How to Keep Your Staff Happy and Motivated

A recent survey by Gallup found that only 33 percent of the average working population feels engaged in their work. And the negative effects of actively disengaged employees within the U.S. workforce are substantial. “Gallup estimates [the] cost to the bottom line to be more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone.”

On the other hand, engaged and motivated employees contribute to a number of workplace benefits: an increase in job satisfaction, a boost in office morale, higher performance and productivity, stronger teamwork, and lower turnover. And all of these outcomes will positively impact the business’s bottom line too.

If your practice is struggling due to an unmotivated and unhappy staff, it’s time to reevaluate and take a look at what you can do to turn things around.

Consider What Motivates Your Employees

While most employees would appreciate receiving a raise or an annual bonus, a motivator doesn’t have to show up on the employee’s paycheck to be effective. Alternatives such as granting additional days off, allowing employees to work flexible hours, giving gift cards on occasion, or springing for new office equipment will also successfully motivate your staff.

But if your budget is tight, have no fear. A global survey by McKinsey found that some nonfinancial incentives—praise from a manager, one-on-one attention from a leader in the office, and opportunities to lead projects—can have a greater impact on employee morale than financial incentives such as cash bonuses, increases in base pay, or stock options.

You must foster a work environment that promotes intangible motivating factors for employees, such as a sense of ownership, an opportunity to do meaningful and challenging work, and positive reinforcement regarding one’s abilities or efforts on the job. Employees who feel appreciated and who can see the impact of their work will be more productive, perform better, and take pride in what they do.

What motivates your staff may vary by individual. Set aside some time to sit down with the office manager and come up with a range of incentives, and then determine what would be the most effective motivator for each employee.

Take Action

As a leader in your office, you have an opportunity to motivate your staff through your actions as well. Show your employees how their work adds value to the practice by monitoring their progress and sharing positive results with the team during the monthly staff meeting. How do they positively impact the office’s workflow, sense of teamwork, or bottom line? How do they improve your patients’ healthcare experience?

Be fair, respectful, and consistent in giving directions and enforcing the policies you’ve set, so your employees know your expectations and what it takes to meet—and exceed—them. And when they do exceed them, voice your appreciation. You’re simply providing positive reinforcement and recognition of a job well done.

Taking it a step further, encourage your staff to grow in their careers. Meaningful, challenging work is a great motivator for many employees, so find out what their short- and long-term career goals are and do what you can to help them succeed. While it’s a good idea to set aside time for regular employee reviews, as issues surface outside of those scheduled meetings, be sure to address them right away through private conversations with your staff. Go beyond just giving feedback. To really incite change, you have to tell your staff why doing their jobs well matters to their coworkers, the patients, and the practice.

You have the power to motivate your staff, and doing so will increase the productivity, morale, and sense of teamwork in your office. Offer incentives that encourage your employees to perform at their highest level—and you’ll be truly amazed by the results.


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