Wednesday, 07 July 2010
Donna Center

8 Tips for Keeping Your Staff Happy

Written by  Donna Center



A happy staff makes for happy patients, and happy patients means more business. You will also find that employees are more productive, and you will be more likely to retain them, which will save you the time and cost of training new workers. Putting a little more time and effort into keeping everyone happy is a win-win!


1. Provide training.  When a new staff member starts, take the time to show them the ropes. Even if they’ve done the job before, it may be valuable for them to “shadow” someone for a day or two to learn the policies and procedures specific to your practice. But don’t stop the training there. Providing employees with opportunities to grow can make them feel their career is moving forward. Check out seminars, trade shows, and other learning opportunities in your area. If you can’t afford formal classes, consider having employees within the company share their knowledge with the rest of the staff.

2. Show your appreciation.  Make a point to praise your employees at least once a day. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes when people feel recognized for their efforts. Bonuses, parties, and other special perks are other ways to show your appreciation. You can award the staff for referring new patients or doing well on the job.

3. Communicate with your staff.  If they don’t get their information from you, they’ll get it from the practice’s rumor mill. Keep such speculation at bay by being open and honest about what’s happening in the practice. You should also hold regular staff meetings to promote problem solving, share news, and recognize accomplishments. Make it clear year-round that you have an “open door” policy, so employees feel like they can come to you with problems or their ideas for improving things.

4. Conduct evaluations.  Twice a year is a good rule of thumb. In your feedback, be sure to point to the areas where the worker is excelling. If an employee has problem areas, be constructive in your criticism: provide advice on how to improve. It’s also a good idea to let the staff evaluate you, so you can find new ways to meet their needs and help the practice run more smoothly.

5. Follow your own policies.  If you set a rule, stick to it – for yourself and others. This will help others to take you more seriously, and cut down on resentment about preferential treatment.

6. Be positive.  Don’t complain about patients or other workers in front of your staff. Doing so can foster a negative environment. Need to vent? Save it for your friends and family. If you have a problem with someone’s work, speak to them in private.

7. Socialize.  If you have a personal relationship with someone, it’s easier to communicate with them. Throw company parties to foster this environment. They don’t need to be fancy. You can even make it a potluck!

8. Be flexible.  If you respect the fact that your staff has a life outside of the office, your practice will be more likely to retain employees. It doesn’t mean you have to give in to every request made by a staff member, but within reason, make compromises to ensure that they are able to comfortably balance their home and work life. Avoid asking your staff to put in long hours or overtime when possible.

3 Responses to “8 Tips for Keeping Your Staff Happy”
 Chis Carraway, DC DIBCN says:
2010/07/07 at 6:00 pm
Excellent article Donna and several points well made. Keeping your staff happy is often over looked. Some offices think that cutting them a check once a month is enough. Oh so wrong. In a doctors office, more often than not, the pay scale has caps. Face it, a staffer, no matter how long they work in the office, is never going to be the doctor. They can not claw their way to the top. There is no ladder to climb. You get on a step and that is pretty much it.

I tend to over compensate by being super flexible with family matters and insist that they go to school awards and the likes, even if they are right in the middle of a busy office time. My staff know that they can ask for the next two days off and 9 times out of 10, we can make it work.

I also overflow with thank yous and compliments. It they catch and error I have made in paper work or on a letter. I always, tell them, “Sharp eye, thanks for spoting that. You saved me.”

Birthdays and office anniversaries and others are aways recognized. Frequently I find little items that I think they might enjoy, a coffee mug or cute figurine and will pick it up for them. One staffer loves elephants. The other likes unique bird houses. The staffer that likes elephants has four shelves 8 feet long in her office with 40 or 50 elephants of all different sizes and poses. I am a fan of zebras and they pick up zebra items for me.

Something is working. I have been in practice for 24 years and have only had 5 staffers and two of they are still with me. One has 18 years and they other has 16 years in. The national average for a DCs office is staff turning over every 6 months. I would not know how to operate under that kind of stress.

You comment on following policy is very true. Nothing upsets a staffer quite like setting a policy and then randoming changing it off and on. Just this morning I was asked about a new policy we had to consider. I stated emphatically “NO” that we would be doing * fill in the blank *. My front desk told me. “I like it when you make executive discisions.”

Doctors, let your staff know you appreciate them.

Warm Regards,

Christopher Carraway, DC, DIBCN.

 Rebecca Morehead says:
2010/07/07 at 7:38 pm
Great Tips! It is so important that practice managers not expect more from their staff than they are willing to give. For example, if they expect punctuality yet are always late it sends a message to staff that this is not really that important. As Ghandi said “be the change you want to see in the world” and I tweak it to “be the change you want to see in your practice.”


 physician assistant says:
2010/07/10 at 7:50 am
Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!




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