3 Keys to a Happy, Driven and Dedicated TeamArticle originally from September 29th, 2017 FPC Newsletter
Written by Mindi Webb
3 Keys to a Happy, Driven and Dedicated Team
Ask just about any business owner what one of the top challenges of running their own business is, and you likely will hear “managing and keeping my staff members”. I think this is especially true for practitioners who must constantly balance working with practice members, managing their team and working on their businesses. While this is a real challenge for any business, the good news is, you CAN use 3 simple strategies to resolve this challenge.
Based on what I hear from FPC clients as well as from my own experience in Dr. Webb’s practice, one of the key differences between a happy, driven and dedicated team versus a team with low performance, complaints and high turnover, is Staff Engagement.
So, what is Staff Engagement and why is it so important? Forbes defines staff engagement as “The emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company.” The National Business Research Institute (NBRI) says that engaged staff members have the following six traits in common:
- Believe in their organization
- Have the desire to work to make things better
- Understand the business context and the bigger picture
- Are respectful and helpful to colleagues
- Are willing to go the extra mile
- Stay up to date with developments in their industries
Can you imagine where your practice would go with a team that fit all 6 traits? If these things sound very elusive to you and you are struggling with high turnover or lack of motivation from team members, here are three simple strategies you can start now, to work towards your dream team. First, you’ll have to take an honest look at yourself as a leader to identify where you might be falling short. Then, take the appropriate steps to begin engaging your team.
- Communicate Expectations – Communication is absolutely essential to engaging your team members. This starts at the hiring process and continues throughout their careers with you. When your team members aren’t clear about the practice’s vision or values, they’ll likely miss the mark with their performance. Understanding how the company defines success is critical to staff output, as their contributions are key to the practice’s overall success.
Tools you can use:
- The practice Mission Statement (purpose) – introduced at time of hiring, visible to everyone in your practice, reviewed often to make sure actions are congruent with it.
- The Daily Action Plan – Posted where all team members have access, everyone participates in knowing the numbers and posting them daily.
- Keeping Stats – everyone knows what the goals are and what needs to happen to achieve them.
- Collect and Encourage Feedback – While staff members often have new ideas and suggestions regarding policies, procedures and team dynamics, they’re not always confident that their ideas will be received well. Creating an “open door policy” starts at the hiring process and continues from there. You want this to be a constructive communication policy, so setting expectations and guidelines will be important. I would tell every new hire, “We welcome and encourage ideas and feedback any time. However, any idea or suggestion brought to us must include an implementation plan to go along with it (what kind of time, resources would be involved in implementing and what would the impact be?).”
- Tools you can use:
- Weekly Staff Meetings/Training; everyone If you feel you “don’t have time” for your staff meetings, you’ll certainly feel you don’t have time to clean up the messes from avoiding them. A productive team meeting/training keeps everyone focused the big picture, on priorities for the practice and establishes the who/how/when of execution. This saves you an enormous amount of time on the back end!
- Employee Reviews – done after first 90 days, then every six months. This is another opportunity to connect with each team member individually about their own goals and challenges within their roles and how they can grow for the benefit of your practice AND themselves.
- Recognize and Reward – Everybody likes a pat on the back every once in a while, so make it a point to recognize staff members for their successes, both big and small. While the monthly bonus system that you have in place rewards the team for achieving set goals, appreciation does not always have to come in the form of a monetary reward. In fact, a simple, “thank you,” can go a long way toward making an staff member feel appreciated. Even a handwritten “well done” or “appreciate your hard work” can inspire and motivate someone to continue in their efforts for your practice.
- Tools you can use:
- Employee reviews (again) – you can use that time to recognize the staff member’s contribution and hard work to the team.
- Sticky notes, simple note cards randomly placed at their desk or work station with your sincere words of gratitude written on them.
- Team lunch, dinner or team-building events planned at least two times per year, if not every quarter. If you have just one staff member, maybe you simply bring them lunch or give them a gift card to enjoy nice dinner on you, every now and then.