I use the word prosperous, because building a team is of the utmost importance in creating a successful practice. It can really make or break your success. If your team is unmotivated, it will effect how they interact with your patients, their decision-making, and their efficiency level. If they are motivated and connected to their job, they will make great decisions and will be a joy to be around. This in turn will affect staff productivity levels and the experience your clients will have, which directly relate to repeat business and your bottom line.
I would like to share eleven guidelines with you on how to hire a great team, as well as how to keep them energized and motivated.
1. Be clear on your criteria.
What is important to you in an employee? Look at skill set as well as other criteria, such as people skills and trainability. For example, are they open-minded and keen to learn? A person who doesn’t have a lot of experience, but whom is motivated to be there will be a lot more valuable than a person who has a lot of experience, but lacks enthusiasm for the job. Therefore, the former being very trainable and the latter a red flag.
2. Help them get motivated to their bigger WHY.
It’s important that everyone on the team be aware and passionate about the bigger vision of the practice. Share it with them during their interview and make sure you ask why they want to work for you as well. Is it a means to an end or are they actually excited about the position? Pay attention to those gut feelings, especially when someone may “look” great on paper but seems to be “off” in-person. Your gut instincts are never wrong. You can probably look back at a time(s) when you didn’t follow your gut and it ended up backfiring.
3. Know that people are going to make mistakes and that this is okay, especially when they first start working with you.
There is a bit of a learning curve and expecting perfection is unreasonable at the beginning and along the way. A great rule of thumb is that you allow for mistakes, but they must figure out what went wrong right away so that it doesn’t happen again. If it continues more then three times, then it’s time to let them go.
4. This is number three’s cousin.
You did not hire your employees to become your friends. Of course being kind and respectful are of the utmost importance, but so is being the boss you need to be. You are the CEO (yes you are a CEO), of your practice and it’s important to communicate this so that the boundary lines are clear. I see this all too often with business owners – they are trying to fulfill some type of dysfunctional need deep down and don’t end up being the leader they need to be because they’re afraid to hurt someone’s feelings. You are running a business first and foremost and can have friends outside of work.
5. Communicate all of the expectations upfront in terms of what the role includes along with timelines, etc.
This will help to ensure everyone is on the same page from the beginning and will prevent friction in the future.
6. Pay them what the position is worth.
Don’t try to short change or find the best deal when it comes to paying your employees. Now this doesn’t mean you need to overpay what the position is worth, but be fair. From an employee’s point of view this shows they are respected and a valued member of the team. This all goes hand-in-hand with doing a great job and enjoying coming into work.
7. Feedback Sandwich.
I learned this in Toastmasters years ago, and it has helped me immensely with building my own team. If you want to provide constructive criticism on an issue, start of with praising something they are doing a well first, followed by what needs improving, and ending with more positive praise. People are much more open to accepting feedback if they feel valued and appreciated first.
8. Help them be the best version of themselves.
People operate at their best when they feel confident and valued. As above, give them praise. It doesn’t only have to be in the context of feedback. Remember to point out what they are doing well and how much you appreciate them. Give them an extra special token of your appreciation like a gift card, a plant or even a bonus. Do something simple like using their name when speaking to them. This is small, but makes people feel special and has a big impact. Say thank-you for their work on a daily basis. Treat them as you would like to be treated yourself.
9. Manage your expectations.
As a recovering Type A myself, this can be tough. Expectations are high and it’s a close cousin to perfectionism. Your expectations may not always be reasonable. Check in on this often. Are you trying to be perfect, and therefore asking your staff to do unreasonable things? Know that perfection either comes from not wanting to disappoint someone, or with wanting someone’s approval. It’s likely a parent, and it doesn’t matter how old you are or whether they are alive or not. Go with whomever comes to mind first. There is likely more work to be done around this, but having the awareness is the first step in changing it. Notice where this is popping-up with your clients and practice as a whole.
10. Keep your own inner critic in check.
This is similar to number nine, but differs slightly. The harder you are on yourself, the harder you are on your employees (and family too). It leads back to the perfection issue again, but shows up a little differently in this example. If you find you start to “nitpick” at your staff, take a look at your own inner dialogue. Are you operating from a place of positive, loving self-talk? Or are you operating from a critical inner voice where nothing you do is ever good enough? If the latter is happening, you may need to do some deeper work to shift this, but again having the awareness is a big start. You are likely looking at your employees with the same critical eye, where nothing they do ever measures up.
11. Above all else, Be Who You Need to Be.
Remember you’re only as good as your worst employee, and only as good as your best employee. You set the tone for the entire practice. The more secure and confident you are, the more this will affect everyone you come into contact with. From your employees, to your patients, to even your friends and family. Do what you need to do in order to stay positive first. If you’re worrying about money, get some help on re-writing your money story. If you don’t have enough time off, make the time. You will be in a better place to serve and lead.
Enjoy the team you build and watch your practice thrive and soar! Oh, and have a little fun too!