The Best Team – What is it really worth?
By: Kena Galvan, Absolute Solutions
In the medical practice we are often so focused on taking care of the many patients waiting for our services we forget to step back and look at ourselves as a business. We recently took some time for this internal evaluation. A focus on building the best team was at the top of my To-Do list. As mid-January rolled around, I realized I must actually put some planning behind this ideal. This is how it all rolled out.
I started with four simple questions:
- Why “The Best Team”?
- What does “The Best Team” look like?
- How to engage the staff?
- What indicates these efforts are working?
Why “The Best Team”? This one was easy for me. I want the best results and I know that starts with the best group of people I can find. Skills are important, but attitude surpasses skill any day. I evaluated the team in place and felt pretty confident. We have a good group to build on.
Now I need to determine what “The Best Team” looks like. Those obvious cliché terms of collaboration and excellent customer service were just that, obvious. But what creates an environment that fosters those behaviors? I went back to the Company Values: Do the Right Thing; Put Forth our Best Efforts; Team; Confidence; We All Succeed.
Engaging the staff was next and I knew my goal was to create an environment where even though we all have to go to work, we enjoy being at work. I scheduled one lunch date per week with a staff member. The goals were simple: What works and doesn’t work in your professional and personal life? How can I work with you to improve what doesn’t work and capitalize on what does? What are your goals and how can I support you in reaching your goals? It was a fascinating and fun couple months. I learned things I didn’t know about my team and we are stronger for their openness and honesty. There were many more common threads among the team than I realized. Another set of building blocks to build upon.
Client success and happy employees directly link to the successfulness of “The Best Team”. Our clients attest to their success. Our employees comment regularly on their enjoyment of their job and being at work.
The Practical’s of Building the Best Team.
Getting to know – really KNOW one another. We budgeted $35 per person to use as monthly Fun Money. What we do is determined by a member of the team each month. We have thus far had a fancy lunch out, spent an evening at the Zoo, enjoyed Thai Massage, Manicures, Facials, left early on a hot Friday, enjoyed a play at the Civic Theater, and the list goes on. Fun Money has been fantastic. It generates excitement in the office and it fosters friendships and camaraderie outside the office. We all know it is easier to overlook little frustrations and help a friend versus “just a coworker”. Fun Money builds these bridges.
Education. Through those valuable lunch meetings, I learned many of the personal issues were similar for members of the team. Budget was a big one – I had three employees tell me their recent raises were absorbed into their day-to-day and they don’t feel them at all. Several commented on wanting to learn about credit scores and finances. I invited my banker to come and speak with the team on banking, budgeting and taking charge of your credit. He did an excellent job of breaking it down in simple terms. Everyone learned something and appreciated the info session. They also realized that I care about them as people and support them personally. We continued our education this year with communication – how to communicate better – and we’ve used staff meeting time to watch videos to support our goals.
Summer Hours. Many of us would love an extra day off during the week – to catch up on chores, avoid commuting, decrease child care costs or to simply have fun. We created an opt-in program to allow employees to work four- ten hour days, or a modified schedule, during the summer. The flexibility supports employee desires without impacting the overall workflow.
Goals & Bonus Program. We set goals each month for every client. The goal setting process is time consuming as it needs to be attainable and challenging, finite and clear. The difference this year is the Bonus Program – and wow what a difference! If every client meets their goal and the total collection goal is met, the each team member receives a bonus. If the goals are met three months in a row, they receive an extra bonus. And it goes on from there. The collaboration is no longer a cliché; it is a tangible effort visible and palpable every day.
To develop your own Best Team, start with the four questions. If you need help, we will be happy to help you customize a plan that works within the confines of your company needs.