Tap into employee complaints in your physician office

Building an effective complaint process requires more than scheduling periodic venting sessions or hanging a suggestion box. Instead, encourage staff to register their complaints in a way you can constructively use them with the following five principles:

  1. Make complaining part of the job. Explain to staff that you can't be everywhere at once, so you rely on them to point out problem areas.
  2. Designate complaint times. Whether as part of a regular staff meeting or in a separate gathering, keep the conversation focused on finding solutions, not placing blame.
  3. Prohibit griping during other meetings. Direct staff to use the designated complaint times; otherwise, you may find other meetings falling apart.
  4. Encourage constructive criticism during one-to-one sessions. Since some staffers may find it too uncomfortable to criticize in front of the group, make time to draw out their comments in private.
  5. Train staffers to focus on behaviors, not individuals. When team members conflict, guide the group to discuss undesirable behaviors rather than personalities.

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