Practice Management: Setting the Standard

Developing behavioral standards and leading by example can help you bring out the best in your employees.
How to bring out the best in your employees.

As the physician-owner of an aesthetics practice, no matter how effective your practice manager or administrator may be, your employees will look to you as the leader of the business. Your behavior and attitude can bring out the best—or the worst—in your staff. Therefore it is vitally important that practice owners embrace their roles as practice leaders and take time to consider the culture they wish to create for their teams and patients.

Creating a Culture of Respect

Medical providers tend to place a lot of focus on patient diagnosis, treatment and outcomes—and that is a good thing. But what is often overlooked is the proven connection between a patient’s experience with her provider and the quality of her result. Patients who have a great experience—from the front desk through recovery—are more engaged in their treatment, leading to better outcomes.

Creating a positive patient experience throughout the continuum of care requires every employee to bring his or her “A” game to the office every day. You can help your staff accomplish this by creating a set of standard operating procedures for employee behavior.

Following are some examples of behavioral goals—or expectations—you can implement with your staff.

  • We commit to respect and support each other.
  • We will always greet patients with a smile and positive eye contact.
  • We will always introduce ourselves by name to patients.
  • We will always explain to patients our role in the practice and in their care.
  • We will answer all questions and ensure that our patients understand the answers.
  • We will be considerate and tolerant with one another
  • We will not engage in gossip or the spreading of rumors.
  • We will bring concerns and problems to the weekly staff meeting to discuss and resolve.

In order to get the most buy-in from staff, I recommend creating a list of behavioral standards during a staff meeting—with employee input—and having everyone agree to them. This way each employee has the opportunity to contribute suggestions, share concerns and make a personal commitment to uphold the desired behaviors. You can then create a poster with your standards and have everyone, including the physicians, sign the poster on the wall.

Do be prepared for some pushback. Inevitably the question will arise, “Why do we need to do this when we’ve been working just fine for the last number of years?” Let your team know that your decision to introduce behavioral standards is just one piece of improving the patient experience. It is not a reflection on their behavior or a punishment.

Setting an Example

As the leader of the practice, it is imperative that you follow all behavioral standards. This will affect the behavior of your employees and help them find their best selves to share with patients. How can you do this?

  • Employ the power of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is infectious. When your staff sees you enthusiastically embrace the behavioral standards, they will follow your lead.
  • Engage with your staff every day. Take an interest in the work they are doing, thank them for their work and “round” the office once or twice each week. This will help you get to know your employees better—and vice versa.
  • Use emotional intelligence. All people have distinct personality traits and are motivated by different concerns and outcomes. When you recognize each person as an individual, you can interact with each member of your team in the way that makes him or her most comfortable. For example, when a problem arises some employees
    may need an arm around their shoulders and a private discussion, while others relish a challenging conversation. Knowing the difference is key.

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