It's indisputable: Happy doctors and happy staff, in general, work harder, stay longer and are more invested in the practice's success. Fostering a happy work environment is easier said than done, though. Offering employees extra cash or lavish perks is sometimes like slapping a Band-Aid on an open wound—it doesn't fix the root of the problem. So how do you empower your staff when the days are long and the work is tough? Well, at the end of the day, it all comes down to how you make them feel.
Give them ownership
When you're reviewing monthly goals with your staff, don't break down those goals into bite-sized tasks and delegate them—let your employees figure out how to achieve them. Giving them ownership over company goals makes them feel like important players.
Make your expectations manageable
It's important to set challenging goals for your staff, but putting an unfeasible amount of work on their plates will make them feel frustrated, defeated and overwhelmed. Giving them manageable expectations will make them more productive and proficient in the long run.
Listen to complaints
Happy practices are responsive practices—managers and directors listen to what's not working, and they make a concerted effort to fix the problem. Even if you find yourself facing complaints that you simply can't solve, it's important to show empathy. Employees want to feel like they're being understood, not judged.
The best way to accomplish all of the above? Tell your staff when they're doing a great job. Tell them what makes them irreplaceable assets to the hospital, clinic or practice. And tell them why you're glad to have them on the team. Nothing is more encouraging than feeling like a valuable employee.