A happy staff and more loyal patients are within your reach. You just need the right formula. That is why Solv has put together five important secrets that will guide you toward the path of success.
Secret #1: Morale Matters
One of our partners, Dr. Mike Cowan of Pediatric Urgent Care Center of Fort Worth, put it perfectly. He said, "I believe there is no job beneath me. I'll do whatever it takes."
In the fast-paced field of convenient care, it is important for everyone to work together as a team. Nobody should feel that a task is beneath them. When an owner is willing to do something as mundane as taking out the trash, it raises the morale of the entire team by creating a culture where employees feel valued.
Surprisingly, morale and culture are often neglected in favor of everyday priorities like marketing, attracting new patients, revenue cycle management, staffing, technology adoption, and providing actual care. However, morale and culture are just as vital to success.
What is Culture?
Culture is the operating system for your company. It defines the way in which both employees and customers experience your brand.
Culture is not what companies do to “boost morale” with gimmicks like free beer, ping pong, coffee, and cake for birthdays. It is much more complicated than that. Think of culture as the philosophy and values you deem important and want your employees to uphold. It is the framework in which morale feeds off of.
What is Morale?
Morale is the emotions, attitude, satisfaction, and overall outlook employees have while they are at work. For example, in the field of medicine, great care is taken to assess how patients are feeling in order to determine the cause of their ailment and treat their condition. We are often so concerned with those things that we forget how important it is to also have the type of bedside manner that will lead to positive reviews and patient retention.
A recent study surveyed 11,000 healthcare employers who have 11 million employees combined. The study found that the average turnover in healthcare jobs in 2017 was almost 21%, up from 15% in 2010. This puts the turnover rate in the healthcare industry at one of the highest. We are second only to hospitality.
The concern over retention rates is so great, that one in three healthcare recruiters in the United States rank employee turnover as their top staffing concern. Not only is it time consuming to continually have to hire, but it is also incredibly expensive. With the exception of physicians and executives, the median cost of employee turnover is 21% of the employee’s salary. This is why it is imperative to attract the right talent from the beginning.
Secret #2: Attract
Whether you are looking to replace talent or are adding staff based on evolving needs, there are three important brand ideas to consider if you want to attract strong, lasting talent.
- Consumer Brand consists of the attributes and values that are associated with your company’s products and services. These are forward facing elements that reflect the way your patients see you.
- Employer Brand includes the attributes and values that are associated with your company as a place to work. These are inward facing elements that reflect the way your employees see you.
- Talent Brand is where the Consumer Brand and the Employer Brand overlap and come to life. Think of it as the sweet spot when it comes to building a strong culture and positive morale. It is a cohesive look at what you stand for and it incorporates what your talent feels about your company.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, puts it like this. “We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them.”
What Are Your Core Values?
Values are a very important part of your brand. They will help you attract people who align with your mission. If you want to define your values, think about the following questions:
- What does your practice stand for?
- What makes you different?
- How will working with you benefit the potential talent?
- What will they learn and how will they impact patients?
Use the values you define from this process to create a framework. Then, go beyond the basic job boards to recruit excellent talent by posting on social media, sending representatives to attend local industry events, and encouraging employee referrals. An astounding 82% of employers rated employee referrals above all other recruiting channels, as the best avenue for generating a high ROI.
Secret #3: Empower
The third secret to a happier staff and more loyal patients is to empower them. Consider doing this by investing time in them and by creating opportunities for growth. It is also important to remember that the idea of work-life balance isn't just a passing concept. It is a vital path to success.
According to a survey of 50,000 employees worldwide, employees who have a positive work-life balance are 21% more productive and dedicated than those who don't.
In the healthcare field itself, a study compared employees who feel they have a support system in place to make work-life balance possible, with those who feel they are lacking that support system. Out of those lacking it, one in four plan to quit in the next two years.
What Do Employees Care About?
- 52% say opportunities for career progression.
- 44% say competitive wages and other financial incentives.
- 36% say excellent training and development programs.
As a healthcare provider, you can identify opportunities to develop and train employees by getting to know them as people. Ask them what their long term goals are, what their superpowers are, whether or not they feel challenged at work, and what they would like to learn.
These should be a regular part of the relationship because they create empowering opportunities for growth.Think about the following structure:
- Open Ended. Engage your employee in conversation, use open-ended questions, and allow them to steer the conversation.
- Tactical. Review the status of projects, update existing goals, and provide the opportunity to discuss training needs and requests.
- Culture. Share important updates.
These check-ins are especially important in the convenient care business, where we are constantly trying to obtain and adopt feedback. Build the habit of constantly improving by being critical about your own performance and holding yourself to high standards.
Secret #4: Elevate
Knowing how to elevate your team is imperative to creating great results. There is a framework that Solv uses and it has resulted in 93% of our clinic staff recommending us. That framework is L.E.A.R.N., which stands for:
- Listen. This means listening without judgement. In regards to patients, try to understand their perspective, ask questions, and really listen. In regards to staff, provide them with a listening and supportive ear after a hard shift.
- Empathize. When dealing with sick, anxious, or injured patients, it’s easy to see areas in which empathy is important. For staff, try to remember what it's like to work a long and stressful shift. Put yourself in their shoes.
- Apologize. When dealing with patients, sometimes there can be far too many ample opportunities to apologize. With your staff, apologizing when necessary can be meaningful.
- Respond. With patients, be transparent about things like wait times and medical recommendations. With staff, provide them with honest information and updates.
- Nurture. We do this all the time for patients when we are helping them get well. This is important to do with your staff, as well. Help them grow and give them the chance to evolve.
Secret #5: Measure & Reward
When it comes to building a strong culture and positive morale, everything is brought full circle with real measurements. These are the key to understanding, maintaining, and improving employee engagement. Measurement refers to all clinic operations and key performance indicators, including employee engagement surveys. There are several ways to measure.
- Surveys. Send out a brief survey once a month. Choose five questions that cover a broad variety of subjects, gather temperature responses, and add opportunities for open-ended feedback.
- Leverage Tools. Share clinic data. Whether it be through a dashboard you create or a tool like Solv, this reporting is your best way to know what is happening across the clinic. This infrastructure allows you to view feedback holistically and make adjustments based on both data and reviews.
- Share the Wins. At Solv, we print out positive reviews so the whole team can feel proud of their contributions.
- Acknowledge & Win. While it's not about cheap gimmicks like birthday cakes and free treats, a fun culture is great for morale.
Culture is the foundation for morale. A strong culture and set of values matter to your bottom line. You should weave your culture into your hiring from the start. Empower employees by seeing them as full people. Elevate standards through thoughtful training and be sure to measure and reward. Those are the five secrets to a happier staff and more loyal patients.