Whether your practice employs five people or fifty, regular staff meetings should be held as a venue for sharing information, solving problems and keeping everyone on the same page. Hosting meetings either weekly, bi-monthly or monthly (depending on the size and complexity of your office) is a good investment of time, but staff members are busy and most don’t want to spend even one precious hour in a boring, predictable and unproductive meeting. Here are four ways to make your staff meetings more interesting and meaningful.
- Have an open agenda so that anyone in the office can add topics to be discussed at any time between regularly scheduled meetings. You probably have a few routine agenda items such as reviewing financials, but leave enough time during each meeting to address issues that employees add to the list. A clip board hanging near the time clock or in the break room is all that’s needed to encourage the open agenda format. Don’t allow anonymous agenda item requests. Assuming you have a reasonably functional office, everyone should be willing to put their name by the item they would like to have brought up and, ideally, introduce the topic at the meeting and even facilitate the discussion.
- Make customer service stories a standing item on the agenda. This is a good way to begin a meeting on a positive note. Anyone at the meeting can share a tidbit with the group about a patient who was happy with the service or care they received or about a co-worker who went above and beyond the call of duty. Examples: Mrs. Gardener called after she got home from her appointment last week to thank everyone for making her feel so comfortable; Mr. Borger wrote a letter on behalf of the entire Borger family commending Dr. Rodriguez on how he handled their mother when she was hospitalized recently; Sharon stepped in to help out in the front office when Melinda was sick yesterday and never complained that doing so was putting her behind with her work in the billing department.
- Set aside a portion of each meeting for staff to learn something new. The exchange of information that occurs at staff meetings is necessary and useful, but if you want employees to look forward to each meeting, spend time investing in their education. Ideas: Invite someone from the local health department to give an update on what to expect during the upcoming flu season; review a recent press release from the CDC; have a pharmaceutical representative explain a new drug; go over the findings of a study presented in a current medical journal article. These sessions need not be long or overly scientific, but since healthcare workers tend to be curious and interested in medical news, this portion of your staff meeting is sure to be well-received.
- End every meeting with a positive announcement. This might be something as simple as the fact that you’re getting a new copier or as exciting as plans to move to a larger office. Making sure that employees stay informed about the direction of the business lets them know that they are part of a cohesive team and working for a successful practice.