5 Tips on Team Engagement
How to Engage Your Team to Build Strategy, Reach Your Goals, and Grow Your Practice
You know this: Great patient care begins the moment the patient walks through the door. Did you ever consider how many micro-interactions they have from coming to leaving? There are many moving parts of a medical office with varying areas of expertise. How do you bring a doctor, a medical technician, and a medical coder together? It may like the beginning of a joke, but here’s the punchline - these different areas of expertise need to learn how to achieve common goals in order to grow your practice. Human capital is important to invest in, and that includes investing in every member of your team! Our Adam Kae Way uses team engagement strategies to increase communication and develop goals that will grow your practice. Read on to discover 5 gold nuggets in increasing team engagement in your medical practice!
Tip 1: Goooooooooal!
Whatever goal-building system you stand by, goals are important. allBusiness uses the BHAG- or Big
Hairy Audacious Goal - system. Take a closer look at your practice. You’ll find that each department may have their own goals curated from long to-do lists, but does your entire organization have any common goals?
Take a look at those to-do lists. See any commonalities? As the commander-in-chief of your practice, what are your long-term goals?
Use this as a team-building experience, and develop organization-wide goals together! Once you have your BHAG, ask yourself what needs to happen to achieve that goal. Break it down into smaller goals that each department has a role in. All of your goals should be measurable, actionable, and have a time limit to reach them.
At Adam Kae & Associates, we can help you set up and implement goals for your organization. We believe in the power of people so much that it’s built into our Adam Kae Way! Change is an organization-wide effort, and engaging your team with big goals will help drive your practice growth!
Tip 2: Check in Well, Check in Often
In order to reach your goals, you need to be aware of what’s going on. However, it’s not enough to simply ask how things are going. Use language like “are there any areas you’re struggling with?” or “how has changing X affected Y?”. By opening up a dialogue, you’ll get more insight than before into the veins fueling your practice!
Dr. Geier wants us to bring back the “morning huddle” according to his published article in Dental Economics. Maybe in the time of COVID-19, we won’t get *that* close to a huddle, but a daily team meeting can be especially beneficial as you establish your goals. Take 15 to 20 minutes of every day to sit with your entire team. Simply bringing your team together reminds them that they’re part of a team! This is the time to ask questions, share any process snags, and recognize members for their hard work. End the meeting with a positive daily intention to power them through their day!
By checking in well and often, you’ll be the leader that employees can trust, no matter what department they’re in or what challenges they face.
Tip 3: Invest in Team Building
Even the Avengers had some work to do before they became a great team! Depending on the size of
your practice, this is a great chance for different departments to get personally acquainted. As a leader, it’s also important to learn your employees’ personalities in order to apply leadership styles that suit their work ethic best! There are a range of different ways you can introduce team building everyday, too!
Here are a few great examples:
Bringing in Weekly Treats like Donuts and Coffee
Office Projects like a Team Wall That Everyone Must Work Together to Complete
Play Day - Go Catch a Baseball Game or Play Yard Games on the Lawn
Brain Teasers during your Morning Huddle
This list is just some of our favorites! For more, check out these resources:
Tip 4: Keep Your Ears Open
As a doctor, you’re likely diagnosing problems all day. Our job is to help you diagnose business problems! One way to do this is to keep your ears open to how your office staff handles day-to-day challenges.
You can establish a 360 Feedback process to better connect with your employees. 360 Feedback is a useful system that allows your employees to reflect both internally and externally about how they’re performing. This is how you can learn the best ways to invest in them to help them reach their personal and organizational goals. 360 feedback typically consists of a survey and a one-on-one meeting with a manager to discuss survey results. SurveyMonkey has a great example of questions your survey might ask. The main goals are to understand your employees’ performance based on their own reflection, give feedback on how they might improve, gain insight on other workers’ performances, and gain insight on how you might improve. Happy employees who are working toward both personal and organization are more likely to be efficient compared to someone simply completing a to-do list.
You can also gain insights into your patient experiences. Start by simply observing. Are they greeted when they walk in the door? If so, how is it received? How do patients interact with different office staff? After their visit, you could introduce a post-visit survey. This type of research, called “linkage research” can help you improve your practice’s overall climate according to a journal published in Health Care Management Review. A welcoming company culture can directly impact efficiency, and this can affect your patients’ experiences, too.
Tip 5: Implement Processes that Everyone Understands
Your office is comparable to a patient- if you don’t know the basics of how their body functions, how can you expect to fix ailments as they arise? The best way to ensure everyone is on the same page is to create a procedure binder your employees can regularly refer to. Each department may already have their own, but it may be helpful to create one combined copy. Executive Secretary has a great step-by-step process for creating your binder - see HERE.!
Speak with your team to understand each step of patient care from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave. Do you want patients to be greeted within 1 minute of walking through the door? How much time should staff spend building rapport with patients? How long is the average wait time? How long should patients be waiting alone in exam rooms? By standardizing these procedures, you’re creating a reference baseline to refer to when things go wrong. They can also help you track performance and backtrack when errors are made!
For example, the COO of the Richmond Flying Squirrels has a policy that “I don’t know” is never an answer. He instructs his staff to find answers and return when customers have questions. This small example of service standardization is one of the many reasons why The Flying Squirrels experience is so well-loved by locals.
When everyone understands the process, they can give feedback into how their individual roles affect the bigger picture.
Investing in your team is one of the top ways you can improve efficiency in your office. When everyone is on the same page, it makes your patient’s experiences better, too! Adam Kae & Associates can help you set these processes into motion to help you create a happy, healthy office environment!
Geier, Jay. "8 Ways to Increase Team Engagement." Dental Economics 107.6 (2017): 48. Web.
Rathert, Cheryl R., and Douglas May. "Health Care Work Environments, Employee Satisfaction, and Patient Safety: Care Provider Perspectives." Health Care Management Review 32.1 (2007): 2-11. Web.
Kets De Vries, Manfred F. R. The Hedgehog Effect : Executive Coaching and the Secrets of Building High Performance Teams. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Web.
John R. Ball, Bryan T. Miller, Erin P. Balogh, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, and Board on Health Care Services. "Diagnostic Team Members and Tasks: Improving Patient Engagement and Health Care Professional Education and Training in Diagnosis." Improving Diagnosis in Health Care. National Academies, 2015. 145-216. Web.
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