As urgent care owners and managers, it’s easy to focus on the ways your staff falls short – mistakes, tardiness, attitude, and low productivity. If you want to attract, hire, and retain good employees, shift your perspective and say thank you for the things they’re doing right. Appreciation goes a long way toward improving job satisfaction and employee retention – and according to research, happiness at work and overall job satisfaction generally increases productivity.
Knowing when to say thank you is just the beginning. The following list suggests ways to show your gratitude.
Nine things you can do to retain good employees:
- Spell out expectations from the start – When you hire a new employee, it’s easy to cut onboarding corners so he or she can get right to work. Set your new staff up to succeed by clearly explaining your expectations and job responsibilities. It’s much easier to meet or exceed goals when you know what’s expected. In addition, be hyperconscious over the first few weeks, keeping an eye out for actions or practices that don’t meet up to your standards so you can address them before they become habits.
- Listen – Earn the respect of your staff by listening to their valid concerns. Employees want to know their feelings and opinions matter. When you take the time to listen, you’re sending the message that they are more than a cog in the wheel, but a person you care about. In addition to the immediate benefit, your staff is always in direct contact with patients and others who visit your clinic. Patients may share useful information with your employees that can be helpful for improving the patient experience.
- Be a coach – Learning shouldn’t stop with formal education, but should continue in the workplace. Your employees have goals for their future. Company leaders should do more than manage the office. They should understand the value of their staff, and provide training, coaching, and mentoring to help employees become not only more valuable team members, but leaders for tomorrow. Create and promote opportunities for learning and growth, not holding back staff for fear of losing talent.
- Provide timely performance reviews – Like them or not, regular – even impromptu – performance reviews can have a big impact on your ability to retain good staff. They present an opportunity to earn trust, set objectives, confront issues, and provide feedback. Be sure to listen to the concerns presented and respond honestly and with empathy. This may be one of the only opportunities during the year for real, uninterrupted discussion. But remember, performance reviews don’t take the place of good, day-to-day communication. Be present to the signs that an employee may need to talk and make yourself available.
- Offer competitive benefits – With so much competition for skilled workers, offer a competitive salary and benefits package to attract and keep talented staff. Remember, benefits extend beyond initial salary and generally include health insurance. Other benefits that might help you retain good people include:
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- Membership to fitness club or wholesale club
- Continuing education opportunities
- Profit-sharing plans
- Performance incentives
- Flexible hours
- Underscore positive feedback with spot-on awards – Positive feedback and words of gratitude will always be a great way to keep employee engagement high, but to add a little boost to morale and reward consistent or going-beyond work, consider on-the-spot rewards. These can be things like gift cards for dinner or coffee, a day off, movie tickets, or a tank of gas. When personalized to the employee, these little awards tell your staff how important they are to your team.
- Find the triggers that make people go the extra mile – Different people are motivated in different ways. While one person may love it when you give them a to-do list, another may feel unappreciated or overburdened unless they had input making it. What one person needs – a sincere thank you, a morning greeting, or a surprise cup of coffee – may not matter at all to another. Get to know your staff and learn what encourages them to go the extra mile.
- Make work-life balance a priority – Life happens. Much of it outside the walls of your clinic. Your employees have to balance their health, family, and community responsibilities with their work lives. Quality employees will appreciate receiving understanding when their children are sick, they want to volunteer in the community, or they need to disconnect on the weekend. Knowing you respect their personal time will help you create a strong relationship with your staff, and keep them loyal to your company.
- Create a positive, uplifting work culture – It takes effort to create and sustain an uplifting workplace where people want to spend their time. It means building authentic, trusting relationships between real human beings who are so much more than doctors, billers, and administrators. If your staff feels supported, respected, and responsible for each other when they walk into the workplace, they will know they have people to share their celebrations and challenges with. This is what makes a workplace work.
Retention of talented staff that share your values not only simplifies your work life, but it can help you keep costs lower, increase productivity, and improve client satisfaction at your urgent care clinic. As Richard Branson has so famously been quoted, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
Be the leader you want your employees to reflect, be the organization that employees are waiting in line to work for, and along the way, you and your employees will build treasured relationships that last a lifetime.
This is the third post in our HR Series. You may also be interested in the reading about, Hiring an HR Manager, Recruiting, and Terminating Staff.