Building the best physician office staff you possibly can

As a physician practice owner owner or practice manager you are always looking for the “dream team” to fulfill the needs of your medical practice. Building a team of great employees is easier than you think. Here are some ideals that I have.

1. Define your “dream team”

What would you consider a dream team? This is a question that only you can answer based upon your business and needs, but I have some suggestions: Consider the positions and how they interact. Do you want everyone cross trained? Are you looking for front-office, back-office, billing, or other support staff? Do you know the skill set of each employee? Have staff been pre-screened with employment testing to find the hidden gems? I recommend checking out

2. Define job positions

Once you have your staff in place, the next step is transparency in job positions. You must have a solid and very clear process in place. You will need someone to monitor the actual work each employee produces, and they should know that person is there to assist, guide, lead, and update responsibilities, if necessary. This position is not a babysitting or low-level management position. This is a top leader. A positive force that has knowledge of the company’s focus and five-year plan.

3. Create accountability

The next step is accountability. It’s very important that each employee knows the basic functions of all necessary tasks. This way if someone is out sick, on vacation, or quits, you have interim help until you can fill that position again. I think the most important part of accountability, is that it shouldn’t hurt. What I mean by this, is that if someone does something wrong, unless it is harmful to others, sexual harassment, or stealing company property, the employee should feel safe enough to fess up to the mistake and attempt to make amends. We call this, “Mess Up, Fess Up, Fix It, and Move On.” Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s part of life and the learning process. Team members should feel safe to say, “Oh wow, I messed that up,” and ask for help. That’s a healthy team. That’s the team you want working for you.

4. Reward great work

Reward your team. If your first thought is, “I can’t afford to give them anymore money,” then bear with me please. Every person is different and responds differently to rewards. Some people are perfectly happy with their salaries and just need recognition. This can be in the form of lunch with the boss or a verbal “shout-out” during your monthly staff meeting. A hand written note from a superior also goes a long way.For those employees who are more money motivated, a raise may not be appropriate, but a bonus for extra effort can be. It can be as simple as challenging your team to reach a collection benchmark, and rewarding success with an extra $100. Once staff reaches the new goal and see that they can perform to the next level, their confidence has been lifted to levels you cannot even imagine.

5. Connect with your staff

Be sure your team leader is taking time on a daily basis, to check in with the staff members on issues or questions they may have. Some of the really hard questions often don’t get asked because your staff is unsure how to approach the issue. Give them the space and opportunity to work through problems themselves, but let them know you are available to assist them, if needed.It’s also a good idea to have quick one-on-one meetings with employees for items that need a little more privacy. Perhaps you have an employee with a personal issue — a sick family member or a spouse’s new work schedule — and it’s showing in their work performance. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss a small drop off in performance.Be connected with your staff. Show them you care about them, and they will show you a team performance like you’ve never imagined.

Have questions? I’m here to help.