Happy Staff: 3 Ways to Boost Staff Engagement in Your Medical Practice

Turns out employee satisfaction is actually good for business.

One study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. According to a Gallup report, happy employees are also more likely to improve customer relationships. The effects can be even more impactful for employees of a medical practice, where happy employees contribute to improved efficiencies and, ultimately, to better patient care.

So, what exactly can the leaders of a medical practice do to ensure that employees are happy? Those muffins in the breakroom are a good start, but there’s much more to fostering staff engagement than office perks. A workplace survey of 10,000 people uncovered what really motivates employees: the opportunity to participate in meaningful work that is valued and appreciated by both employers and the communities they serve.

With that end goal in mind, here are three of the best ways to boost staff engagement in your medical office.

1. Leverage their Expertise

Wondering how to find the right engagement opportunities? Ask your employees. They know better than you do where their talents could best be utilized.

This goes beyond personal interests and preferences. As the people closest to your patients, your employees are uniquely qualified to uncover opportunities to optimize office procedures and improve patient experience.

Take intake procedures, for example. After fielding numerous questions from patients who were unable to find new-patient forms online, one receptionist worked with the practice’s website manager to redesign the digital intake process. By linking the website platform more effectively to the patient portal, the new process saved time for the staff and significantly reduced frustration for the patients. It also became a source of pride for the receptionist, who could see clearly how her efforts benefited co-workers, patients and the success of the practice as a whole.

Frequently asked questions could also form the basis of a monthly patient newsletter. Creative staff members may be tapped to write or gather brief articles that address common patient concerns and keep patients informed of procedural changes in the office. Studies have shown that patients feel an emotional connection with the newsletters they receive, which makes them a valuable tool for maintaining patient relationships.

The important consideration here is to enlist staff members in the search for inspiring activities. Delegating tasks from the top down may achieve marginal improvements in processes or efficiencies, but you will have missed an opportunity to empower staff members to participate in meaningful outcomes.

2. Invest and Train

Amid the day-to-day stresses of a busy medical practice, it’s natural to put professional development activities on the back burner. That’s a mistake, according to a recent Forbes article. Fully 87% of millennials say that professional development is important in a job. Among all demographic groups, lack of growth opportunities is one of the key reasons for employee turnover.

Start by giving employees cutting-edge technology, such as secure patient texting, patient portals, online scheduling and automated appointment reminders. Not only does this commitment ensure that employees stay current in the tools of their profession, but they’ll also be running your practice more efficiently in the process.

Training is key, however. As technology becomes more complicated, proper implementation and onboarding is critical to ensure that the new tools are being utilized to their fullest potential. A qualified technology partner will be able to design the most appropriate workflows for your practice and train employees on how to execute them.

From there, look to the changing healthcare landscape to find myriad opportunities for training and education. Webinars, conferences and lunch-and-learn events can be leveraged to keep employees apprised of HIPAA regulations, best practices for patient-safe social media, the implications of value-based reimbursements, and more.

3. Celebrate Successes

One of the easiest employee motivators is also most often overlooked. According to a Gallup report, lack of recognition is one of the most common reasons employees leave an organization. And the more talented the employees, the faster they leave compared with other disengaged employees.

Gallup says employees often feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored—only one in three U.S. workers strongly agreed that they’d received recognition for doing good work in the previous seven days.

This one is a no-brainer, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Elaborate reward programs and incentive gifts are nice, but usually unnecessary. Most employees are delighted with a heartfelt thank-you note or a shout-out during a staff meeting.

Boost Staff Engagement to Create Happier Patients

An engaged staff leads to engaged and satisfied patients. Find out more strategies for engaging your patients.

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