Quite often the amount of interaction between a physician and his or her staff is kept to a minimal; light conversation in between patients and a glimpse of a fun side at the office Christmas party. The professional relationship is light and a bit on the superficial side. For the most part, as long as these bits of contact are positive or neutral, this is likely sufficient to maintain a decent working rapport as long as all other variables remain somewhat balanced (i.e. compensation, hours, duties, etc.). What I believe is being floundered based upon these basic exchanges is the opportunity to build true loyalty and trust with one’s employees.
This week we spent time in a practice new to MedMan. Through some probing, it was discovered that some of the employees were experiencing a number of problems at work. They expressed how concerned they were with a number of items and seemed to be very stressed by them. Yet, each of them, independently, mentioned that the lead physician had recently sat down with them one-on-one, simply to get to know them better. This resulted in each of them listing that doctor as a reason they enjoyed working there and as a motive for staying with the practice despite the issues that bothered them.
This was a simple act of kindness that instilled a sense of loyalty in each of these employees. It did not cost anything more than a few minutes of the doctor’s time. By no means should doctors spend exorbitant amounts of time “hanging out” with staff or allow work relationships to breach the professional level. However, doctors should understand that even a few minutes of their time can go a long way in building a positive practice culture.