Retaining great employees and keeping them motivated is one of the most important tasks for a successful allergy practice – and it may require extra effort in the current environment. Many allergy practice employees are feeling burned out due to staffing shortages and increased workloads.
These three strategies from the Practice Management Committee are simple but will go a long way toward keeping your people motivated and engaged.
1. Gather your team and ask this question: What is one small thing we could do right now to make things better for you?
Small things can make a big difference to your employees, and listening to their issues and solving them quickly can have a big impact. It may be as simple as replacing a broken coffee machine or adding a new water cooler – but your employees will be thrilled you are listening and will know you care about them.
2. Celebrate wins.
Recognizing the accomplishments of your team — as a whole and as individuals — is key to making them feel valued and motivated.
- Celebrate with your team when your practice hits certain milestone goals like patient satisfaction scores, collection targets, quality marks, etc. You can bring in lunch or dessert or do something more creative, but the key is to recognize everyone’s efforts and take pride in your team’s accomplishments.
- Encourage patients and staff to acknowledge staff members who go above and beyond. Create a simple recognition program where your team members can recognize each other, and your patients can commend your staff. One idea for doing this is to give “High Five!” cards to the recognized team members, and then hold a monthly drawing for gift cards.
“I always let individual team members know when a patient says something nice about them. And when patients compliment the practice, I order Starbuck’s or lunch for the staff,” said Alnoor Malick, MD, FACAAI, vice chair of the Practice Management Committee.
“In our office we have a ‘kudos’ board in the kitchen where staff can recognize each other’s accomplishments. We also have brought in a massage therapist to do 15-minute upper back/neck massages. During hectic weeks, we’ll bring in coffee or lunch, and we routinely praise employees in front of patients and other team members,” said Melinda Rathkopf, MD, FACAAI, chair of the Practice Management Committee.
3. Say thank you.
A simple, sincere “Thank you!” to your team members can be very powerful – especially when it comes from an allergist. A heartfelt, look-you-in-the-eye thank you makes your employee feel seen and appreciated rather than taken for granted. Look for opportunities to recognize your people, and be specific about what you’re acknowledging them for.
For example, with a front desk employee, you might say, “Susie, I know the phones were crazy today, and I really appreciate you handling such a high volume so efficiently.” With a nurse, you might say, “Sam, you handled that nervous child beautifully today. Great job setting him at ease!”
In addition to a verbal thank you, consider writing thank you notes as well. These are very effective, especially when sent to the employee’s home, where he or she can show it off to their family.
For more ideas on motivating and managing employees, attend our upcoming webinar Attracting and Retaining Staff: Hiring Challenges in Today’s World on May 12. And check out the College’s Allergy Office Essentials module on Managing Employees – it’s just 15 minutes long and is free to members!