
Being a good chiropractor and running a positive, efficient practice does depend on how you interact with and serve your patients. But ultimately, it also has a lot to do with how you hire, train and support your staff. These seven tips are helpful steps DCs can take toward creating a positive, supported work environment for their invaluable staff members.
For more insight and guidance into all aspects of running a practice, furthering your chiropractic career and becoming a better-rounded health care professional, subscribe to Chiropractic Economics.