The warning signs are there: Your once-stellar employees have started to slip. They spend their downtime scrolling through their phone or checking Facebook on their computer. They’ve started coming to work later and later. They move through the day as though in a trance. Their conversation with patients is lackluster and curt. At the end of the day, they barely wave goodbye as the practically sprint to their car. Your staff is checked out and have lost their spark, and it’s up to you to help them find it again.
Why, exactly, is it up to you? According to the Harvard Business Review, “Retaining long-tenured, highly capable employees might be challenging, but minimizing their turnover is more practical than churning through new hires who, even after costly training, might or might not turn out to be a fit for the complex requirements of a role.” A 2014 Gallup survey of 7,688 adults suggests the highest performing individuals in companies “have three things going for them: (1) they have tenures of a decade or more in their organizations; (2) they are engaged in their work; and (3) they are in roles where the expectations of the job align well their natural talents.”
While you can’t do much about tenure, you can help your employees to be more engaged in their work and help align their job roles with their natural talents. Here’s how:
Invest in your employees. When you offer your employees opportunities for growth, you show them that their success is just as important to you as it is to them. Whether it’s industry networking events, educational luncheons or training sessions, your staff will experience a much-needed morale boost when they realize you want them to succeed in their careers.
Help them to see how they fit into the big picture. If your employees don’t understand the practice’s mission and vision, they don’t have any particular goals to strive towards. Unmoored employees can damage your practice. Make sure you regularly emphasize your practice’s goals and strategies to provide meaning to their work. When you help them understand how vital their job is in contributing to the practice’s success, you show them that they’re a necessary part of the team.
Hand out kudos. If you want to keep your employees engaged, you need to recognize their efforts. Whether it’s during your staff meetings or a once-a-month special lunch, consistently singling out an employee for their hard work and dedication is guaranteed to spread warm fuzzies throughout the staff. It’s been proven this kind of positive reinforcement works: a recent report by the Harvard Business Review found “72% of executives cite recognition given for high performance as having a significant impact on employee engagement.”
It does take time to change your employees’ outlook; things are not going to be sunshine and roses immediately. However, it’s worth the effort. When you take the opportunity to show your staff how important they are to the practice’s success and how much you appreciate their hard work, you will build a team of hard-working, loyal employees.