Secrets of great staffs

February 25, 2011

When it comes to managing staff, doctors who have been around for awhile and have learned from experience often wish they knew back then what they know now.

Key Points

When it comes to managing staff, doctors who have been around for a while and have learned from experience often wish they knew back then what they know now. Here are 10 proven strategies based on others' trials and tribulations that can guide you in developing your ideal team:

1. "JOB-HOPPERS" MAY MAKE GOOD EMPLOYEES

2. EMPLOYEE TURNOVER ISN'T NECESSARILY BAD

Actually, a change of personnel offers the practice a chance to bring in some new ideas to solve work problems. Some employees, no matter how valuable they are, get tired doing the same old thing and become stale.

An office manager we know left a practice to work at the hospital for 9 years. Then she returned to her old job to find that nothing had changed in her absence. She says, "It was like deja vu. The same people were doing things the same way-no progress."

Sure, bringing on new employees is disruptive. They require training and more supervision. We're not recommending you encourage turnover. But it's nothing to panic over, either. You just might benefit from it.

3. TRAINING NEW STAFF IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT

Home Depot founders Bernard Marcus and Arthur Blank spent a lot of time personally visiting their stores. They used the time to train personally every assistant manager in the chain. Quite a testimony to how much value they place on training. If these guys weren't too busy to train workers, you should think about doing the same in your practice.

The nurses, techs, and medical assistants who work with patients all will benefit from direct training by the physicians in the practice. So will the manager, who needs to know what you consider important. And who better than a physician to teach receptionists the questions they should ask patients (and what the answers mean) to schedule a smoothly running office session?

Most physicians are skilled teachers. And taking the time to train your team has a collateral benefit: It cements loyalty to the practice in a new employee. Nearly all employees value training by the physician, and it's done so rarely that you will create a solid impression of commitment to the new worker's success.