By Concierge Medicine Today, Editor-In-Chief
We cannot tell you how many times we have spoken to a concierge or DPC doctor from a different part of the country that tells us the same story … ‘I had an employee who didn’t believe in the new direction of my medical practice and subscription model and they were telling patients to go somewhere else. I should have done something sooner but they’ve been with me for years.’
If you’ve had this experience, you are not alone.
If you haven’t had this experience, bravo. You obviously made some decision early on in the hiring and planning process that prevented this from happening when you transitioned to a subscription-based healthcare delivery model.
You might be surprised to know (or maybe not) that we’ve found (CMT) that one of the top ten reasons a current Patients will leave a concierge physician is due to staff.
That’s right. While passionate employees produce better results – keeping a not so great employee who you may have been loyal to for years but deep down you would admit is not good for business will cause more heartache, sleep and eventually numbers on your bottom line.
The best way to spark passion in your front office employees, nurses and other staff is to demonstrate your own passion for the new direction of your practice. But, don’t be a cheerleader at staff meetings. Ask for their feedback. This will tell you where their heart and beliefs truly live.
Here are four simple ways to authentically show your enthusiasm and inspire your staff that you may want to consider:
- Share Often Together and Celebrate Testimonials. Don’t forget to share good news! It might seem obvious but in the healthcare office we all have a tendency to dwell and focus on the loudest voices who complain and can forget that for every one unhappy Patient there may be 25 happy ones. So, have everyone share a success story they choose from that week at your next staff meeting. This open communication will provide a unique perspective that you may not often see. For example, a Nursing team member who brings your Patients back each week and does the routine ‘step on the scale’ tasks may share a unique story from a Patient that is very different from the administrative staff behind the phone and who constantly works behind a monitor. Sharing regularly opens communication. This may also help build comaraderie among your staff. Sharing testimonials, little patient comments that made that particular team member smile that week can help foster the kind of shared learning and beliefs in the vision you have for your practice, patients and team week to week and month after month.
- Focus on the positive. Author and business consultant Marcus Buckingham wrote a book about this. He writes … Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them. Instead, guided by our parents, by our teachers, by our managers, and by psychology’s fascination with pathology, we become experts in our weaknesses and spend our lives trying to repair these flaws, while our strengths lie dormant and neglected. Too often we focus on the bad thing(s) that went wrong in a week. While it is necessary to correct and examine these things in your practice, it is also important to learn that as managers of your practice you must encourage and help employees grow and use their strengths while at work. Hiring someone under the title Marketing Coordinator and then by day 2 they are answering phones and doing paperwork isn’t cool. Employees know when their employer truly cares about them. I’ve personally observed over the years having interviewed so many passionate concierge medicine and DPC doctors that you can’t help but talk about what’s working well and are trying to find ways to innovate. Provide unique online classes, buy books for your employees you think will help them enjoy their work, make them personally better and nurture their own interests and apply their own unique strengths month-to-month while employed at your practice. Weeks from now you’ll be glad you invested in your team!
- Set goals and expectations. For example, one of the reasons that mega-churches are growing so fast across the U.S. is that they have set expectations with their audience week in and week out. It’s no different in your medical office. Patients should know exactly what to expect when they walk-in your door. Am I going to be greeted with a smile or an ill-tempered staff member that complains about her boyfriend and the printer? Which scenario foster word of mouth referrals? Passionate physician entrepreneurs inspire and challenge their employees and patients to do their best, without overloading them. A great tip we learned years ago from our Physician readers in this space is to break your goals and expectations into little tiny goals creating easy wins for your team and your patients. This constant state of winning can be a guaranteed formula for success. Everyone wants to be with a winning team and success breeds success. It should be infectious, in a good way!
- Encourage everyone on your staff to be part of the relational, healthy lifestyle process. I believe that in order for sustained, healthy lifestyle change to occur, we have to grow together with those whom we have chosen to surround ourselves with. This happens best inside a doctor’s office when together, patients, employees and the doctor(s) are prioritizing intentional relationships with their staff and their Patients. You should all seeking the same goal. For example, this means that if a patient is struggling with a weight problem, broken their arm or coping with a more serious chronic condition, they want to know that it’s not just the Doctor who cares — but the receptionist shows a little compassion when they walk-in your door and the Nurse smiles to them on the way out.
Interested in more helpful business tips from successful healthcare entrepreneurs, check out CMT‘s annual industry conference, The Concierge Medicine Forum. Learn More at www.ConciergeMedicineForum.com.
Originally Posted: February 27, 2013; Updated February 1, 2015; Last Updated April 2022