So, you think you’re running a tight ship. The physiotherapy clinic is going along well and your staff seem to be happy, the culture is positive and the patients are happy.
One of your staff quits all of a sudden and the entire clinic culture falls apart. Not to mention, YOU have to work twice as hard to make up for the loss.
And then you’re back on the hiring wagon again… (sigh…)
Here’s a few mistakes you can’t make:
- Don’t assume your staff are motivated and committed – they can (and do) leave anytime and leave you in trouble so use the information I’m about to share to ensure your staff really are motivated and committed.
- Don’t assume your culture is great and no one will quit – use the strategies I’m about to share to compare what you’re doing with expert opinions.
- Don’t assume you don’t need to read this post if you’re a clinician yourself and don’t own a clinic or don’t plan to – this is the perfect article to teach you what to look for in your next employer and the type of physiotherapy clinic you want to work in.
Let’s deep dive into some powerful strategies to gain and retain staff at your clinic (so they’ll never be quitting on you!)…
9 Strategies to Gain and Retain Staff at Your Clinic
1) Start with values, vision and mission
As Tony Hsieh, CEO of highly successful company Zappos says: “Our core values guide us in everything we do today.”
Higher purpose starts with creating committable core values. That’s how Tony Hsieh created such a connected, productive team that helped build his company to success.
But core values are not empty promises or words. As Tony Hsieh says, “We developed a list of committable core values…not just values that end up being part of a meaningless plaque on the wall.”
So the question is: What is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)?
Is it to heal the world? Heal your community? Support a local charity? Do whatever you can to prevent injuries in the elderly?
Dig deep to discover your purpose and meaning.
One key way to do this is to think about WHY you first became a physiotherapist or opened your clinic. Sure, one aspect of it might have been money. But I bet your real purpose was you really wanted to help people in some way.
Dig into that and share those values with your staff so they “buy in” to your WHY. In fact, Simon Sinek shares (in the video below) that sharing your WHY is an important part of your marketing and attracting patients, too.
Once you establish your core values and vision, your task is to find people who believe in your core values and your goals. They key is to build a tribe that wants to follow you.
Your task is to be a leader and communicate the values, vision and mission at every level. Does EVERY single person on your team know where you’re heading and how important they are to the overall whole?
2) Create a friendship work culture
Staff and in particular, millennial staff appreciate having friendships at work so it’s important you create a culture that provides this.
Let’s face it, much of our life is spent at work so we all want it to be a happy place. And especially with millennials, there is less distinction between friends at work and outside of work.
Quite simply, millennials are more likely to talk about personal issues with colleagues, socialize with colleagues, and form long term friendships with other people in your workplace, including you.
However, according to research, there is a bit of a gap – only about 57% of workplaces make millennials feel happy.
What this means is you can’t make lofty promises. It really is up to you to put a heavy emphasis on fostering workplace friendships. You can do so through shared goals, staff lunches, sharing wins in a group email, and a genuine caring within the workplace.
3) Stop managing, start leading
Growth does not occur from clinic owners (or managers) who push their people to do more for less.
Growth comes from leaders who help their people be great and achieve a sense of ACCOMPLISHMENT and PURPOSE.
Run your business more efficiently by systemizing things. Teach your staff those systems. Help make things easier for them to be masters at their job. Be a leader they want to follow because without followers, there is no leadership.
The reality is you are building a tribe of people who want you to lead them. And the people who follow you do so because they want to.
All you have to do is step up and lead.
Another great book I’d recommend here is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. It will help you understand the roles of the Technician, the Manager, and the Leader/Entrepreneur – and how to transfer yourself from one role to the other.
4) Listen to your people
People want a leader who listens. And despite what you may think, people are not stupid so it’s important to create a culture of transparency.
In terms of millennial staff, Peter Diamandis suggests there are 3 top things they may request:
- Training and Development – they want to learn
- Flexible Hours – they want to be spontaneous, they want to feel “free”
- Cash Bonuses – they want to have “upside” in the value they are creating
And in fact, looking at that list, you can appreciate that most staff members would value them.
So, if your staff are requesting things, listen and oblige (to the extent that you can). Value what you hear.
As the clinic owner or management, you want your people’s input so you can make your business a better place for everyone. And you want to be proud of what your staff do.
Give everyone a voice.
The worst thing you can do as a manager or owner is to not let every single person on your team express their opinion openly. The second worst thing you can do is to not hear them, and never report anything back on their progress or what you plan to do with the information (whether you do anything with it or not.)
By giving everyone a voice, listening and acting on your people’s input, you build huge amounts of value into your business.
5) Make the workplace fun
No one wants a dreary, dreadful or stressful place to spend their days, so make the workplace a happy, fun place to be!
There are any number of ways you can do this but a couple of things we do are Daily Huddles, High Five Fridays and Welcome Party’s.
In my business, we have daily huddles where the team reviews ‘wins’ and ‘stucks,’ to enable fluid communication and communally deal with problems as they arise.
I send out a ‘High Five Friday’ email, which is a very simple task.
Each Friday I take the time to sit down and write an email that reflects on the week. The email takes me about 10 minutes to write, and look for a cool photo to include, and it shares the small wins and gives the team a big high five for an amazing week!
Here’s an example:
And instead of having a farewell party if a staff member leaves, we scrapped that and have huge welcome parties when new members join our team.
We also make time for chocolate and ice cream at work, and go on fun team outings from time to time. :)
6) Challenge your team
Despite commonly held assumptions, everyone loves a good challenge!
You need to allow your team the authority and autonomy to challenge you.
Let them prove why their particular solution is better than yours. The results of doing so will surprise you because people can often see solutions that you don’t have the ability to. And you’ll be surprised that millennials in particular, are more creative and entrepreneurial than past generations – so be open to being challenged!
A good example of using the creativity and entrepreneurial nature of millennials is to allow them to assume the role of your social media manager or digital marketing manager. Like many clinic owners, you probably know you need to be using social media in your clinic, but you’re probably not very good at it – or can’t keep up with it.
So, why not challenge millennials at your clinic and get them to be the expert of this initiative. I mean, why hire an outside expert when you have a bunch of experts at your clinic already?!
Put the task and responsibility in their hands because the challenge will help deepen their sense of PURPOSE and MEANING. And don’t take forever to take action!
And all across your staff, you should be looking for ways to challenge people to step up and become more in their roles, in ways that also benefit your clinic, of course.
And here’s a powerful tip: momentum, speed, and excitement are the engagement multipliers!
Nobody, especially the millennial demographic, wants to work for a stagnant company where their only reason to come to work is the pay cheque. Make decisions, get your team involved and move fast, continuously!
7) Make it about employees first
The 3 values that support a successful business are:
- Treatment of people
- Customer focus
Your staff are people. And people value fair treatment from their employers. They want employees to put their interests first, above money. And they also want an environment that fosters trust and integrity.
Trust your people to make decisions. You cannot micromanage as your company grows, you need to ensure your team understands what’s important to the overall mission and can make major business decisions without consulting you. And they need to feel assured they can do so in that environment of trust and encouragement.
On top of them being looked after, they value a high quality service or product that puts customer care as a focus.
Does this give you an idea of what they look for in a company or clinic they work for – it’s all about that PURPOSE and MEANING. And this is created through a genuine caring about people.
8) Mentor your staff, particularly millennials
In order to foster long term partnerships with your staff, and particularly millennials, you need to invest in them, believe in them, and support them to achieve their ambitions. Essentially what this means is helping them grow in their profession.
And the perfect way to do this is with mentorship, or for more experienced staff, continued education or extension of their role.
Since many of us are hiring millennials, it’s important to recognize that mentorship is essential.
Millennials want (and need) someone they can turn to for advice, someone who helps them develop their professional skills and their leadership skills, someone who encourages and builds their confidence and helps them become a better person overall.
Watch this video from Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace
Aside from achieving your mission (and making money), overall, your business should become a personal development organization. How are you helping your team develop into the best version of themselves both personally and professionally?
9) Believe in and back your staff
Your staff are actually looking to learn.
Your staff are looking for leaders and mentors to guide their perspectives and decisions.
Tap into your teams enthusiasm and innovative thinking.
Believe in your team, and more than that, back them.
Connect your team to your big vision and mission.
Offer your team a clear path to advancement and turn them into a raving fan of your business.
If you can do that, they will be your brand advocate, they’ll help promote your company, they’ll be tremendous with customers, and you’ll have an employee you’ll keep for life!
Stimulate intrinsic motivation and a love for the journey. Focus on creating autonomy, purpose, and mastery at every level of your team!
It’s about you being adapatable enough to believe in and back your staff, and it’s not that difficult to do if you follow the principles laid out above.
You just have to reset your mindset and become the leader they want to follow. Once you do, you’ll have a loyal tribe of staff forevermore!
ABOUT RICK LAU
Hi, I’m Rick Lau, a seasoned healthcare entrepreneur who has successfully built 3 multi-million dollar healthcare companies over the past 15 years. However, my entrepreneurial journey started from very humble beginnings.
You see, when I began I had the motivation but no business experience. And over the past 15 years I’ve had to teach myself everything!
I got lucky with my first clinic and it was making good money so I bought my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th clinic. And then I opened my 5th… and it was downhill from there. I began making much less money owning more clinics. Plus it took a big toll on my personal life – my fiancee left me. That’s when I knew something had to change…
So I got the right business mentors and learned that I was doing it all wrong. I had the wrong business structure and didn’t have any business processes. But once I got things straight with the right structure and process in place, I grew my chain of clinics across Canada.
Now it’s my goal to help other clinic owners avoid 15 years of hard work and struggle (and expensive mistakes) by sharing what I’ve learned along the way. I want you to have a successful business and have more freedom in your life to do what you want – like spend more time with family!