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How to Create a Medical Practice Where Great Employees Want to Work

If you want your medical practice to provide exceptional care to your patients you have to invest the time to make your business a truly exceptional place of work. Our firm has been in medical practice consulting for 57 years and we have yet to see a practice consistently provide exceptional care without having exceptional talent, especially in light of the last year with the pandemic. Retaining exceptional talent has become twice as difficult. Add to that the fact that we have insurance allowables that are increasing lower than inflation, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Based on recent Department of Labor job reports there are roughly 1.8 job openings per available worker in the US. If this ratio holds true in your area; your practice needs to be a more attractive place to work than half of the other employers in your area just to employ someone. Therefore, if you want to employ the top 10% to 20% of available workers, i.e. the solid, reliable, long-term employees, you as an employer need to be in the top 5% to 10% of all of your competitors.

How do you become an exceptional employer?

For one, it’s identifying thought processes and characteristics that are not only ideal and you want to build on, but also it determines any toxic situations and to repair. These toxic situations, by default, will exclude you from being in the exceptional employer category, and it only takes one.

Following are real-life examples of toxic responses we have come across through the years from medical practices: “Don’t they know who signs their check?”, “Don’t forget who’s the boss”, “That’s so and so; they work for me”, “Yeah I know that ARNP Smithee isn’t kind and rather rude to other employees; who knows, I could see them slapping someone in the future but they get so much done, they are so talented and I’m afraid if I discuss or confront their behavior it will make them leave.”

If any of these thoughts sound familiar to you, rest assured that no matter what the offered salary is, the great employees will quickly migrate away from a practice. This then typically leads to a vicious cycle of employee turnover which will directly threaten your ability to provide exceptional care to your patients.

Now, what are the attributes of being a great employer?

It starts by actively engaging in the concept that being a great employer doesn’t happen by accident; it takes intentionality. You will need to create space; time and resources for the objective of being a great employer; honestly, far more time and resources than what was required in the past. You know this when it comes to patient care; right now you actively think about how we can have the best patient care; what can we do to make the medical care as effective as possible; how can we have the best surgical outcomes.

Stop and reflect: How often are you thinking of what we could do to offer a more pleasing employee culture or what resources are available so the workday is more engaging for our employees? Simply put, a great employer is actively looking for ways to create ownership, autonomy, mastery, and camaraderie for your employees. Once those ways are identified, they are implemented and then observed through a plan, do, check, act cycle.

A new hire that I connected with this week said “Everybody seems really genuine and supportive of each other’s success and I am all for that. I cannot wait to start working with you.” This type of thinking creates a highly engaged team member. And, as long as the employer doesn’t demotivate this employee, that type of engaged thinking will continue and usually rubs off on others.

And guess what, that employer will continue to attract and employ the great ones not because of the pay scale (although employees need to feel appropriately compensated) but because they continue to invest in an environment that fosters engagement. These actions naturally lead to more great ones available for your practice if you dedicate the time and resources to this objective.

Here are some additional questions to reflect upon:

  • Does your team know which components of the practice they own and are responsible for?
  • Do they have the freedom to make decisions even if they are the wrong ones?
  • What resources are you providing so they can learn how to make better decisions and increase their performance over time?
  • Do their peers truly want to see them succeed?

You hold a golden opportunity to become an exceptional employer; if you do, these great employees will migrate to your practice. And you, in turn, will accomplish the vision of being a thriving business that provides exceptional care to your patients.

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So, what are the final questions to ask?

  • Which areas of your medical practice business can an employee take ownership of?
  • What type of autonomy will you give to the individual owners of those areas?
  • What resources will you provide to employees so they can develop skills for creating standards and improving standards so your patient vision of exceptional healthcare is fulfilled?
  • How will you foster an environment where it is important to each employee that the other staff members succeed?

This is not an easy task to undertake and there will not be a quick fix however, these steps are necessary if you truly want to enjoy being a successful medical practice business owner who consistently provides exceptional care for your patients. It takes more than you as the owner/provider doing excellent clinical work; it requires building a business where every team member does outstanding work.

For assistance with your practice, contact DoctorsManagement consulting services.

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