It’s been fairly well documented over the years in several studies that money is not at the top of the list of reasons that people work. Not that your employees would keep showing up every day if you didn’t pay them, but in addition to earning a paycheck, individuals work because they enjoy feeling productive and using their skills, they like to feel valued and appreciated, they receive satisfaction associated with contributing to others, and in addition to the perks and benefits they enjoy the social interaction the workplace provides.
Beyond the usual – health insurance, paid holidays and vacation, and perhaps a retirement plan – there are benefits you can offer that speak to the reasons your employees come to work each day. Here are three to consider.
Opportunities to learn new skills. In a medical office, opportunities for advancement can be somewhat limited. Without significant additional education and training, a receptionist is not going to be promoted to being a nurse and a nurse isn’t going to work her way up to being a doctor. But that does not mean that you can’t keep your staff members engaged and interested in their careers by offering opportunities to learn new skills. Arranging for employees to float to different areas within the office will help them appreciate the practice at a more holistic level (e.g., understanding what goes on in billing will make it clear why certain information is requested from patients or why proper coding is such a big deal), which is good for the practice and the employee alike. Read this post for more ideas on staff development.
Recognition. We all like being acknowledged, whether we like to admit it or not (“Oh, shucks, it was nothing.”). Recognizing employees for a job well done can be accomplished in any number of ways. For example, you can start an employee of the month program if your staff is large enough to make that a feasible option, hand out gift cards at the end of each month or quarter as rewards for reaching pre-determined practice goals (patient volume, A/R days under a certain number, short wait times or other patient satisfaction measures), or recognize specific employees during staff meetings by relaying positive comments that patients have made about them. And don’t overlook the importance of private recognition. Telling an employee one-on-one that the way they handled a specific patient or incident didn’t go unnoticed will always be appreciated.
Unexpected time off. Time is precious and we all enjoy and value “found hours” such as when a meeting is cancelled and we suddenly have two unscheduled hours we didn’t expect or when a neighbor invites our children to join their family for a Saturday outing and we magically have a day to read, spend with a friend, or get caught up on household chores or errands. Imagine how your staff members would feel if occasionally and unexpectedly you gave them an afternoon off with pay for no particular reason except to say “thanks for everything you do for the practice.”