Day-to-day life in a medical practice can be hectic and stressful. The sheer volume of tasks to be done each day, the constant stream of interactions with patients who might not be at their best, and the constant pressure of time constraints can add up to a challenging environment for employees. Keeping morale high and working relationships warm is vital if you want everyone to function at their best. How do you improve employee relations so that your staff works together as a close, effective team?
Encourage good self-care
A team is only as strong as its members. If one employee is feeling run-down or stressed out, they can change the atmosphere for everyone. Helping individual employees achieve a positive work-life balance has a huge effect on the team as a whole. Ensure that staff members are taking their breaks. Make your break room a comfortable, relaxing place to be. Provide healthy snacks and bottled water. Partner with a local gym or yoga studio to provide employee discounts or free classes once a week. Working in a medical practice can leave your staff prone to an above-average number of viruses. Have a clear sick policy and enforce it, so that employees with a cold get enough rest and don’t infect their co-workers-or patients. When your employees feel cared for, they have more to give to each other and to your practice.
Provide an open forum
Again and again, we hear that communication is the key to effective relationships. It’s as true in an office as it is in a marriage. In a team with many different people serving in many different functions, it can be difficult to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. Create safe spaces for employees to voice concerns, share ideas, and work out issues. Staff who feel listened to will listen better themselves. Have an open agenda staff meeting on a regular basis. You can leave a clipboard in the staff room for anyone to add topics of concern. Building healthy communication among your staff across job titles will foster an atmosphere of openness and mutual respect two vital ingredients for good employee relations.
Create room for fun
Human beings can bond through adversity or through shared positive experiences, but we know which we prefer! Your staff is in the trenches with patients many hours a week, so give them a chance to get to know each other in a lighthearted atmosphere. Team-building ideas don’t have to be formal to be effective. Get everyone together off campus for a staff dinner at a fun, casual restaurant. Inaugurate a monthly bowling night: a little friendly competition is a great excuse for banter. Building relationships outside of work is the best way to improve them during office hours.
Helping your staff connect as people is the best way to help them click as co-workers. Find ways to build the confidence and comfort of each employee individually, and they’ll be able to work together to make your practice a happy place for everyone.