Here’s what I’m hearing from practices around the country: They’re having trouble hiring enough staff because of this national trend of people reshuffling to a new industry, relocating, retiring or mixing it up in other ways. It’s the “Great Resignation” and some pundits blame the pandemic. Others point out that this trend started several years before COVID arrived on our shores.
Whatever the cause, plenty of practices struggle to provide as much care as they have the facilities to offer because of a lack of staff. What I know is that you have the ability to overcome this shortage by creating a company culture that can have new staff virtually beating a path to your door.
If you doubt this for a minute, I’m about to teach you how to develop a company culture that attracts the kind of productive staff you want to bring onto your team.
1. Foster a great and enticing company culture. When a company has a great culture, the behavior and attitudes of the staff and management make it a desirable place to work. The staff feel acknowledged and rewarded for work that’s well done. Everyone shares the same values and the practice’s policies and procedures are sensible and sane.
You may already have a good company culture or maybe this is something you are just starting to pay attention to. Whichever it is, when you’ve got that great culture within your own practice, the word of mouth going out will bring quality applicants in. Enthusiastic, committed staff will tell others about this great place they’re working. The news will leak out via social media as well. Creating and maintaining a rewarding culture is imperative; make it part of your daily grind.
2. Realize your own strong position. Don’t buy into the idea that you have to bend over backwards to give applicants whatever they want just so they come work for you! Most Private Practice Owners I know go out of their way to create a positive workplace and I bet you’re the same.
Sure, many of these applicants can work anywhere. Yes, the ones you want are the cream of the crop. However, the stability and positive atmosphere you offer is, I assure you, missing in many other practices. That’s your strength.
On the other hand, if you’re wearing too many “hats” yourself (CEO, clinician, biller, etc.), you may find it difficult to focus on creating a stable, appealing culture. Unfortunately, the ugly truth is no one, especially in this climate, wants to work for a disorganized practice. My advice would be to get organized and do some management training.
3. Cultivate a strong staff from day one. Only hire like-minded individuals, ones that are on fire to provide quality care for kiddos. Right away, your staff will be on the same page, so they’ll work more harmoniously together. Then train your staff, so they can do their jobs well without your micromanaging. (Seriously, no one likes to be micromanaged!) That means that you have to write the policies, job descriptions and guides so they learn how to make the right decisions and can propose positive solutions for their own areas.
This is where training and leadership come into play. If you have managerial staff, such as a clinic director or lead therapist, have them take some of the burden and co-create this with you.
4. Create a happy workplace. This doesn’t happen by itself. It takes your personal attention to create the rewarding and winning atmosphere that keeps the staff happy. Here’s some specific tips on that front:
- Give credit where credit is due. Notice when a job is well done by acknowledging that person at a staff meeting or with a personal note.
- Reward the accomplishment of goals. Set goals for the whole practice and then give the staff a reward when they make it. You could have a casual Friday, order in lunch for everyone or have an ice cream bar.
- Let your staff make suggestions to improve the practice. Invite them to email you their suggestions and ideas for implementation and then acknowledge their interest and effort even if you can’t implement it. If they offer a valuable suggestion, recognize them in front of the whole group.
- Here’s why it’s so worthwhile: Studies show that happy, engaged staff are more productive. They’ll also have fewer mishaps and make fewer mistakes. The results of their work are better and your clinic’s patients will be more satisfied with their service. That translates into better retention, fewer complaints and problems and more profitability.
You know what else? You’re going to enjoy working there more, too! It’ll bring out the best in you and generate the most willing, productive staff possible. If you need help getting this positive company culture rolling, check out the free webinars in our Lemonade Library. There’s dozens of tips and suggestions to support that enhanced culture in your practice.